Monday, June 19, 2017

National Lands: Alabama

English: Little River Falls in the Little Rive...
English: Little River Falls in the Little River Canyon National Preserve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Alabama does not have a National Park, but it does have several national historical sites, monuments and military fields. This state is rich in historical significance. The Selma to Montgomery National Historical Trail commemorates the struggle for African Americans to obtain the right to vote. The closest interstates to this trail are I-65 and I-85. The Tuskegee Airman National Historical Site honors the military airmen known as the Red Tails. Also in that area is the Tuskegee Institute built by Booker T. Washington. This is National Historical Site. I-85 is the nearest to this area.

Native Americans are also honored in this state. The Trail of Tears is a National Historical Trail that stretches over nine states. It honors the survival of the Cherokee people when they were removed from their homeland. Closest interstate is I-65. Muscle Shoals in the Tennessee River is a National Heritage that pays tribute to the Native Americans and settlers who braved the river. This area is in northwest Alabama with I-65 as the closest interstate. The Natchez Trace Parkway is 444 miles long and travels through three states. The nearest interstate in Alabama is I-65.

Horseshoe Bend National Military Park was home of a battle that ended the Creek War. General Andrew Jackson defeated the Indians here. I-85 is the nearest interstate. The Little River Canyon is a National Preserve which is located close to I-59 near the Georgia border. In the northeast corner of Alabama just south of the Tennessee line is Russell Cave National Monument. This archeological site is close to I-59.

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Sunday, June 4, 2017

National Lands: Alaska (Part 2)

Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Alagnak Wild River is located in the Alaskan Peninsula. The river begins in the Katmai National Park & Preserve and flows to the Bristol Bay. The area is popular for fishing and the rapids are Class I-III. No services exist in this area, so visitors have to be well prepared. Alaska Public Lands is located in Anchorage and provides information for those who wish to visit the public lands in the state. Other centers are is Fairbanks, Ketchikan and Tok. These centers will help visitors make the most informed choices for activities. Aleutian World War II National Historic Site commemorates the invasion of this area by the Japanese and the fight for this island chain. This site is located at the Unalaska airport. The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument includes battlefield remnants on Ahu Island, an occupation site on Kiska Island and the crash site of a B-24D Liberator on Atka Island. The Sitka National Historical Park is the site of a battle with Russian invaders. The park is located in the southeastern section of the state west of the border with Canada. Highlighted is the culture of the Tlingit people.

The Noatak National Preserve is in the northern section of the state. It is to the west of Gates of the Arctic. The river is 400 miles long and carries water from the Brooks Range to the Chukchi Sea. No facilities are at this site. Access is by boat or plane. Hiking, fishing, camping and rafting are just some of the available activities. The Bering Land Bridge National Preserve is on the western side of the state in the area of land closest to Russia. Camping, hiking and backpacking are available. No roads are in the preserve, so access is by plane or boat.  The Inupiat Heritage Center is located in Barrow which is on the northern coast of Alaska. The site honors the people who live in this harsh climate. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is in Skagway which is in the northeast section of the state on the border with Canada. Hiking and camping are available in the area. The Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve is located in the center of the eastern border with Canada. Access to the area is only by air or water. Boating, hiking, camping and fishing are available.

Friday, May 19, 2017

National Lands: Alaska (Part 1)

Denali National Park
Denali National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Alaska has many amazing national parks. The most famous is Denali National Park & Preserve which is located north of Anchorage. The area has six million acres of land with the centerpiece of Denali, a mountain 20,310 feet tall which is the highest in North America. The Denali Visitors Center is the starting point for hikers. Shuttle busses take visitors into the park. No private vehicles are permitted. Backpacking requires a permit. The Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve does not have any trails or roads. This wilderness area is located just south of the Brooks Range in the northern half of the state. Visitors should be experienced in outdoor skills because no services or even cell phone reception exist in the park. Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve is located in the lower southeast section of the state north of Sitka. The border of Canada is to the east. The park has 3.3 million acres. Most visitors see this area by boat whether it is a cruise ship or a kayak. Hiking and camping are available in the area.  Katmai National Park & Preserve is located in the southern section of the state and the northern part of the Alaskan peninsula. The area is accessible only by plane or boat. Fishing, boating and hiking are available activities. The Kenai Fjords National Park is located south of Seward and Anchorage. Boat tours are available and visitors can explore the area by kayak. Rangers lead walks to the glacier area.

