Sunday, April 21, 2013

Celebrate National Park Week!

This week we celebrate National Park Week.  And many of the National Parks are waiving their entrance fees for visitors.  I want to encourage all of you to take advantage of that and go visit your local National Park.

The National Park Service is comprised of 401 sites, which include historical parks, national monuments, battlefields, recreation areas, and seashores.  Chances are there is a park near you!  And, in fact, 268 of the parks NEVER charge an entrance fee, making them even easier to bring your family.  Too often we take for granted that these parks, monuments, and historical sites are nearby.  We may talk about going all the time, but never actually follow through.  Well, now is as good a time as any.  Take a day off work, pull the kids out school and go explore and learn.  That's what the parks are there for.  The mission of the Parks Service is to conserve the environment within to allow future generations to enjoy.  In order to enjoy, you have to go.  So get out and go!  You won't regret it.

Some little known facts about our national parks: Yellowstone National Park (pictured above) was established by Congress as the nation's, and world's, first national park in 1872.  The national park system covers more than 84 million acres.  The largest is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve and the smallest is Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial.  The National Parks provide habitat protection for 421 species of threatened or endangered plants and animals.  There are 27,000 historic structures and 100 million museum items.  With that said, imagine all that you could learn about in one visit!

Even you don't go this week, I hope you at least consider planning a trip to one of our national parks sometime in the near future.  They represent all that is positive in the world and we should really take advantage of that.  I want to leave you with a picture of my favorite national park, the Grand Canyon.  Enjoy!

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