Filmmaker Ken Burns calls our national parks “America’s Best Idea.” I enthusiastically agree. To preserve our country’s most spectacular landscapes for all Americans, to protect distinctive places to enjoy and treasure for generations to come – that’s a vision that embodies the best of our democratic ideals.
Next week, we have a chance to celebrate our 84 million acres of parks during National Park Week. To encourage enjoyment of our collective natural and cultural heritage, the Park Service is waiving entrance fees to all 392 parks from April 17-25. Many park concessionaires are also offering special events and promotions.
Some of our family’s finest travel memories have been made in America’s national parks: Watching a mama moose with twin calves browsing on willows in Denali. Hiking amid knee-high avalanche lilies in Glacier National Park. Rafting the turbulent waters of the Colorado River through the deep recesses of the Grand Canyon. My son saw a grizzly take down a bison calf near Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone on a school outdoor-ed trip, an impression of life in the wild he will never forget.
If you can’t make it to a park next week, spend some time exploring the National Parks Foundation website. Download your National Parks Owners Guide to plan future trips, donate to receive Parks Magazine, or learn how you can help a park in the future through the foundation’s VIP program: “Volunteers-in-Parks” maintain trails, assist archaeologists, provide visitor information and any number of tasks, an important role at a time when our park are struggling in the face of reduced resources and staff.
Like me, you may have a few more of those 392 parks you’d like to check off your bucket list. Want to experience the spectacle of Yellowstone, the majesty of Yosemite, without having to scramble for scarce reservations a year in advance and negotiate crowds once you get there? Natural Habitat Adventures’ guides are experts on the natural wonders of our national parks, including how to see more wildlife and fewer people.
Nat Hab offers a great slate of trips to our most iconic parks, including adventures tailor-made for families. Hidden Alaska takes in a grand-slam of northern grandeur, visiting Denali, Katmai and Kenai Fjords national parks. Take the kids on a domestic wildlife safari on our Family Yellowstone Adventure. More stunning Rocky Mountain scenery is on display on our Glacier National Park, Family Glacier Adventure and Wild Colorado trips. Or descend into the magical sandstone landscapes of the West on our Canyons and Beyond and Family Canyons adventures.
Find these and more trips that visit our magnificent national parks when you explore Nat Hab’s adventures in America. In the meantime, got a favorite memory to share from your own time in our national parks? Inspire other travelers with a comment here!
Thanks for sharing,
P.S. You should also check out the great rafting adventures offered in our national parks — including the Grand Canyon — by our adventure travel partner OARS!