Happy Birthday National Parks

Saturday, January 9, 2016 - by Diane Siskin

There is an historic happening taking place in our nation’s National Parks during 2016. It is the 100th anniversary of the creation of the act which preserves and protects many of our country’s most beautiful wild areas; parks, forests and lakes, rivers and deserts.

The exciting thing is that you can participate in the celebration.

This year, 2016 is the actual 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, the government agency which runs the various parks and public lands.
Several parks, Yellowstone established in 1872 (the nation’s first park) and Yosemite, in 1890were established before the National Park Service. Before 1916 these two parks were managed by the Department of the Interior.

And even if you are unable to physically visit many of these glorious locations you still take in their wonder by viewing The National Parks Adventure, a 3-D IMAX film, which will be (in IMAX) theaters on February 12th.

This movie which has been called “the ultimate off-trail adventure,’ is narrated by Robert Redford, a well-known movie star and environmentalist filmmaker.

The film follows world-class mountaineers and adventure photographers as they rock climb, mountain climb and hike through Utah’s Arches, Canyonlands and Zion national parks.

Several months ago we visited Zion National Park and did a much abbreviated tour through this breathtaking area with a combination shuttle, walking and “very little climbing.” tour. Nevertheless, the sights we were able to view were stunning.

Zion is an easy day drive from Las Vegas Nevada and with good weather you can see and do quite a bit in a short-time span. The drive alone to Zion, which weaves through incredibly beautiful scenery, makes the trip worthwhile. It is a wonderland of narrow (slot) sandstone canyons which run to St. George Utah, and then onto Kolob Canyons.

Once inside the park you can view hanging gardens, cascading waterfalls and hear about how geological events shaped this land for more than 200 million years. 

With Las Vegas, as home base it is also easy to explore the Grand Canyon and Bryce National Parks. 

And while most of Grand Canyon National Park is now closed until mid-May, there are still those visitors who choose to hike the North Rim in winter with the purchase of a back-country permit, even though the snow and cold make most of the park inaccessible.

Just because it is winter, doesn’t mean that all of our country’s national parks, forests and recreational areas go into hibernation. In a driving distance, much closer to Chattanooga, you can visit the Number 1 most visited (with more than 10 million tourists) National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains. This park spreads across Tennessee and into North Carolina.

If you want to visit a national park in a warm weather destination you need only to check out the offerings of Florida’s Pristine Parks.

Or you could head for Haleakala in Hawaii or even the Virgin Islands, Dry Tortugas or Katmi. Or don’t stop there, go to American Samoa.

When it gets too hot in summer where you live, what about visiting the Gates of the Artic, a lesser well-known National Park.

Included on many tourist bucket lists are the following (not already mentioned) parks; Death Valley, Denali, Glacier Bay, Shenandoah, Grand Teton and Yellowstone.

A few years ago, we visited Yosemite National Park in the Yosemite Valley of California, which is especially known for its stunning granite monument, Half Dome, which rises 4,737 feet above the Merced River. El Capitan, another spectacular sight, is a popular climbing spot. 

This past year saw, (via televised accounts) two men who where able to climb the glacier polished granite dome side of this mammoth without ever descending until they reached the top. Coverage and photos of their “sleeping bag huts” hanging off the side of monument were mesmerizing.

From Glacier Point, within Yosemite, you have sweeping views of Half Dome and El Capitan other visitors choose to climb or walk Lembert Dome and the granite slopes of Sentinel Dome.

We also dined in Ahwahnee Lodge, a National Historic Landmark. The food, ambience and service were excellent. The lodge also offers guest accommodations and its great lawn is well-known as a stargazing site.

We visited Yosemite on a day trip from Murphys, California, where we were staying with friends, Gloria Miller and David Bowman, of Chattanooga. The couple and their extended family have been active members of the Yosemite Conservancy for several generations

David’s late sister, Shelley Andrews of Chattanooga, was recently honored with the placement of two very unique wood benches on a bluff above the Tennessee River and the Moccasin Bend Trail.

This tribute came from the Friends of Moccasin Bend, an organization which Mrs. (Don) Andrews had been instrumental with uncovering what had long ago been Federal Road, according to Gloria Miller.

