of the last fee-free day to visit America’s national parks in 2022 on November
11, Veteran’s Day.
|Great Smoky Mountain National Park|
parks showcase battlefields, military parks, and historic sites that commemorate and honor the service of
American veterans. In addition, every national park is part of our collective
identity that defines who we are and where we came from as a nation. They remind
visitors of the values, ideals, and freedoms that our veterans protect.
Especially on Veterans Day you can honor those who
have served and sacrificed for our country with a visit to a national park.
“Whether you go to a natural, historical, or recreational site,
or an urban, suburban, or rural park, every national park provides a place to
exercise both the body and the mind,” says National Park Service Director
Jonathan B. Jarvis.
|Grand Canyon NP|
Here are 10 great ways to get some exercise and
enjoy a beloved park or experience a new one—for free:
Take a Hike
There are 18,600 miles of trails in national
parks. Hit the trail for a short hike or a day-long expedition. Cross the
Continental Divide on the High Line Trail in Glacier,
go vertical on the Moro Rock Trail in Sequoia
& Kings Canyon, or tackle a section of the Appalachian Trail. If you’d like to hike
with an expert, many parks offer daily ranger-led guided tours, including the Everglades, Jean
Lafitte, and Hot Springs.
|Historical missions in San Antonio, Texas|
Enjoy 43,000 miles of national park shoreline.
Walk on the beach, go for a swim, snorkel an underwater trail in the Virgin Islands
, or dive the aquamarine water
and fish-bejeweled coral reefs of Biscayne
or the kelp forests and sea caves of Channel
. Or, take a canoe or kayak ride through Big Cypress
to observe manatees and birds.
Travel below the surface and discover the
dazzling sights found along more than 900 miles of passageways in caves. Check
out Mammoth Cave – the longest cave in
the world or the 14-acre Big Room in Carlsbad
Caverns. If you are really adventurous, sign up for a spelunking trip.
Sleep Under the Stars
|Moose in Glacier National Park|
Experience the simple pleasure of an evening
campfire, sleep in the great outdoors, and wake up in some of the most
beautiful surroundings in the world. Choose your setting – mountain view, ocean
view, or even city view. The 12,000 campsites in national parks include spots
in New York City
and in Boston
Go For a Ride
Some of the prettiest scenery you’ll ever see is
along the 5,450 miles of paved road in national parks. In fact, 1,100 miles are
designated parkways designed especially for sightseeing. Just be sure to get
out of the car at overlooks or trailheads and stretch your legs. It’s amazing
what you will find not far off the road. Wander to a waterfall at Shenandoah or meander through a meadow at Rocky Mountain.
National parks are the best places to view
wildlife in their natural habitats. Don’t get too close but enjoy seeing
everything from baby birds to two-ton bison in a park. Watch the strutting age
grouse perform its annual courtship dance in Grand
or the spring migration of grey whales at Point Reyes
. Or, encounter prehistoric
wildlife such as a saber tooth cat at Badlands
or a Stegosaurus at Dinosaur
. There are
233 national parks with preserved fossils, some which date back two billion
|Half Dome in Yosemite NP|
Take part in Earth Day activities at many
national parks. There will 50 exhibiters, food, music, and family activities at
John Muir’s birthday celebration at John Muir
National Historic Site
host exhibits and an art show featuring pieces made from natural and recycled
material. The Grand Canyon
will have a
variety of interactive exhibits at its largest ever Earth Day event. Perry’s Victory & International Peace
will host an Earth Day Jamboree.
Explore, Learn, Protect
Kids five to 12 years old are encouraged to take
part in free Junior Ranger
programs in almost every national park. Ask for a Junior Ranger booklet at the
visitor center and earn a badge by completing different activities.
Take to Two Wheels
|Ride bikes in Yosemite|
One of the most popular things to do in a park
is ride a bike. Set your own pace and stop to relax or take in the view when
and where you want. One of the newest bike trails was recently built in New River Gorge
. More than 1,400 Boy Scouts
and leaders volunteered 78,544 hours to construct a 12.8-mile mountain bike
trail. Other popular parks for biking include Acadia
which has 45 miles of old carriage roads, Canyonlands
home of the 103-mile White Rim Road loop, and the C&O Canal
and its 184-mile long towpath.
Information courtesy of NPF, email@example.com www.nps.gov
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier