Blogging all NPS sites

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August 25, 2016

Unit #32 / 412 - Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

As I write this, it is the eve of the National Park Service's 100th birthday. I'm sitting in a DICK'S Sporting Goods parking lot on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River, seeing cars whiz by on the interstate, and routinely wiping the late evening humidity from my brow.

And for poetic sake, the mall security just drove by and rubbernecked...

August 25, 2016

Unit #31 / 412 - Effigy Mounds National Monument

A realization I'm having now that I'm a few months into this project is that the U.S. National Park Service shares a lot of Native American sites.

It makes sense, seeing as so much of the NPS is about nature, history and culture, and Native Americans cross-section that quite often.

But what's odd for me is that my state mandated K-12 education didn't...

August 24, 2016

Unit #30 / 412 - Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA)

I'm floating down the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway with the Executive Director of the Saint Croix River Association, and she says, "Have you seen anyone else yet? I can often kayak this river for miles and not see another person."

We exit the river, I dry off, then climb into Vanny McVanface and drive 60 minutes back to...

August 21, 2016

Unit # 29 / 412 - Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway

If you're planning your next summer vacation to Saint Croix, be careful of the GPS coordinates in your search field.

However, if your goal is to escape urban hustle and bustle for private and pristine water, then it might not matter whether your reservation ends up being for Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, or the Saint Croix National Scenic R...

August 16, 2016

With the National Park Service turning 100 this August 25th, popular data scientist Randy Olson created The Optimal U.S. National Parks Centennial Road Trip. However, Randy's map has some problems.

A few hundred to be exact...

Randy's road trip visits the 47 National Parks in the lower 48 United States, leaving out the twelve in Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa and the Virgin Islands (understandably,...

August 13, 2016

Unit #28 / 412 - Pipestone National Monument

Westminster Abbey in London.

The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

The Kaaba in Mecca.

Whether to Christians, Jews, Muslims, or all sorts of ethnicities and cultures, these landmarks stand as sacred places in the eyes of the world.

It would be unthinkable for anyone to deny access to, interfere with, or break down these icons.

Yet that's exactly what was done...

August 13, 2016

Unit #27 / 412 - Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site

Do you know who Sakakawea is?

I bet you do. Or you've at least put her coin in a vending machine.

Popularly recognized as Sacajawea (sa-ka-juh-wee-uh), she is perhaps the most famous of Native American women (OK, so you got a Disney movie, Pocahontas).

Though she wasn't known for painting with the colors of the wind, she is credited...

August 8, 2016

Unit #26 / 412 - Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Poor North Dakota.

Nope, not North Carolina--that's the one by the ocean. North Dakota.

The state at the top of the great plains, just under Manitoba and Winnipeg.

Oh, still not getting it? Hmmm...

The one with the huge oil boom. With the champion 1-AA college football team. Who tried to change their name to just "Dakota" because they were worried peop...

August 6, 2016

Unit #25 / 412 - Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site

Feeling the sun of a North Dakota high-desert beat heavy on my neck, I looked up to view a panorama of dry, grassy bluffs and wondered how early pioneers fared here.

With dust blowing in my eyes and waves of wind flowing above the Missouri River to my right, I thought of my own family. How they'd immigrated from Germany to settle in th...

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