“It was here that the romance of my life began.” Theodore Roosevelt
10 words. That’s all it took for Theodore Roosevelt to convey his thoughts on America’s National Parks. You’ve heard this, but maybe never really thought about it. The National Parks are the greatest idea. And this year celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the National Park System. It was on August 25, 1916 when Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park System. What started with humble beginnings of setting aside some parts of beautiful land, which totaled 35, grew much larger. Today, according to NPS.gov, the National Park System comprises more than 400 areas. From Yellowstone to Washington DC and all the way to the Puerto Rico, you don’t need to travel far to find one close to home. And home can be for many of us travelers out there, just about anywhere.
Have you forgot just how treasured these places are? Maybe you, like others should rediscover what really makes America great… again. Those of us consumed by the hunger for travel, continue to push boundaries. Continue to go further. Continue to seek new places, that maybe very few people have ever seen. Yet, these places are right there in front of our eyes. Each one just as comparable as the next, but for different reasons. There’s several million footprints within their boundaries, but each new set sees the same thing as the first. And therein lies its beauty. We are celebrating more than just a park, we’re celebrating restraint. We are the country that dominates, explores and builds. Yet, in these places, we chose to leave it alone. And what a valuable choice it was.
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.” John Muir
When Words Fail
It never ceases to amaze me to discover how many travelers overlook the most precious jewels of our country. On the contrary, I’m inspired in discussions with others who have been to these parks because their eyes say it all. Everyone has seen the Grand Canyon, but have you actually seen it in person. Can you explain what you saw? Very few travelers can. There are simply no words that do it justice because our minds have trouble processing what we see. Mountains that touch the sky and prairies that extend as far as the eye can see are just a few. There are names such as Badlands and Zion that excite the mind. You can summit a mountain in Alaska and snorkel an underwater trail in the Virgin Islands. There’s literally something for everyone.
After years of exploring other countries and islands, our family has made the effort to visit these places. In just the last year we have seen Mt Ranier, Capital Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, Haleakala, Pearl Harbor, Haleakala, Buck Island, The Freedom Trail and Mammoth Cave and we’re hoping to not be done just yet. Do yourself and your family a favor and get out and see our beautiful country. Say hello to a park ranger like we did above and thank them for preserving this great land. And finally, come out and celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Great Idea and revisit what makes America the greatest country in the world.
Live Within your Means, Travel Beyond Them