I balance my bicycle between my legs, front wheel turning heavily towards the woods. There are wild raspberries in my hand. Dad smiles. I reach for more; red ripe fruit hides under the wide leaves. Sunshine has reached through the aspen canopy of green. There is a glow around us like light in a cathedral of trees. Dad’s voice changes in the woods. We seem to stand on holy ground.
“In 2017, at the age of 70, I hiked from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian Trail; I fell down more times than I had fallen when I was a toddler learning to walk. I also spent more time alone than I ever had before. The relationship between those two experiences is worth pondering.”
Our April poetry series inspired us to consider anew the significance of public lands and the many moving landscapes in the world, from coast to canyon. Our appreciation of natural space has deepened in a varied, surprising way each day. Thanks to all poets who submitted their creative work to Parks and Points and Poetry 2019!
The federal government has entered a partial shutdown on 12.22. This means there are some major changes to access to public lands, including NPS and Forest Service lands and sites. Here are 9 things to know:
We’re guest hosting #ParkChat tonight (10.3.18) at 9pm EDT! What is #Parkchat, you may ask? It’s a Twitter chat, wherein a bunch of national parks and public lands enthusiasts get together for an hour to chat about all things national parks on Twitter.
"Most of us, generally, envision our visits to national and state parks occurring during daytime hours. However, most parks are accessible long after the sun goes down, creating a unique opportunity to be in park environs— desert, wilderness, and mountains—under dark and vast skies." Click to read more about contributor Courtney Johnson's exploration of the night sky programs in our national parks.
Travel with Lauren Smith as she finds a sense of home on the road, much like the migrating birds she studies. "The month after I moved to Montana I went to an environmental conference in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta. There, I heard a Blackfeet elder say this: “We are bound by breath to honor and take care of this place.” The elder was speaking about conservation, and how it is important to care for all parts of an ecosystem—the watershed, the soil, the plants, the animals. To care, the elder said, you need to settle in a place and let it settle in you. Once this happens, you are bound by breath to honor and care for that place." Click here to continue.
Our annual fall essay contest invites nonfiction submissions of up to 1,500 words in the form of autobiographical essay, reportage, profile, memoir, or narrative nonfiction. We seek essays that express a moment of significance — personal transformation, awakening, adventure, exploration, reward, accomplishment, revelation — that is inspired by or set within a park space or public land. Essays need not be about a U.S. national park—national forests, municipal and state parks, BLM lands, beaches, lakeshores, campgrounds, designated woodlands—and more—are great subjects.
Our friends at Food Travelist have compiled a diverse selection of eateries in the Yellowstone region, from lodges, ranches, and resorts to craft breweries, ice cream parlors, and ideal spots for a tasty lunch. Their post celebrates the best of the region (including local delicacies, like huckleberry ice cream, and perfectly seasoned and prepared game) and we are glad to share it with you! For the nights you are not planning to indulge in s'mores around the campfire, consider these venues...and let us know what you think!
Contributor Courtney Johnson journeys to Bear's Ears National Monument to better know this controversial landscape, both as an outdoor enthusiast and public lands advocate—and to better make the case for its continued protected status. Continue reading Courtney Johnson's essay here
The National Park Service, we know, protects and preserves important historical landmarks and expansive, undeveloped natural landscapes. However, many NPS units also have ties to the creative arts, and are dedicated to honoring and preserving an artistic legacy. We've taken a closer look at parks that focus upon artists, writers, and important creative and cultural pursuits that uniquely reflect and reexamine American culture. Let's take a look, click here!
With the arrival of National Park #60, Gateway Arch National Park, we’re taking a look at the contenders for #61! Here’s a brief rundown on how they stack up. We’re giving you a bit of each park's story, and a score as to their chances, on a scale of John Muir beards! Find more about the race here!
We are delighted to host our second annual poetry series, in honor of National Poetry Month. Poetry presents an extraordinary lens through which to explore public lands, the outdoors, and our instincts for adventure and self-reflection.
An hour later and I'm clinging to a cable on the side of the mountain, treading a path so narrow my feet no longer fit side by side safely, but only one in front of the other. There is a steep, almost vertical drop to my right hand side. Indeed, at one point there is only a metal bar sticking out from the sheer rock, bridging the next bit of narrow path. Don't look down, I think. Hang on to the cable with both hands. Phew. Done.
"When I typed in "West Coast Writers' Retreats," Taos appeared, a well as Santa Fe and Seattle. Then the search took a leap to Ireland...and a writers' workshop on the southwest coast of the Beara Peninsula and a place named Anam Cara."
"Driving from Denver to Los Angeles with my first husband and baby son in 1973, I wanted to enjoy parts of the country I'd never experienced. Tiredness interfered with that often, sending me into uneasy dozes as Richard drove and Lyle sang with the radio, banging out time on his carseat. And so, only one sight has really stayed with me for all these years: Zion National Park in Utah."
You can read the winners of our Fall 2017 Essay contest here! Thanks to all who submitted writing to the contest, we received so many powerful and beautifully written entries. We are grateful for the wisdom and insight of our contest judge, Melissa Faliveno, and hope you will enjoy reading her selections.
Suzanne Cottrell writes about a chance stop at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Idaho, "We’d never heard of it. Well, it was on our way, we had time, and we enjoyed family adventures—so why not stop?" The impulse adventure led to wonder, adventure, and discovery. Click here to read more!
Read Rachel Attias' ruminative essay on how a four month long cross country road trip and a journey to the Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park changed her life. "You need to stop thinking so hard and either enjoy the drive or jump out of the car immediately."
The Santa Clara Valley, better known by its modern nickname "Silicon Valley," was once also considered the “Valley of Heart’s Delight,” due to its abundance of wheat and produce, particularly pears, apricots, French plums (prunes), tomatoes, flowers, and grapes. The region is both agriculturally robust and scenic, home to a wealth of state parks that protect ancient old growth redwoods, and municipal parks with steep, rocky chaparral and riparian corridors
Read Patrick D Hahn's elegant recollection of eagle sightings at the Conowingo Hydroelectric Generating Station and dam in Maryland, one of the greatest places in all of North America for closeup views of the national bird, the bald eagle. Click here to explore more with Patrick and us!
Shared public lands, or what you might commonly refer to as national parks, forests, and conservation areas, provide the perfect opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature with your pooch. If you’re bringing your pet along, however, there are several things to prepare for, including safe bedding and having a plan in place for injuries -- not to mention finding a park that is four-paw friendly. Find out more in Aurora's guest post by clicking here!