As you might well imagine, I love our national parks. Unfortunately, in these times of budget cuts, that argument is simply not enough when it comes to keep the financial support coming to our national parks. What many people fail to realize, and what is often not expressed when it comes to the funding fights for national parks, is that national parks also provide a huge economic benefit. As part of the 96th birthday of the National Park Service, the National Parks Conservation Association has released an infographic that sums up some of the economic benefits that our national parks provide.
I encourage you to do more than simply look at the economic information provided, but take some notes and contact your congressional representative. Let them know that you strongly support the continued funding of national parks not only for the beauty they provide, but because of the economic benefits they provide.
As the inforgraphic plainly states at the very top:
After two years of declining funding, national parks now face the prospect of additional cuts, including the looming threat of the “sequester” schedule of January 2013. If Congress doesn’t agree on a deficit reduction plan, the Park Service could face cuts up to 10 percent. That would mean closed visitor centers, closed campgrounds, closed parks and thousands of park staff out of a job.
If you have quality photos from your recent National Park trips, the National Park Service would love to take a look at them for possible inclusion for an upcoming wilderness section of Park Science. The beauty of the National Parks wilderness has inspired millions of people who have visited them, but it’s often difficult to capture the spirit of wilderness in words. The National Park Service is hoping to capture wilderness in photos to share in an upcoming issue of Park Science.
Photographers of the winning wilderness photos will receive full credit for their photo and their photo will be featured in a four-page color spread in the center of the Park Science edition. Winning photographers will also receive a handy item which can be used in the wilderness such as a trowel.
For those interested, you should attach up to three wilderness photos for consideration to Christina Mills at [email protected] in TIFF or JPG format by Friday, September 16, 2011. You should also include your name, where the photo was taken (what National Park System wilderness area), the date the photograph was taken and your contact information along with a short description of your thoughts when you took the photograph.
Photo Contest Rules
1. All photos must be digital.
2. All photos must be 3 MG in size or larger.
3. All photos must be in either TIFF or JPG format.
4. There is a submission limit of three photos per photographer.
5. Submitted photo must have been taken in a National Park System wilderness area.
6. Submitted photo must not have been retouched, optimized or had filters applied.
7. The photographer must license unrestricted use to the National Park Service if the submitted photo wasn’t taken on official National Park Service duty.
8. Photos should be emailed as an attachment to Christina Mills at [email protected]
9. Deadline for submission is Friday, September 16, 2011.
10. Please contact Christina Mills at (202) 513-7124 or email [email protected] with any additional questions.
One of the first readily apparent natural landmark within the Colorado River that you pass when rafting in Grand Canyon National Park is Ten Mile Rock. As the name implies, the rock sits in the river approximately ten miles from the start of the rafting trip at Lees Ferry and a few miles past Navajo Bridge.
It’s advisable to listen to your rafting guide carefully as he/she explains about Ten Mile Rock. Ours decided to test our listening skills, rational reasoning and gullibility by announcing that Ten Mile Rock had been flown in by National Park Service helicopter to mark the tenth mile of the Colorado River. While the rock does have a rather rectangular shape, it ended up at the ten mile mark through natural processes. Only a few on our boat realised that our guide was pulling our leg and several members were shocked when they found out the truth several days later. If nothing else, listening closely and questioning your guides will give you a good indication of the fun they will try to have during the trip and keep them honest.
As you travel among the National Parks System and see the many different National Parks and National Monuments, it won’t take long before you will wonder to yourself, “What is the difference between National Parks and National Monuments?” This is especially true when you realize that National Monuments that may not be as well known as National Parks hold just as much beauty and awe-inspiring sights as their National Park counterparts.
Although there has not been a steadfast criteria over the entire period that National Parks and National Monuments have been created, there’s a pretty specific set of criteria used today. The main difference is that National Parks are created through acts of congress and must be large enough for broad use by the public. National Parks should have inspirational, educational and recreational value. National Monuments, on the other hand, are made through declarations from the president and have historic, prehistoric, or scientific interest.