National Park Summer Escapes

Memorial Day is but a memory, the summer travel season is upon us, and many RVers are planning their annual getaway. For more than a few, that will mean a summertime visit to one of America’s national parks, which continue to be favorite destinations with RVers everywhere.

Bryce Canyon's limestone has eroded into rock fins and spectacularly-shaped spires called hoodoos. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The National Parks are natural treasures and are cared for by the National Park Service. If you have not traveled to iconic places like Bryce, Arches, Zion, Mesa Verde, Yellowstone, and Carlsbad Caverns perhaps you should consider these “wonders” for this summer’s vacation.

Bryce is truly one of the most spectacular scenic wonders of the world. The formations within Bryce Canyon National Park, called hoodoos, are the creation of wind and water erosion over eons of time. Iron oxidizing within the rock causes the natural orange and red hues that color these formations.

Arches National Park is a geological wonderland and one of Utah’s most accessible parks. The extraordinary features of the park create a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms, and textures that is unlike any other in the world. An awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations dot its landscape.

Zion National Park is known for its majestic towering rock mountains which rise to awe-inspiring heights. Zion is a lush green oasis, surrounded by startling sentinels of stone. With sheer, milky-white cliffs and pristine waterfalls, Zion is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

There are approximately 600 cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Unique in the park system, Mesa Verde is the first and only park created for the protection and preservation of archaeological resources and is the only World Heritage Site in Colorado. Conde Nast Traveler chose it as the top historic monument in the world, and National Geographic Traveler chose it as one of the “50 places of a Lifetime— the World’s 50 Greatest Destinations”, in a class with the Taj Mahal and Great Wall of China.

July is National Park and Recreation Month

Since 1985, America has celebrated July as the nation’s official Park and Recreation Month. This year’s theme is “Rock Your Park!” National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and its new initiative, America’s Backyard, encourage you to show the country how parks and recreation make your life extraordinary!

Take the 5 in July Park Pledge

There are five weekends in July 2011—five Fridays, five Saturdays, and five Sundays!  Create a healthy weekend habit by getting out to a national park, state park, hiking trail, local playground or park, historic site or park, wildlife refuge, natural area, or other public recreation area every weekend.

Make your personal commitment to get outdoors by signing NRPA’s 5 in July Park Pledge.

All individuals who sign the pledge will be eligible to win a free 8GB iPod Touch by random drawing. The winner will be announced on August 12, 2011.

“According to recent studies, about one-third of Americans struggle with inactivity, obesity, and associated health challenges,” said NRPA CEO Barbara Tulipane. “Now is time for change. Through Park and Recreation Month, we’re encouraging Americans to get out, get active, and get healthy. By signing our Five in July Park Pledge, citizens can become a real part of the movement toward wellness.”

“Rock Your Park” Flash Mob Contest

To spread the word and demonstrate the power of parks and recreation, NRPA is hosting a national “Rock Your Park” Flash Mob Contest. Citizens are encouraged to put together a group of people and show the power of parks together in Flash Mob form.

A flash mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, and perform an unusual act for a brief time, often for the purposes of entertainment and/or satire. First attempted in 2003, Flash Mobs have become an internet phenomenon.

July Social Media Project

Also, NRPA is hosting its second annual July Social Media Project. Individuals are encouraged to take photos with the official “Rock Your Park” social media sign and post them on their favorite social media sites.


National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA)

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation, and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 20,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources.

America’s Backyard

Take the Five in July Pledge

“Rock Your Park” Flash Mob Contest

Worth Pondering…
National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.

—Wallace Stegner, 1983

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