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National Park Service Week

National Park Service Week begins Saturday, and I'm excited to share about my favorite Natiional Park experiences starting Monday.  Today, though, as an introduction, I've updated a post from several years ago that still rings true to me today...

The movie "Field of Dreams" prophetically professed,

"If you build it, he will come."

 As I reflect on trips and experiences I've had in America's national parks, it seems like the same could also be said for those places;

"If you designate it [a national park], they will come."


We live in a busy world where we don't always take the time we should to stop and focus on the beauty of the place we live in.  And yet our national parks are overflowing with visitors each year.  Offering something for every type of person, from visitor center exhibits and videos to multi-day and multi-sport back-country adventures, they draw us in with the allure of grandeur and tranquility.

Nearly 80% of the state I live in, Utah, is designated in one way or another as public lands.  Year after year the controversy brews over the fairness and necessity of the government controlling where and how we live within our own borders.  Oftentimes the blame gets put on the lawmakers and other officials "back east" who have never been here.  Would they be so quick to sign the dotted line of a land deed if 80% of their state were to be taken away (seriously, Rhode Island/Connecticut/Delaware, think what that would mean). 

While I do agree in many ways that states themselves should control their resources (yes, land is a precious resource), I am also grateful for the places near me which are protected from development and urban sprawl.  With 5 national parks and many other BLM (Bureau of Land Management) or other legally protected sites, in Utah I have been spoiled by the ease in which I can walk out my door and escape reality to peacefully wander away from it all.  I'm grateful, too, thinking of all the similarly designated sites in places I've lived or visited all across the United States.  

Several of my favorite examples are:

My hope is that every citizen of this great country takes the time occasionally to step away from the daily grind, slow down, and truly appreciate the gift of nature and preservation we've been guaranteed through the national park system.  

Tell me about your favorite national park experience!


*Updated post originally shared in March 2013*

Unless otherwise noted, images in this post 
are linked to their source on nps.gov or this blog.

Comments

  1. My favorite national park is the Great Smoky Mountains. I have been there so many times at every stage of my life. I have climbed to the highest points, camped in the woods, waded in the creeks, hiked to the waterfalls, seen a few bears, tons of deer and loved the feelings and memories I've made as a child and now with my children! I am so glad we have parts of our nation that are set apart as special land that has to be protected. One day I hope to visit more of the National Parks that I have never been able to see. Thanks for sharing your favorites!

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  2. Kiera @EasytravelmomApril 26, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    I have to say that Utah has always intrigued me but never been at the "top" of my list. After reading your blog this week and overall, it's now a place I really want to experience sooner than later! I look forward to reading more!

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  3. We live about a mile away from a National Park and it is so relaxing and peaceful to visit and walk or run.

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  4. I really want to go to a National Park some day. We were just looking at Yosemite a few weeks ago, and that looks like a great place to start!

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  5. I want to go to all those parks you mentioned, even though I'm Canadian. I've been to most of the major National parks here in Canada, but I want to visit the ones I have not see in the Atlantic provinces. So many places to see on this continent!

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  6. Never visited national park but i wish i'll visit soon. Nice pictures and views :)

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  7. Terry My Journey With CandidaSeptember 6, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    I haven't been to many national parks but would love to visit yellow stone... and the others too!! My Hubs was just talking about visiting Yellow Stone, but every time we are out that way, they are closed for winter.

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  8. What some beautiful places - I would love to visit them I have to say if I was in the area of any of them :) x

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  9. Dawn Spatulas On ParadeSeptember 6, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    We love the parks and hope to see the National ones, one of these days. Grand Canyon as well. I love to sit and relax, look at what God created and enjoy the view. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. I love visiting ours at Mt. Rainier National Park. The air is so clean and fresh and it does take you away from the hustle and bustle. I have yet to visit what Utah has to offer but hope to in the near future. Thank you for the reminder and I am glad you have so many places to enjoy in your state!

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  11. Bobbi's Kozy KitchenSeptember 6, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    I am in Washington state and we are lucky enough to have beauty like the parks just out our back door!! I have never been to a national park though

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  12. I would love to visit Redwood! I haven't been to any, but we've got them on our radar.

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  13. Gosh, I would love to take my girls to visit a national park when they get a little bit older :) Looks so amazing!

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  14. Oh, never been to any of those mentioned. Our kids are still too little to be traveling that far. I really want to visit the Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore in the future.

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  15. I have visited a few of those national parks even though we live in the East. I really enjoyed Yellowstone the most.

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  16. I haven't visited any of these parks but I've always wanted to go to Mount Rushmore. It's actually on my bucket list of places to visit. :)

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  17. Melinda Kuffler DunneSeptember 6, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    I love visiting National Parks one that I want to visit but haven't yet is Denali. I did live in Alaska for a short time but never made it there, which I do really regret. It is on my bucket list of places to visit so I hope I can make it there eventually.

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  18. I think you covered all my favorites! We live near Shenandoah so that is the one we visit the most. I really loved our trip to Yellowstone though and the Redwood National Forest. Arches National Park in Utah is also worth a visit. Beautiful natural arches and rock formations.

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  19. I've never been to a state park, but I frequently visit state parks in my home state (CT). I really enjoy being out there spending time w my family. Hopefully one day Ill be able to visit a national one (or two)

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  20. I think preserving these national parks is a great resource for our world and it teaches the young people the importance of taking care of the planet.

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  21. I agree as long as the government plays fair. I do know my kids have seen some really amazing things because the parks are there for them.

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  22. Connecticut is such a beautiful place-I bet your state parks are incredible!

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  23. Corinne, I've been to all of those. So unique, each one of them. Shenandoah might be the first one I went to as an adult so it holds a special place for me.

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  24. Denali is my old stomping grounds so I'll give a big "Do IT!" to that one. Check out this article I wrote a few months ago http://www.alocalwander.com/2013/04/national-park-week-denali-national-park.html

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  25. They've done such a nice job there. Be sure to check out some caves while you're in the area, too!

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  26. Oh, don't make me sad, Healy! Our kids have been traveling since they were wee little babies! I hope you'll get to take them somewhere like this soon!

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  27. We went to the Redwoods this summer-absolutely breathtaking

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  28. Washington is an extraordinary place. So green! I love visiting there.

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  29. Oh, I feel bad if you have to be in Wyoming in winter! Maybe you'll have to brave the elements and do a winter yellowstone snowmobiling tour!

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  30. your Atlantic provinces are on my wish list, too!

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  31. Yosemite intrigues me because of it's sheer scale! So glad they were able to contain the wildfires burning near there.

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  32. I've, unfortunately, never gotten the chance to visit a national park. I really hope to get to some day, though!

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  33. i've been to a few but not with my kids. will have to add this to the list of must -remember to do

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  34. I haven't been to any of these parks, but would truly love to visit all of them... its on my bucket list! :)

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  35. This is so amazing! I don't think there are many (if any) National parks where I live....

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  36. Rochkirstin SantosApril 17, 2015 at 4:44 AM

    If only all of us can be reminded to take respite and have occasional breaks from the busy work and stresses, we would love to spend a moment each day for that. These views of Mother Nature look so wonderful. I am most mesmerized by the Denali National Park in Alaska though I am not sure if I can survive the cold weather there.

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  37. Adore being outdoors, it's part of why I'm a runner. I don't get to national parks nearly as often as I would like though!

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  38. I love being outside and I have traveled to all the pictured places. I can't wait to take my kids out west to Yellowstone park! I am not sure I'll make it again to Alaska with them but I'd love to show them Denali! What an amazing place! We saw so much wildlife when we were there! We were very lucky on our bus tour and saw TWO bear! They were causing lots of trouble around the parks at that time.

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  39. Wow, look at all those photos. So beautiful. Parks are so important. I don't travel often so I've never seen any of these parks, or heard of all of them before but they look amazing.

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  40. I had no idea that there is something like National Park Service Week. I'm so glad that our country's gorgeous resources are being highlighted. As a kid we would take road trips to see national monuments and treasures such as Mt. Rushmore....so glad my mom took me there. Looking forward to exposing my boys to these beautiful places as well!
    Amanda
    www.queenofthelandoftwigsnberries.com

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  41. I love to explore our parks. I lived in South Dakota for over a decade and loved how many parks they
    had and the monuments. I love that Washington State has a ton of parks for me to take my kids to as well.

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  42. This is absolutely amazing. I never get to travel so seeing this is breathtaking to me. Thank you for the wonderful share!

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  43. A Woman The World DeservesApril 18, 2015 at 6:29 AM

    I slowed my ever running thoughts down to read this post. I love the fact of taking time to explore this vast world that we live in. There is so much to see. The places you mentioned does make me glad knowing that there won't ever be a strip mall put there. So in these intances I am glad that they are protected.

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  44. What a beautiful reminder to appreciate both Mother Nature's wonders, as well as the often-unsung efforts of those who make our national parks so well-maintained and accessible. I deeply appreciate each of the national parks and preserves that I've been to... one of my favorites is Mount Haleakala in Maui. The volcanic park looks like an otherworldly desert in some places, and sunrise from there - with the sun streaming over the red-grey rock, melting into the grey-blue sky, and heating up the mid cloud layer with deep reds, oranges, and yellows - is one of the most beautiful things that I've seen. It was enough for me to drag myself up at 3:30 in the morning TWO days in a row to make the 1.5 hour drive to see it...!

    xo,
    lauriel of Eye For Elegance

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  45. That is amazing, I am quite jealous you live in such a state where land is so protected. In New York (I live on Long Island) land is precious but we don't have as many sights to see like that. I do hope to one day adventure out and see Mt Rushmore and explore all the beauties that this lovely earth gives to us on a daily basis. Thank you for the reminder to slow down ❤️

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  46. This is so cool, especially since Earth Day is tomorrow! We live in California, and are so blessed to be surrounded by such beauty ourselves over here. I definitely make an effort to take that time like you suggested. It helps us live in the moment instead of stressing on the past or future. Great post and I'd love to visit some of these places!

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