A glacier in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park ...
A glacier in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska, USA. Photographed from a small prop plane. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Kobuk Valley National Park is to the west of Gates of the Arctic and south of the Brooks Range. The park has no facilities, but hiking, boating and fishing are available activities for those who are prepared for the wilderness area. Lake Clark National Park & Preserve has access by small plane. Hiking, Kayaking, fishing, camping and rafting are available in this wilderness area.  Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve has 13.2 million acres. This park is located to the east of Anchorage on the border with Canada. The Gulf of Alaska is to the south. Activities include hiking, biking, fishing, backpacking and kayaking. This is the largest national park in America. Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve is located on the Alaskan Peninsula and is accessible only by air and boat. It is the least visited park in the system.  Rafting, hiking and fishing are available. Cape Krusenstern National Monument is north of the Arctic Circle. The area is remote with no roads, no trails and no facilities. Visitor need to excel in backcountry skills.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

National Lands: Arizona (Part 1)

Photo credit: memyselfandtheinterstate.com
Sometimes visitors have a hard time comprehending the immensity of Grand Canyon National Park. The view is overwhelming and breathtaking. The park is located in the northwest corner of Arizona to the northwest of Flagstaff. Interstate 40 runs to the south. A myriad of activities is available at the park. Visitors can hike the trails or ride a mule into the canyon. Whitewater rafting is available on the river. The Petrified Forest National Park is located on Interstate 40 in the northeast section of the state. The park also includes the Painted Desert. This is a park that can be easily seen from the car, but trails are available in addition to backcountry hiking opportunities. Saguaro National Park has two sections in Tucson. One is to the east of the city and one is to the west. The admission is good for both parks, but the travel time between them can vary from 30-45 minutes. The park is famous for the Saguaro Cactus.  The Coronado National Memorial is located southeast of Tucson on the Mexican border. Nogales and Interstate 19 are to the west. The Coronado Cave is available for exploring. Fort Bowie National Historic Site, which is located in the southeastern corner of the state, is to the east of Benson and Wilcox and south of Interstate 10 and Bowie near the New Mexico state line.

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona in Glen Canyon Nationa...
Horseshoe Bend, Arizona in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area as seen from the lookout point (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is amazingly beautiful. After driving for hours and seeing red rocks and beige sand, travelers are jolted by the brilliant blue of the water. The area is 1.2 million acres that offer a variety of water activities and hiking trails. Most of the park is in Utah, but a small portion is in the upper center of Arizona north of Flagstaff. The Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site has the oldest operating trading post in the Navajo Nation. The post is located near the New Mexico state line and north of Interstate 40. It is north of the Petrified Forest. The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail runs from Nogales in southern Arizona to San Francisco. The Lake Mead National Recreation Area is in the Mojave Desert. The area is in the northwest corner of the state to the east of Las Vegas. Interstate 15 is to the north and northeast of the lake. Biking, boating, camping, hiking and fishing are some of the available activities.  Hoover Dam is by Willow City. The Old Spanish National Historic Trail travels through six states. In Arizona the trail runs along the northern border of the state. Tumacácori National Historical Park is located to the west of Interstate 19 just north of Nogales and the Mexican border. Visitors can tour the mission and on weekends during some times of the year crafts and food are available. Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area is located in the very southwest corner of the state on Interstate 8. The park works to restore the wetlands in the area.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

National Lands: Arizona (Part 2)

view of Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monume...
view of Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Arizona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Arizona has many national monuments. Canyon de Chelly National Monument, which  is a beautiful area located in the northeast corner of the state, is close to the New Mexico border with Interstate 40 to the south. The monument is on the Navajo Nation land and some families live in the canyon. The Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is located where Interstate 8 meets Interstate 10 in Casa Grande south of Phoenix. Chiricahua National Monument is described as a Wonderland of Rocks by the National Park Service. Visitors have eight miles of paved road and seventeen miles of hiking trails. The area, which is located in the southeast corner of the state near the New Mexico border, is south of Interstate 10. The Montezuma Castle National Monument is located south of Flagstaff on Interstate 17. The ruins, which were built a thousand years ago by the Sinagua people, are east of the interstate. The Navajo National Monument offers guided tours of the area. The park is located in the northeast corner of the state northeast of the Grand Canyon and close to the Utah border. No interstates are near the area. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is located on the border with Mexico. It is south of Interstate 8 and halfway between Nogales and Yuma. Hiking trails and camping are available. The Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is located to the west of the Grand Canyon and extends to the Nevada state line. Interstate 40 is to the south. This wilderness area does not have trails, but hiking and camping are available.