“Shelley spearheaded the cleaning of the trail of this natural area for the enjoyment of all.” Moccasin Bend Trail is a Federal Park under the auspices of Chickamauga National Park.
 
In whatever way you are able, celebrate this wonderful National Park birthday by visiting a national park, forest, lakeshore, desert or canyon this year. Or go to the movies and catch the beauty on screen. Visit a museum and marvel at photos by Ansel Adams or take in landscape paintings of scenes in various parks. Or you can visit a library and check out books about the parks. The beauty and adventure is there for the enjoyment of all.

For Your Information:

If you are 62 years or older and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. you can obtain a lifetime pass for admission to the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands. You can purchase this pass at the auto entrance gate to most parks. The standard amenity fee covers the pass holder and occupants of a single, private non-commercial vehicle, or one motorcycle.

This senior pass covers the pass holder and three persons (16 and older) where per person fees are charged. A valid photo ID is required. We paid only $10. An inexpensive entrance price for so much grandeur.

When we visited the Sabino Canyon in Coronado National Forest Recreation in Tucson, Arizona on the same trip, the passes enabled us to park and enter for free.

This year there will be free entrance fees, commercial tour fees and transportation entrance fees on selected dates such as National Park Week (April 16-24) and National Park Service Birthday celebration (August 25-28) and National Public Lands Day on September 24.

And while more than 100 parks charge only a nominal entrance fee, the rest, almost 300 locations, are always free.

Still another special initiative during this anniversary year is called the White House’s Every Kid in a Park. This is a free pass to all National Park Service sites for any fourth-grader through August 31. 

----

Dsiskin123@gmail.com



Baseball Legend Cal Ripken, Jr., Music, Larger-Than-Life-Sized Balloons Highlight Pigeon Forge’s New Music In The Mountains Spring Parade On May 4

With Cal Ripken, Jr. leading the way, Pigeon Forge’s (Tennessee) new Music in the Mountains spring parade is set for May 4 at 6 p.m. (Eastern) on the city’s Parkway with entries from Tennessee, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Virginia and Georgia plus several new elements to extend the celebration into the weekend.   Mr. Ripken, a member of the National Baseball Hall ... (click for more)

This Week’s Tennessee Tourism Round Up

Spend a date night around the campfire, experience a 3D Rolling Stones’ concert, find out the latest runway fashions, interact with dinosaurs, savor barbecue or a slawburger and take a Tennessee Whiskey adventure. Here’s what’s going on across Tennessee this week. For a complete list of events, visit tnvacation.com/calendar. Ongoing  Nashville – Fifty photos in ... (click for more)

TBI Puts Man Who Killed 4 At Waffle House On Its "10 Most Wanted" List

A man who killed four people and injured two others at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday morning is still on the loose and has been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list. He was identified as Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Ill., was arrested last year when he was in a restricted area at the White House in Washington, D.C. Reinking ... (click for more)

Dayton Teen Arrested After Running From Deputies On Highway 60; Passenger Caught With Drugs

Hamilton County Sheriff deputies caught up with a Dayton teen who drove off at a high rate of speed on Highway 60 on Sunday afternoon. A passenger in the vehicle was caught with drugs. At approximately  5 p.m. , deputies observed a white Chrysler 200 traveling south in the 7800 block of Highway 60 at a high rate of speed. The driver was improperly passing other vehicles ... (click for more)

Teachers Have Good Compensation Compared To Other Taxpayers - And Response

Hamilton County experienced a property tax increase of about 10.7 percent in 2017. By law the reappraisal of property shall not increase tax revenue. So after the reappraisal the state certified millage rate for Hamilton County was 2.4976 per hundred dollars assessed value. The county commission voted to raise the millage rate to 2.7652 per hundred. That's about a 10.7 percent increase ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

All of us who marvel at the sound of bagpipes at a funeral realize the majesty that people like piper Scottie Maclellan can lend to any “homecoming” and for years there has been a wonderful tale out of Nova Scotia that leads this week’s parade of The  Saturday  Funnies. Mind you, I do not write these stories, as many who have followed man’s laughter down through the ... (click for more)