US & Canadian Parks

US & Canadian Parks

  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Cuyahoga Valley wasn’t high on my list of parks I ‘must’ visit but it was a little over halfway between where I was and where I wanted to be. I thought it will make a convenient stop for a couple days. It was created in 1974 to protect the Erie & Ohio canal history and the valley from over development. Local advocates worked with Congress to designate it a national park; it was partially created from two county parks in...

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  • New River Gorge National Park - Our newest national park, New River Gorge! The “New River” is one of the oldest rivers on the continent. I was surprised to learn there are various methods to date the geological features, so the estimate varies widely between 3 to 320 million years. It’s been a national river since 1978, was “upgraded” to national park and preserve in 2020. On the drive from Charlottesville to Beckley, I stopped at the Sandstone Visitor Center. They have some good exhibits on...

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  • Antietam National Battlefield - The battle of Antietam was the bloodiest day in the history of the United States. On September 17, 1862, 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, or missing after twelve hours of combat between the Armies of the Potomac and Virginia. I booked a tour through the NPS website with Antietam Guides, offered through the park’s cooperative. I read up on the battle prior to meeting my guide Sharon at 0900 at the visitor center. Scheduled for four hours, we were about four and...

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  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park - I tried visiting Harpers Ferry NHP about 18 months ago, on the way from Gettysburg to Shenandoah but, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in the fall, it was crazy busy. There was no parking in the small historic town, even the overflow parking lot two miles up the road was full, so I kept driving. It took me over an hour to get in and out and back on the road because of bumper to bumper traffic. When planning a visit...

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  • Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park - The NPS manages all the battlefields in the area, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Chancellorsville, and the Wilderness. It also manages several historic buildings, including Chatham Manor. The battles in the area were over a period of about 18 months, starting with the first battle of Fredericksburg in December, 1862, between Burnside and Lee. Chancellorsville was April and May, 1963. Lee defeated Union general Hooker here and this was where Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded during the battle. The second battle of Fredericksburg...

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  • Badlands National Park - Like several parks I’ve visited recently, I’ve been to Badlands National Park before, both with my parents decades ago and with my daughter in the late 90’s. I didn’t remember the beautiful colors, thinking the park was just various shades of tan, but there are yellow, pale greens, purple/pinks, gray colors all over the park. So beautiful. I drove all the way down I-90 to the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. I should have entered at the Pinnacles entrance, exit 110,...

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  • Wind Cave National Park - I’ve never been to this park and definitely wanted to visit while in the area. I like visiting caves. My daughter has mentioned to me she thinks all caves are alike but even she thought Wind Cave is unique. Wind Cave, the 3rd largest cave system in the US and the the 8th largest in the world, contains 95% of the world’s box works formations. Box work is a rare cave formation; it is formed when dissolved calcium carbonate crystallized...

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  • Lassen Volcanic National Park - Like Pinnacles, I hadn’t heard of this park, either. I read about it on my daughter’s blog. Unlike Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Pinnacles, however, Lassen Volcanic National Park is not a “new” park, it was established in 1916 under President Wilson after Teddy Roosevelt made it a national monument in 1907. I did check the active fires in the area before booking here or Bend, Oregon. Crazy. I’ve never thought about doing this before, but every time I listened...

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  • Pinnacles National Park - Pinnacles, in west central California, is a fairly new park. It was dedicated January 2013, although it has been a national monument since 1908. I’ve owned the National Geographic “Guide to National Parks of the United States”, since the second edition, early 1990s, I think. Like Black Canyon of the Gunnison, in Colorado, dedicated in 1999 and Congaree, in South Carolina, dedicated 2003, none of these parks were in my old book. Time for an upgrade. I now have the...

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  • Channel Islands National Park - I’ve heard of this park, I’ve seen pictures, but until reading my daughter’s post about her visit it really wasn’t on my must-see list. And it should be on everyone’s must-see list! So beautiful. It does take advance planning, as you have to book their vendor, Island Packers, to get to the islands (unless you have your own boat?). Island Packers go to all five islands that are part of the Channel Islands National Park, plus they have wildlife and harbor cruises....

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