English: Montezuma Castle National Monument, A...
English: Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona, USA  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pipe Spring National Monument is located in the northwest section of the state. It is close to the Utah border and east of Interstate 15. Guided tours are available to learn about pioneer and Kaibab Paiute life. The Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is just outside Flagstaff and north of Interstate 40. Trails are available to explore the volcanic area. Tonto National Monument is located to the east of Phoenix and Interstate 17 just outside Roosevelt. Cliff dwellings of the Salado and their artifacts are displayed. The Tuzigoot National Monument is located to the west of Sedona and Interstate 17 southwest of Flagstaff. Visitors can explore the area and hike the trails. Walnut Canyon National Monument is just to the east of Flagstaff on Interstate 40. Visitors can hike the trails and explore the ruins in the area. Also outside Flagstaff is the Wupatki National Monument which is to the north of Flagstaff and Interstate 40. Guided tours and hiking are available.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

National Lands: Arkansas

Quapaw Bathhouse, Hot Springs National Park
Quapaw Bathhouse, Hot Springs National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hot Springs National Park is located to the southwest of Little Rock. Interstate 30 is to the east. This area is famous for the hot springs which enable visitors to bathe in the thermal water. Hiking is also available on the 26 miles of trails. The Buffalo National River is located in the northern section of the state. Interstate 540 is to the west and Interstate 40 is to the south. The river is north of Little Rock. Visitors use kayaks, canoes and tubes on the river. Hiking, fishing and horseback riding are also available. The President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home is located in Hope which is northeast of Texarkana, Texas on Interstate 30. The site honors the 42nd President. Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site commemorates the desegregation of public schools.

Pea Ridge National Military Park is a 4,300 acre battlefield where 26,000 soldiers fought in the Civil War. The park is located in the northwest corner of the state near the Missouri border. Interstate 540 is to the west.  Arkansas Post National Memorial is to the southeast of Pine Bluff close to the Mississippi River. This area features the culture and history of the area. Fort Smith National Historic Site preserves 80 years of history in the area. The area is located on Interstate 40 on the border with Oklahoma. The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail commemorates the relocation of the Cherokee people from Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee to Oklahoma. This trail covers nine states. In Arkansas the trail cuts across the center of the state.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

National Lands: California (Part 4)

English: The Golden Gate Bridge and Fort Point...
English: The Golden Gate Bridge and Fort Point seen from the Presidio, near the Battery East Trail, in San Francisco, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Alcatraz Island, a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is well known for the penitentiary. The island is located in San Francisco Bay to the east of the Golden Gate Bridge with access only by ferry. This attraction is usually crowded so reserving tickets is a must. The Mojave National Preserve is a 1.6 million acre desert park that is located between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The Preserve is bordered by Interstate 15 on the north and Interstate 40 on the south. Visitors should be prepared for the visit since services are limited. Water is essential. Point Reyes National Seashore is located north of San Francisco. This park has a variety of scenery from beaches to marshes to forests. Biking, hiking, fishing and horseback riding are a few of the main activities. In January through April visitors can see the gray whale migration.

English: The lighthouse on Alcatraz Island, Sa...
English: The lighthouse on Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial is located on an active military base, so visitors cannot drive to the site. Those with reservations must use a shuttle that comes from the John Muir National Historic Site near Martinez. On July 17, 1944, 320 men were killed when two ships that were being loaded with ammunition exploded. This site honors those men. The Presidio of San Francisco served as an army post and is located on the shore of the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. The area has 24 miles of trails for biking and hiking. Eight scenic overlooks give visitors an opportunity to enjoy the amazing views. The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is to the east of the Presidio. Ships and exhibits are in this area of Fisherman's Wharf. Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park honors those who made personal sacrifices in their home for the war effort. The park is located in Richmond which is north of Oakland on Interstate 580.

