The Journey of Two Lifetimes

"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."

Explore more with writer Kathleen Hayes Phillips in her exquisite essay, "The Journey of Two Lifetimes." Click here to read the full essay.

Inspiration from Zion

By Laura L Mays Hoopes

"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."

Continue with Hoopes in California by clicking here to read all of "Inspiration from Zion."

Timeless Land

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!

Adventure in the 'Valley of Hearts Delight': Silicon Valley for the Outdoor Enthusiast

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. San Jose is an hour from Pinnacles National Park and Monterey, and 45 minutes from the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay Wildlife Refuge, where millions of migrating birds pass through along the Pacific Flyway, is one half hour north. East San Jose overlooks the foothills of the Diablo Range and is home to the first municipal park in the state of California, Alum Rock Park. At Big Basin State Park, find the largest continuous stand of ancient coastal redwoods south of San Francisco.

We’ve created this guide to a few of the region’s gems, click here to find out more!

(2.9 UPDATE!) 9 Things to Know About Federal Public Lands Now that the Government Has Shut Down


UPDATES: From 2.9: The shutdown is over, for now. The government is funded through March 23rd, we'll keep this page going as we may yet have a need for this info in case a long term funding deal isn't reached by then.

1. Most National Park Service lands will remain open but unstaffed. Any portion that requires services (campgrounds, visitor centers, bathrooms, EMS/Fire, etc) will be closed. Risky, dangerous, and sensitive areas will also be closed. If any portion of a park (including the full park, in some cases) is shut and locked during off-business hours, it will be closed during the shutdown. NPS campgrounds are a different matter with this being the official word from the Department of the Interior "The NPS will cease providing services for NPS operated campgrounds, including maintenance, janitorial, bathrooms, showers, check-in/check-out and reservations. Visitors in campgrounds will not be asked to leave but should be advised that no services will be available. In addition, visitors holding campground reservations for a later date will be advised that the NPS is not operating campgrounds, including providing check-in/check-out s ervices during a shutdown. There is no guarantee their reserved campsite will be ready and available should they arrive during a government shutdown"

2. NPS employees will be on furlough, with no access to phones, websites, or social media accounts.

3. The fate of is clear, it is now down and not accessible for new reservations or modification of existing reservations. Anyone who has a reservation that falls within the shutdown calendar will receive a full refund. Other NPS sites, such as, the individual parks sites and other federal public lands websites (like Fish & Wildlife) remain online but clearly, they will not be updated as the employees are on furlough.

 Zion National Park, photo by Amy Beth Wright.

Zion National Park, photo by Amy Beth Wright.

4. No new backcountry permits will be issued.

5. Open air monuments, like the World War Two Memorial, will remain accessible to the public though they will not be staffed.

6. National Wildlife Refuges look to stay open, but with no services (visitor centers, bathrooms, EMS/Fire, etc) Refuges that allow overnight camping and boon-docking, appear at this point, to require those campers to leave with two days notice, in theory 12:01 AM Monday.

 North Cascades National Park, photo by Derek Wright.

North Cascades National Park, photo by Derek Wright.

7. National Forest facilities will be closed. Campsites are closed. All campers must leave with two days notice. Major roads that run through National Forests will remain open, though services such as snow removal will cease.

8. While the possibility is highly remote, as nearly all federal employees are furloughed, you could be subject to possible law enforcement action if found on closed federal land.

9. State and local parks will remain open! There are some great options out there, explore more and find your park.

Read more from Parks & Points! Here are some suggested articles:

Banner photo by Shannon McGee / CC 2.0