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Celebrate National Park Week!

- Justine

Saturday kicked off the annual National Park Week in the U.S., dedicated to our country’s 394 national parks. The National Park Service was created by Congress almost a century ago, but continues to manage and preserve our land’s natural beauty today. They oversee millions of acres of land and thousands of miles of shorelines and trails. There’s a national park for everyone, whether you like strenuous hikes and stunning vistas or quiet museums and leisurely rambles. This year, the focus of National Park Week is “Healthy Parks, Healthy People,” emphasizing the connection between human and environmental well-being. This week will be filled with special events from coast to coast and no admission fees at any of the parks. Featured events include a historical program at General Robert E. Lee’s home, the Arlington House, train excursions through Steamtown National Historic Site in Pennsylvania, and a celebration of National Junior Ranger Day at Shenandoah National Park.

Can you guess which national park this is? It’s one of my favorites!

Even after this week of celebration ends, special events at national parks stretch throughout the year. Every Saturday until the end of October, for example, there will be bicycle tours of Stones River National Battlefield in Tennessee, bird walks below the Amistad Dam in Texas, and Folklife Demonstrations at the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice, Louisiana. This is what I love about national parks—there is always something for everyone to enjoy, and there is endless versatility in planning a visit to one. You can go on an afternoon hike with your family in upstate New York or plan a week’s road trip with your friends to hit all the mountain trails on the west coast. You’ll inevitably learn something about history or nature without tour guides or pamphlets (although those resources are always available to you). Most national parks are free year-round as well. But I highly encourage everyone to take advantage of this special week and enjoy the new season by paying a visit to one of almost 400 sites that display our nation’s ecological diversity and rich historical heritage.




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