Monday, March 6, 2017

National Lands: California (Part 3)

Too few people know about Manzanar or its impo...
Too few people know about Manzanar or its importance to American history. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Manzanar National Historic Site commemorates the thousands of Japanese who were detained in relocation camps during World War II. Over 110,000 were kept in these military style camps. The park is located in the southern half of the state on the road between Sequoia and Death Valley. Eugene O'Neil National Historic Site honors America's only Nobel Prize winning playwright. Visitors cannot visit the park without reservations. A shuttle will pick up travelers in Danville and take them to the park. Danville is located on Interstate 680 to the east of Oakland. Fort Point National Historic Site features the fort that defended San Francisco Bay. The site is located on the property of the Presidio to the east of the bridge on the southern shore of the bay. The John Muir National Historic Site is dedicated to the man who did so much for the National Park Service. John Muir was instrumental in convincing the government to protect as national parks Yosemite,  Sequoia, Grand Canyon and Mt. Rainier. The park is located to the northeast of Oakland and south of Martinez. Interstate 80 is to the west and Interstate 680 is to the east.

The California National Historic Trail covers ten states. The trail brought people to the state for the Gold Rush. It ends in the northern part of the state. The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail brought settlers to the San Francisco area from Nogales, Arizona. The National Park Service has a list on its website of the sites along the trail in California.  The Old Spanish National Historic Trail travels through six states. The trail cuts across the state from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. The Pony Express National Historic Trail commemorates the men who rode to deliver the mail across eight states from Missouri to California.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

National Lands: California (Part 2)

Rainbow Falls at Devils Postpile National Monument
Rainbow Falls at Devils Postpile National Monument (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Lava Beds National Monument, which is located at the northern border of California, is east of Interstate 5 and west of Goose Lake. Volcanic eruptions have been occurred in this area and one of the results is the many caves. The National Park Service warns if visitors have hiking boots or shoes that have been used in caves or mines east of the Rockies, please do not bring them to hike in this area for fear of spreading a deadly fungal bat disease. Cabrillo National Monument is located on the coast in San Diego. The spot commemorates the first European explorer who set foot on the West Coast. Hiking, biking and whale watching are just some of the activities. César E. Chávez National Monument honors his leadership of farm workers to obtain better working conditions and higher wages. This park is east of Bakersfield and Interstate 5. Devils Postpile National Monument is located to the southeast of Yosemite near Mammoth Lakes. Hiking and fishing are favorite activities. The columnar basalt columns are 60 feet tall. World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is in Hawaii, Alaska and California. Tule Lae War Relocation Center in California is part of the monument and is on the northern border of the state just north of Lava Beds National Monument. Muir Woods National Monument is located to the northwest of Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is considered part of that park. No cell phone service is available in the park. The area can get crowded and a shuttle is available.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area is just north of the Golden Gate Bridge and offers biking, hiking and horseback riding. The National Park Service website has a complete list of the myriad of activities at this popular spot. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area provides a wilderness experience just north of Los Angeles. Hiking, biking and horseback riding are the most popular activities. The park has many points of access so visitors should consult the National Park Service website to see what interests them. The park has amazing views of the valley, beaches and city. Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is north of Redding on Interstate 5. Boating, fishing and swimming are available activities.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

National Lands: California (Part 1)

Channel Islands 10
Channel Islands 10 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Channel Islands National Park is a breathtakingly beautiful area. Visitors can hike and camp on the island and also kayak or dive in the Pacific Ocean. The five islands in this area are accessible by plane or boat. Visitors should research what their options are for the trip and bring the necessary supplies. Bikes are not permitted on the islands. Death Valley National Park is an extremely hot place in the summer since it is below sea level. With over three million acres of land, this park offers many hiking, camping and biking opportunities. This is a wilderness so travelers should be prepared for their physical safety and for the good working order of their vehicles. The park is located in the southern half of the state on the Nevada border north of Interstate 15. Joshua Tree National Park is located on Interstate 10 east of Los Angeles and Palm Springs. The park offers a myriad of activities in the desert environment. Hiking, camping, horseback riding and mountain climbing are just a few of the available activities. Lassen Volcanic National Park has over 150 miles of hiking trails. Boating camping, swimming and horseback riding are also available. The park is east of Redding and Interstate 5 in the northern half of the state.

