National Park Service Celebrates 100 years in 2016
By Carrie “Mudfoot” Stambaugh
Happy New Year! I wish you all a joyous year filled with love, happiness and adventure.
My 2016 is shaping up to be another year full of outdoor exploration. Many of my own adventures this year are likely to take place via watercraft on the lakes, rivers and streams of Kentucky.
I’m now well into work on my second book, Paddling Kentucky, which will include detailed descriptions and maps of 40 blueways in the state. Like its predecessor Hiking Kentucky, which is due out in April, Paddling Kentucky will feature trails in every region of the Bluegrass state while providing guidance to paddlers with a range of skills.
To prepare for what I’ve dubbed “The Year of the Paddle,” I recently purchased my very first creek boat and my husband will soon pick up his new kayak from its North Carolina manufacturer. Seasoned rafters and canoeists, we’re both looking forward to expanding our paddling resume to include some mild to moderate whitewater kayaking. (Don’t worry; we will be to attending some lessons before we take on any big whitewater.)
After I wrap up that project in August, I’ve got tentative plans to do some more exploration of the American west. My six-week cross-country road trip in 2014 whetted my appetite for the vast landscapes in Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and southern California in particular.
As the summer crowds die down, I’m hoping to visit some of the National Parks, Monuments and Historic Sites I didn’t get to two years ago on two separate trips. 2016 will be a particularly memorable year to visit NP lands.
The National Park Service will celebrate its 100th Anniversary on Aug. 25, 2016, and many areas will offer discounted or waived entry fees, along with special programs and other activities. All Americans should be proud they live in a nation that had the foresight to set aside so many natural treasures for the public to enjoy.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary, which the NPS also sees as a kick off the “next century of stewardship” the park service has launched its Find Your Park Campaign, which utilizes its website and social media platforms via #FindYourPark to connect visitors, supporters and advocates. If you haven’t found your park, I suggest you log on to FindYourPark.com and then get busy visiting some of the more than 407 parks, landmarks and monuments across the country.
We have two fantastic parks in our own backyard – Cumberland Gap National Park and Mammoth Cave National Park. Both offer a range of activities in all seasons. If you haven’t visited them both, I suggest you plan a visit.
Mammoth Cave is especially nice to visit in the winter, as crowds are significantly smaller. The best thing about a cave tour in the winter too is regardless of what the weather is on the surface the cave is dry and the temperature stays fairly stable at around 54 degrees!
Mammoth Cave operates a reduced schedule of cave tours between November and March, but offers a range of tours from 75 minutes to 2.5 hours on weekdays along with a special 6-hour wild cave tour on weekends.
What are you waiting for? Plan you visit today!
One final note, in celebration of the National Park’s 100th Anniversary, I encourage all Americans to consider giving the park service a birthday present.
In recent years, however, like so many other national programs, the NPS has suffered from spending cuts and the encroachment of development. As a proud and longtime supporter of both the National Park Foundation and the National Parks Conservation Association, I encourage others to give financially to either of these reputable charitable organizations, which both advocate for the protection and enhancement of national parks.
Celebrate our national heritage and help ensure future generations can enjoy it too!
Visit www.CarrieStambaugh.com to learn more about the author and to read about more of Mudfoot’s Meanderings. Mudfoot’s Meanderings is published monthly in The Greater Ashland Beacon.