Friday, April 9, 2021

National Park Week sets theme days and no-fee day

Rocky Mountain National Park is a favorite for visitors.

If you love America’s national parks as much as we do, you’ll be excited to learn about different ways the National Park Service, National Park Foundation, and other groups plan to celebrate National Park Week, April 17-25, 2021. Here are the theme days that the National Park Foundation—the official charity of America’s national parks--has planned to encourage you to visit, explore, and perhaps volunteer during that week:

April 17: Park Rx Day--

Hiking in Bryce Canyon National Park
Being outdoors supports wellness in a number of ways, making you stronger, happier, healthier, and more productive.   Discover NPF programs that are helping parks be more resilient and sustainable, as well as those that contribute to landscape and wildlife conservation.  As a bonus, this is a “fee free” day for parks that charge to visit.

April 18:  Volunteers in Parks--From clearing trails to planting trees to assisting archaeologists, volunteers are critical in providing support for NPS.  Explore NPF communities and workforce programs that help grow the capacity of NPS and our partners. 

April 19: Military Monday-- For active-duty military and veterans, as well as their families, national parks can provide a place of solitude, beauty, reflection, and recreation. Discover the stories of military history, veterans and military members that are preserved in parks across the country. 

Lake Helen in Lassen Volcanic National Park

April 20: Transformation Tuesday-- NPS has been protecting and preserving lands and historic structures for over 100 years. Discover NPF’s work in landscape and wildlife conservation, to preserving history and culture, and investments we’re making in parks of the future for future generations.  

Rafting in Big Bend National Park in Texas

April 21: Wayback Wednesday—Be inspired by NPF’s continued work in history and culture to support the preservation of historic sites, collections, and artifacts in parks that share these stories, and our support to  ensure such treasures will be accessible for centuries to come. 

Old Faithful in Yellowstone
National Park
April 22: Earth Day—Celebrate this day by learning about the NPF’s innovative strategies that make our parks environmentally friendly and sustainable work in landscape and wildlife conservation.

April 23: Friendship Friday—Working within communities, NPF helps expand the capacity of parks nationwide, leading to stronger, healthier parks.

April 24: Junior Ranger Day--NPS’s Junior Ranger programs help young park visitors connect with our shared history, heritage, and national parks. Find a Junior Ranger program in a park near you or earn a digital Junior Ranger badge from home. Young visitors are encouraged to establish meaningful connections in our parks through education, engagement,  and outdoor exploration.

Hiking in the rainforest of
Olympic National Park

April 25: B.A.R.K. Day--Learn the B.A.R.K. Ranger principles for when you bring Fido on a trip to a pet-friendly park and discover the many roles dogs play in parks, especially by encouraging multicultural and multigenerational families to spend time outdoors together.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier





Saturday, April 3, 2021

Vaccinated travelers can start packing their bags

A toast to more travel!

 Good news for folks who can’t wait to travel again!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have given the green light for Americans to travel if they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

In an update on April 2, 2021, the CDC stated, “Fully vaccinated people can resume domestic travel and do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.”

However, there are two caveats: Some destinations still require testing within a short time frame before visitors can enter, and travelers who go abroad are still required to have a negative COVID test to board international flights back to the United States. The CDC also advises, but does not require, getting tested for COVID three to five days after returning.

Start packing your bags.
Despite the new guidelines, the CDC maintains it is not reversing its advice to avoid nonessential travel as a precaution against a possible new surge in cases.

But in the real world people are anxious to start traveling again and may decide that the low risk is worth taking if they are fully vaccinated, in good health, and continue to practice safe measures such as wearing a mask when around other people, social distancing, and washing hands often.

Take plenty of hand sanitizer.

For example, Larry and I took a road trip to Colorado in September, visited family in Michigan in November, and spent a week in Florida in early March (before spring break!) We planned those trips carefully and chose activities with a minimum of contact with others—and felt as safe as we would have been staying home. Now we are fully vaccinated and ready to consider international travel within the next four to six months.

Costa Rica is among countries that
welcome vaccinated travelers.

When making a personal decision about whether to travel, consider a research report released on March 29 by the CDC that indicates the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are highly effective at preventing infections. The data indicates that a single dose of either vaccine prevented 80 percent of infections, and two doses prevented 90 percent of infections. The study also found that the vaccines resulted in a high unlikelihood of asymptomatic infection—a common source of transmission.
Staying closer to home,
plan a trip to one of
America's fantastic
 national parks.

For unvaccinated travelers, the CDC’s previous recommendations continue to apply: Get tested one to three days before a trip and three to five days after you return home. Also self-quarantine for seven days after travel, even with a negative test, or stay home for 10 days after travel if you do not get tested. These precautions help protect not only the unvaccinated traveler but others with whom they might have contact.

As more and more Americans are vaccinated, the travel industry is hoping to return to a semblance of pre-COVID times. And many people are starting to plan travel for later in the year, even into 2022 and 2023.  That’s a winning situation for everyone!

Photos from free sources.