MapQuest Launches Web-based Guide for National Park Week

National Parks Week 2012 is April 21 to 29, and the National Park Service has joined forces with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, to offer free admission to all 397 national parks.

To coincide with the week-long celebration, MapQuest has launched a web-based guide to the natural wonders of the National Parks.

The new guide contains detailed descriptions of 58 major destinations, plus tips on where to enjoy popular activities, wildlife, and learn about park history.

Select MapQuest park entries also feature vivid HD video, eye-catching photography, and special insiders’ commentary by park rangers.

MapQuest National Parks

The MapQuest team is a collection of adventure seekers, backcountry hikers, photography enthusiasts, and family road trippers.

America’s national parks hold a dear place “in our hearts as an amazing collection of destinations preserving some of our nation’s most treasured natural, cultural, and historical resources. We want to share that passion with you in MapQuest National Parks.”

As you explore this site, “we hope you will experience the same awe and wonder at the incredible vistas, stunning natural features, and incredibly preserved history that inspired us as we created this project.”

With park rangers as your guide, explore six of the most visited parks by video:

  • Yellowstone
  • Yosemite
  • Rocky Mountain
  • Grand Teton
  • Grand Canyon
  • Great Smoky Mountains

And enjoy the feature photography by QT Luong, a world-renowned nature and adventure photographer who captured riveting images in all 58 national parks.

“We hope this project will bring inspiration as you make your travel plans for summer and beyond. National Parks Week, coming up April 21-29, is a great opportunity to get out and experience the national parks around the country free of charge. We wish you happy and safe travels!”

Website: parks.mapquest.com

Arches National Park: A Sample

Arches National Park is home to more than 2,000 sandstone arches, natural bridges, towers, rock fins, and other awesome formations. You’ll want to take in its wonders, hike its scenic trails, and explore its canyons.

From ancestral foraging and hunting grounds, to rugged frontier, to tourism hot spot, Arches has shared a variety of special relationships with humans throughout its history. In the last century, the citizens of nearby Moab have worked to promote the park not only as a symbol of the city, but also of Utah itself.

Delicate Arch, the most widely-recognized landmark in the park, has appeared on Utah’s license plates and postage stamps. Interestingly, it and many more of the park’s famous sightseeing spots were not included in its original land grant, when it was founded as Arches National Monument in 1929.

However, expansions of the park’s territory protect more than its iconic rock features — Arches National Park’s delicate, intricate ecosystems are home to an abundance of specially adapted wildlife, including some species on the road to recovery.

Arches National Park (Source: parks.mapquest.com)

Facilities at the park are somewhat limited.

If you’re looking to camp in Arches, it’s advisable to make a reservation.

Additional RV parks and amenities can be found in and around Moab.

Park Information and Details

Located in Utah

Established: 11/12/1971 (36 of 58)

Size: 76,678.98 (43 of 58)

Visitation in 2011: 1,040,749 (17 of 58)

Worth Pondering…

Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
— John Muir

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