English: yosemite national park mirror lake 20...
English: yosemite national park mirror lake 2010 winter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pinnacles National Park is the newest national park and is located south of San Jose and near Soledad. The area is west of Interstate 5 in the southern half of the state. Two caves are in the park and rock climbing is available. Over 30 miles of hiking trails are in the park. No road runs through the park to connect the east and west entrances. Redwood National and State Parks are located on the California coast in the northwestern corner of the state. Interstate 5 is to the east. Eureka is to the south and the Oregon border is to the north. The area is known for the giant trees and many scenic drives are in the park. The Klamath River Overlook is particularly beautiful. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks are right next to one another and both are west of Death Valley and southeast of Yosemite. Hiking, horseback riding and skiing are available. Visitors can take cave tours and scenic drives. One of the most famous parks is Yosemite National Park which is located east of San Francisco just west of the Nevada border. This is a land of incredible beauty that features a variety of landscapes. A myriad of activities is waiting for visitors. Hiking, rock climbing, camping, fishing, horseback riding and biking are only a few of them. This park can get very crowded, so visitors would be wise to make reservations for camping and lodging.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

National Lands: Colorado

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Rocky Mountain National Park is a place of incredible beauty. The mountains are majestic and the views are spectacular. The park is located to the northwest of Denver and Boulder with Interstate 25 to the east. This area has 415 square miles of land and 300 miles of hiking trails. Horseback riding, fishing, hiking, fishing and camping are just a few of the available activities. Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve is located southwest of Pueblo and Colorado Springs with Interstate 25 to the east. Popular activities are sandboarding and sand sledding the dunes which are the tallest in North America. At some times of the year the creek runs in front of the dunes to provide cool relief from the hot dunes. Mesa Verde showcases the Pueblo Indian cliff dwellings. Some of the dwellings require a guided tour. The park is located in the southwest corner and no interstate is near the area. The National Park Service suggests a minimum of four hours for a visit with two of those hours spent driving in and out of the park. Hovenweep National Monument is to the west of Mesa Verde. The trail system provides excellent views of the archeological sites. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is located in the central western section of the state east of Montrose. The canyon wall provides a challenging climb which should be attempted only by experienced climbers. Kayaking, fishing and hiking are also available. To the east of this park is Curecanti National Recreation Area which is a series of three reservoirs along the Gunnison River. Fishing, hiking and boating are some activities.

Photo taken while driving through the Rocky Mo...
Photo taken while driving through the Rocky Mountain National Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Yucca House National Monument is another archeological site in the Mesa Verde area south of Cortez, but travelers should be careful. They need to research the destination before they go to the area or check with the Mesa Verde rangers, because no signs exist. Visitors will be traveling on dirt and gravel roads and nothing is available at the site and services are few in the area. Dinosaur National Monument is located in the northwest corner of the state and extends into Utah. Camping, hiking and river rafting are available in addition to viewing the fossils. The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is located west of Colorado Springs and Interstate 25. Guided ranger walks are available. The Colorado National Monument is located in Fruita which is just to the west of Grand Junction. The area is south of Interstate 70 by the Utah border. Rim Rock Drive provides 23 miles of views. Hiking and camping are available. The Cache La Poudre River National Heritage Area begins to the northwest of Fort Collins and continues to the southeast to Greeley. Interstate 25 crosses through the area. Decisions made for this river lead to water laws in the West.

Bent's Old Fort National Historical Site features a reconstructed fur trading post. The fort is in the southeastern section of the state to the east of Interstate 25 and southeast of Pueblo. Also in this area is the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site which is to the east of Colorado Springs and Interstate 25 almost to the Kansas border. Covering ten states is the California National Historic Trail. In Colorado the trail is in the northeast corner of the state. The Old Spanish National Historical Trail, which travels through six states, runs through the southwest quadrant of the state. In eight states is the Pony Express National Historic Trail with the same route as the California Trail. The Santa Fe Trail travels through the southeast corner of the state on its journey through five states.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

National Lands: Connecticut

English: Picture of Weir Farm National Histori...
English: Picture of Weir Farm National Historic Site. (from nps.gov) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Quinebaug & Shetucket Rivers Valley in Connecticut is a park that has over 300,000 people living in it. The population works together to keep the heritage of the area alive. Biking and hiking are just two of the available activities. Many museums, state parks and festivals are in this area. Interstate 395 is to the east and Interstate 84 is to the west. The Weir Farm National Historic Site is in Ridgefield and Wilton. This is the only national park dedicated to painting. The farm is located in the southwest corner of the state with Interstate 84 to the north and Interstate 95 to the south. Norwalk to to the south. Studios are on the property. Hiking and painting are two of the available activities.

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail travels through fourteen states. The trail is 2,185 miles long. In Connecticut the trail runs down the western side of the state. The New England Scenic Trail is also shared by Massachusetts. The trailhead is in Guilford Harbor and the train runs through the center of the state. The Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail covers nine states and DC.