Did you know that today, Sunday, August 25th is the National Park Service Anniversary? So what, right? The NPS celebrates this day along with two other days with FREE entrance to all US national parks!
“For the first time in human history, land—great sections of our national landscape—was set aside, not for kings or noblemen or the very rich, but for everyone, for all time.”From the National Parks: America’s Best Idea by Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns
The last time I was near a national park was during our winter road trip to Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada. We were thisclose to the Grand Canyon, but icy roads, unexpected snow, AND the US government shut-down prevented us from getting to it safely.
One of these days! But we did visit Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park and I got my photography fix.
Here are a few photos of the National Parks I have visited. After 25 separate visits in my lifetime to Yosemite National Park, I may have a few pics! Here are some of my favorites.
A view of Mono Lake (National Monument) in the Eastern Sierra Nevada along Hwy 395. You can just make out the road in the bottom right that winds through the town of Lee Vining and connects with Hwy 120, the gateway to Yosemite through the Tioga Pass entrance.
As much as I thrill to the iconic image of Yosemite’s Half Dome located in the Valley…
…my heart belongs to Tuolumne Meadows in the high country a few miles in from the Tioga Pass entrance. At almost 10,000 feet in elevation, the air is crisp, the water insanely blue, and the tourists are few!
For more on National Parks, consider visiting my previous post NPS Celebrates 100 Years.
Moving away from the North American continent, Hawaii boasts several national parks and recreation areas.
In January 2018, before the Kilauea crater and nearby vents erupted again, we spent a day walking around Hawaii Volcanoes National Park near Hilo on the Big Island.
On an earlier trip to Oahu in 2006, I also was fortunate to visit Pearl Harbor National Memorial and see the sunken remains of the USS Arizona. Within this structure is the huge memorial plaque with the names of those who perished.
I have been fortunate to visit a variety of national parks, monuments and recreation areas, mostly in California, all US public lands. I never will forget my parents’ insistence on visiting these locations during my life.
- Alcatraz Island in San Francisco
- Cabrillo National Monument (Point Loma, San Diego)
- Death Valley
- Devil’s Postpile Nat’l Monument in Mammoth Lakes
- Fort Point Presidio and Presidio of San Francisco, Golden Gate park
- Lassen Volcanic
- Mojave Nat’l Preserve
- Muir Woods Nat’l Monument North San Francisco Bay
- Pony Express Trail (came through Old Sacramento),
- Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park
- Yosemite National Park
Even if you miss the free admission day, paying the entrance fee for a day or a week is worth more to you in the long term than paying your HMO’s co-pay when you must visit the doctor for effects of lack of exercise!
Have you heard of ParkRx? Doctors in South Dakota get these prescriptions through a new program run by the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks and the state‘s Department of Health. For me, I would love to get a prescription to visit a park rather than drugs to lower my cholesterol!
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.”John Muir, Our National Parks
Whether you live in the US or another country, why is it so important to visit our national lands? Because someone with vision understood the vital importance of setting aside public lands for all of us to enjoy and for future generations.
Next time you visit a National Park, a public playground or any other public leisure space, say a quick thank you to those visionaries: Teddy Roosevelt, John Muir, Jane Addams, Steven T Mather, among many.
I dearly love this image of my brother-in-law’s posture as he takes in his first view of Tuolumne Meadows.
This post is partially inspired by Snow’s Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Tourism.
I am taking a short break to get caught up with school prep and other exciting things, so there is NO photo challenge for September 1, Labor Day weekend. Thank you to all who participate each week!
Sunday Stills resumes September 8. September themes are up on my Sunday Stills Photography page
Which national parks, monuments or public lands have you visited so far?