Friday, April 29, 2016

National Lands: Minnesota

A landscape typical of the Boundary Waters reg...
A landscape typical of the Boundary Waters region (Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Voyageurs National Park is located on the northern border of Minnesota and the United States. No interstate comes even close to this area. Boat tours, canoe trips and hiking are available at the park. Thirteen visitor destinations are been identified by the Park Service, but all of them require a boat for access. The Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway is also shared by Wisconsin. It is located to the east of St. Cloud. Interstate 35 is to the west and close to the area.  Fishing, boating, hiking and camping are all available. The National Park Service has provided sample trip itineraries on their website. The North Country National Scenic Trail runs through seven states. In Minnesota it travels through the northeastern section of the state.

The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area is located in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area with Interstates 35 and 94 providing access. This park is 72 miles long and provides hiking, biking, fishing and boating opportunities. The Grand Portage National Monument is located in the very northeastern tip of the state on the border with Canada. Visitors can learn about the fur trade and the Ojibwe people and they can also hike the trails.  Pipestone National Monument is located in the southwestern corner of the state near the South Dakota border. Interstate 90 is to the south. The red pipestone found at this site is used to make prayer pipes that were sacred to the Indian people.

Friday, April 22, 2016

National Lands: Mississippi

English: Biloxi lighthouse, Biloxi, Mississipp...
English: Biloxi lighthouse, Biloxi, Mississippi, USA. The Mississippi Sound (Gulf of Mexico) is in the background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The beautiful Gulf Islands National Seashore is located in Mississippi and Florida. The white sandy beaches are south of Interstate 10 on the Gulf of Mexico. Biking, hiking, swimming, boating, fishing and camping are just some of the activities that draw millions to this popular area. Two Civil War battlefields are on national lands. Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield is located in Baldwyn. The scene of this Confederate victory is in the northeast corner of the state north or Tupelo. Interstate 55 is to the west. The Tupelo National Battlefield is located in Tupelo which is to the east of Interstate 55 in the northeast corner of the state. Shiloh National Military Park is the location where 110,000 men fought and 23,746 died. Most of the park is in Tennessee, but the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center is in Mississippi. The park is east of Memphis. Vicksburg National Military Park commemorates the battle that was a turning point in the Civil War. The park is located west of Jackson on the Mississippi River. Tours are available.

English: Horn Island,MS
English: Horn Island,MS (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Three national heritage areas honor the Mississippi River. The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area includes the counties that border the river from Memphis in the north to just south of Vicksburg. This area celebrates the unique culture of the people who live near the Mississippi. The Mississippi Gulf National Heritage Area features the lifestyles of the coastal region. The Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area highlights the achievement of those in the musical and literary fields as well as the Civil Rights pioneers from the area. The Natchez Trace Parkway travels through three states. In Mississippi the road runs from Tupelo southwest to Natchez. The Natchez National Park has three properties for travelers to visit. These areas give an idea of southern life in the past. The Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail is located in Tupelo. The trail is 450 miles long. The maps of the various sections of the trail are available on the National Park Service website.

Friday, April 15, 2016

National Lands: Missouri

St. Louis on the Mississippi river by night. J...
St. Louis on the Mississippi river by night. Jefferson National Expansion Memorial aka. Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse are visible. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
St. Louis is famous for its Arch, but the Gateway Arch is just part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. This park honors Jefferson's role is the westward expansion of the country. A tram is available for travelers to visit the top of the Arch. Visitors should know that airport-type security is in place. Items that are not permitted on an airplane are not permitted in the Arch. Interstates 70, 55, 44 and 64/40 are all in the area. Also in St. Louis is the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site. In addition to Grant's home, a museum is also on the property. Interstate 44 is the closest of all the interstates that are in the area. The Harry S. Truman National Historical Site provides tours of the President's home and his farm. Interstates 70 and 435 will provide access to the area. The George Washington Carver National Monument is located in the southwestern corner of the state just southeast of Joplin and south of Interstate 44. Wilson's Creek National Battlefield is the site of the first major Civil War battle fought west of the Mississippi. It is just south of Springfield and Interstate 44. The Ozark National Scenic Riverways, which is located in the southeastern section of the state, is south of Interstate 44. This park protects the entire river system. Biking, hiking, fishing, swimming, boating and horseback riding are just some of the myriad of activities.

English: Front of the Truman home
English: Front of the Truman home (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Many national trails cross Missouri. The California National Historic Trail travels through ten states. In Missouri the beginning of the trail is to the east of Kansas City. Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail covers eleven states. The trail follows the Missouri River with Interstate 70 as the closest interstate. Running through seven states is the Oregon National Historic Trail. In Missouri the trail begins east of Kansas City and continues west. The Pony Express National Historic Trail begins in St. Joseph which is north of Kansas City on the Missouri River on Interstate 29. In five states is the Santa Fe National Historic Trail. The trail begins near Boonville and travels west through Kansas City. The trail is north of Interstate 70. The Trail of Tears National Historical Trail commemorates the relocation of the Cherokee from Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee to Oklahoma. The trail covers nine states. In Missouri the trail travels through the center of the state and then south.

Friday, April 8, 2016

National Lands: Montana

Going to the Sun Mountain in Glacier National Park
Going to the Sun Mountain in Glacier National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Montana is fortunate to have two incredible national parks. The nation's first national park is Yellowstone National Park, which features amazing sites such as the geyser basin, Mammoth Hot Springs and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River. Camping, hiking, horseback riding and cross country skiing are just a few of the myriad of available activities. The majority of the park is located in Wyoming, but it extends into Montana on its southern border near the southwest corner of the state. Interstate 90 is to the north and Interstate 15 is to the west. Glacier National Park is an amazingly gorgeous park which is located in the northwest corner of Montana with Interstate 15 to the east. Hikers will find more than 700 miles of trails that reveal the beauty of the mountains, lakes and forests. Boating, fishing, hiking and cross-country skiing are just some of the activities. Guided tours are available. The most famous experience is driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is on the southern border of the state and extends into Wyoming. Interstate 90 is to the east. Visitors can explore over 120,000 acres and participate in hiking, biking, boating, fishing and horseback riding. The Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site celebrates the cowboys and cattlemen of the West. The area is located on Interstate 90 between Missoula and Butte on the western edge of the state. The Nez Perce National Historical Park is in four states with 38 sites. One of the sections of this park is the Big Hole National Battlefield which is to the west of Butte and Interstate 15 by the western border of the state. This battlefield honors the Nez Perce people who were killed in battle.
English: Main terrace of Mammoth Hot Springs i...
English: Main terrace of Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site is on the North Dakota border north of Interstate 94. The fort was an important fur trade post. The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail covers eleven states. In Montana the trail follows the Missouri River for most of the time. The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument remembers the battle where General George Custer and his men lost their lives in battling Indians. The area is to the east of Billings and to the east of Interstate 90.

Friday, April 1, 2016

National Lands: Nebraska

English: Covered Wagon On Oregon Trail In Scot...
English: Covered Wagon On Oregon Trail In Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Agate Fossil Beds National Monument is located in the northwest corner of Nebraska. It is north of Scottsbluff and not near any interstate. Visitors can explore the area and see the fossils and hike the trails. The Scotts Bluff National Monument is also in this area. It is located just outside the city and north of Interstate 80. The bluff is 800 feet tall and served as a landmark for travelers on the California, Mormon and Oregon Trails. Visitors can hike or drive to the top of the bluff. Close to the South Dakota border in the middle of the state is the Niobrara National Scenic River which has over 200 waterfalls. Canoeing, kayaking and tubing are available as well as hiking. A Class II rapid is available in the spring. The Missouri National Recreation River forms the eastern border of the state. Fishing, boating and hiking are available. The center is in Yankton and the closest interstate is Interstate 29 which is to the east. The Homestead National Monument of America honors the Homestead Act of 1862. Hiking trails and exhibits are available. The park is in the southeast corner of the state south of Interstate 80 near the Kansas border.

Many trails are in the Nebraska area. Covering ten states in the California National Historic Trail. In Nebraska the trail basically follows the Platte River with Interstate 80 to the south. Running through eleven states is the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, which follows the Missouri River in this state with Interstate 29 to the east of the river. In five states is the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail which also follows the Plate River. The Oregon National Historic Trail runs through seven States following the Platte River for most of its journey. The Pony Express National Historic Trail commemorates the method of mail delivery over eight states from Missouri to California. The trail follows the same path as the Oregon Trail.