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Exploring the Parks

Big Hole And Little Bighorn Battlefields: Thoughts On Cultural Tolerance And Understanding

People respond to unfamiliar cultures with a range of emotions, from curiosity to condemnation. It was curiosity (and a couple more stamps in our National Park Service passports) that recently took me and my girlfriend Craig to Big Hole National Battlefield and Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Montana. It was condemnation by the U.S. government of both the Nez Perce and Sioux ways of life that precipitated the tragedies remembered at these two sites.

Musings From Death Valley National Park

November sun sets at 4:35 p.m. in Death Valley. Early because we’re on the eastern edge of Pacific Standard Time. It’s only 6:30 p.m. and I’m already tired of reading. All around my campsite there are others sitting in the dark. Most are sitting beside campfires. Quiet talk fills the evening along with delicious odors of cooking food. Somewhere not too far away, someone quietly plunks on a guitar.

Musings From Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument is one of the little gems of the National Park System. Located at the tip of Point Loma, a peninsula that’s on the northwest side of San Diego Bay. Only 160 acres and surrounded by a major Naval base and Coast Guard station, Cabrillo is nevertheless a tiny treasure — and because of its proximity to one of America’s largest urban areas, it’s one of the most heavily visited pieces of the park system.

Long-Distance Trails For Your Consideration

Since 1966, national scenic and historic trails have been an American priority. They traverse mountains, canyons, forests, and grasslands across the country, crossing creeks and rivers and skirting lakes. These narrow corridors through the wilderness provide recreation and protect historic resources while conserving natural features. There are many physical, emotional, and logistical requirements for these trips, and winter is the perfect season to get in shape and plan for a long walk. Here’s a quick look at a few of these trails to help you plan a trip.

Enjoying Winter And Pondering The Relevancy Of National Parks

How relevant are national parks to the American public? Back in 2014, then-Park Service Director Jon Jarvis raised that question in a conversation, explaining that “the challenges that we’re facing on a variety of fronts are symptoms, to me, of a waning relevancy to the American people.” That comment arose as we discussed Congress’s collective shoulder shrug over issues facing the National Park Service.

Afoot Through History In The Waterpocket Fold

If you pay a visit to any of Utah’s five national parks, much of the time your eyes will be riveted on arches, towers, cliffs and canyons. That’s only natural in places as scenic as these, but in the years that my wife and I have been exploring southern Utah’s park lands, we’ve found it worth our while to learn about their history as well. The signs of human occupancy in the national parks and monuments of the Colorado Plateau are often hidden, but they give important clues to how people have adapted—or failed to adapt—to the rigors of living in this harsh landscape.

Wanderings From Cable Mountain In Zion National Park

I scraped one more item off my Things To Do list a couple of weeks ago. I finally made it to the top of Cable Mountain. If you stand in the parking lot at Weeping Rock or the shuttle stop at Big Bend and look up toward a tall, sheer cliff to the east, you’ll see a square frame pasted to the sky up there. Most people never notice it because it’s awfully small when viewed against the backdrop of red rocks and towering cliffs. But that little thing is part of one of the most fascinating stories in a place full of fascinating stories.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide