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Reader Participation Day: Do You Send National Park Postcards?


Once upon a time, sending postcards from national parks was a way to let friends and family back home know what a great time you were having in such gorgeous settings. But is that still a time-honored tradition?

While park gift shops still have racks and racks of postcards, sending text messages and emailing shots you took with your cellphone are more immediate. But have those methods replaced your search for the perfect postcard and the time spent jotting down thoughts to those you left behind?


My wife and I send postcards. We are in a race with my in-laws to see who can get the most NP passport stamps and we started sending them postcards with the park stamps on the backs of postcards.

I still send lots of postcards when I'm visting the National Parks. I have lots of friends and family that don't have cell phones or email. This is a way I still can share what wonderful sites I'm seeing. I also have some young relatives and friend's children who love to get something in the mail.

Sending postcards from national parks is something that I really enjoy doing, and to make sure I don't get forget addresses or get caught short of stamps, I carry an address list and at least ten 28-cent stamps in my wallet when I go on trips. It's sometimes inconvenient to write, but the cards don't take long and there are always quiet moments available. I recently got back from a national park-focused trip to the canyonlands of southern Utah (masterfully orchestrated and guided by Kurt Repanshek -- thanks again, Kurt), and several of the people I sent postcards to while on that trip went out of their way to thank me. One old friend I see all too infrequently called me up to say that he really appreciated getting the cards because "they tell me that you were thinking of me." Postcards may be little things, but little things matter.

Of course, I send postcards - from everywhere.
Like Bob above, I take my little address book and postcard stamps. On a long trip, I wait until I've actually hiked or been to the place pictured on postcards. And then I write them out and send them.

Yes, I email, text and blog ( but you can hold a postcard in your hand.


I see many visitors buying postcards and stamping them with the NPs Passport stamp. Then they ask where to buy postal stamps. Somebody must be getting exciting news from the parks.

My daughters send NP postcards to their friends. In this day of high tech I think it's great for kids to realize the fun of actually going to the mailbox and finding a letter from someone.

Yes we still send postcards! I have mailing labels ready to print, now I need to buy postage before we leave on our West Coast trip! I'll blog about trip later, because I want to take full advantage of seeing the parks, so writing postcards at night keeps friends updated while we're on the road.

The postmark can be important too. It adds to the effect. I remember sending postcards of Arches NP from Moab. I probably should have had them hand-cancelled if possible. When I saw some of them I sent to friends (and myself) I was a little bit shocked that they were postmarked with Provo, UT on them. The same thing went for postcards of Zion NP I sent from Springdale. Mail from all over Utah gets sent to a bulk mail facility in Provo for cancellation.

Yellowstone goes as far as to have a different cancellation depending on where it was mailed. I remember seeing cancellations for "Canyon Station" and "Old Faithful Station" in addition to the standard mark of Yellowstone NP, WY. If it goes through the main post office at Mammoth, it doesn't have any additional mark.

I actually got a postcard of Bryce Canyon, stamped it with a Bryce Canyon stamp (from an international air mail series), and asked the clerk at the Bryce contract post office (at Ruby's Inn) if it could be hand-cancelled without sending it; she said no problem and made the best effort to make a clean cancellation with the "Bryce, UT" cancellation stamp. I tried the same thing with a Yosemite stamp in the same series, but mailed that one instead from the Yosemite post office (the window was closed at the time so I dropped it in a mailbox).

By the way, has anyone here heard of the old trick used to get into some national parks without paying the entrance fee? I've heard that some would claim that they were going to the post office. I don't believe it works any more. I think it might also have been tried to evade the entrance fee at the 17 Mile Drive at Pebble Beach, CA.

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