A State of Mind: Texas Hill Country

The Hill Country rises out of south-central Texas like an island out of a vast ocean. A large area of rolling hills and valleys with limestone canyons, clear-water rivers, and a few scattered small towns, the Hill Country is quite densely wooded. Prepare to be amazed.

Hanger on LBJ Ranh with Air Force One. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Hanger on LBJ Ranh with Air Force One. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Ideally situated off I-10 near Kerrville, Buckhorn Lake RV Resort is a perfect base from which to explore this wonderland of scenic vistas, oak-covered hills, rocky outcroppings, and streams.

Located in the heart of Texas Hill Country, Buckhorn Lake Resort is just an hour drive from San Antonio. Each pad site is designed with large coaches in mind—they include widely paved pull-through sites and roads.

After arriving at Buckhorn Lake RV Resort we unhooked our dinghy and after setting up camp we ventured out.

In an earlier post on Vogel Talks RV, we explored Fredericksburg and the nearby Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park, Wildseed Farms, and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. In today’s post, we return to Fredericksburg and explore further afield including a detour or two.

The most famous detour of all is Luckenbach, population 25, reached by driving six miles east of town on U.S. 290, then turning south (right) on Ranch Road 1376; continue on this little road about four miles till you see signs. If you cross the creek, you’ve gone too far—maybe it’s time to stop and ask directions, as signs to Luckenbach just don’t last long, thanks to souvenir hunters.

These days Luckenbach, Texas is, to paraphrase John Steinbeck, a “State of Mind”—A Texas state of mind, where you can kick back, relax, and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life—like a step back in time.

The Texas White House is open for public tours including the President's Office, living room, dining room, and the Johnsons' bedroom suites. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Texas White House is open for public tours including the President’s Office, living room, dining room, and the Johnsons’ bedroom suites. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In 1849, a general store opened in Luckenbach, a town made famous by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson’s 1973 classic country hit, “Luckenbach Texas-Back to the Basics”. The store is still there with a bar, a dance hall for special events, and “prit near always” a jam session playing. Sometimes country stars make impromptu appearances, or there may be an armadillo race or horseshoe tournament going on.

Also nearby, east of Fredericksburg on Highway 290, is the not-to-be-missed Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. The LBJ Ranch is in the heart of the Hill Country on the banks of the Pedernales River.

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park tells the story of America’s 36th President beginning with his ancestors until his final resting place on his beloved LBJ Ranch. This entire “circle of life” gives the visitor a unique perspective into one of America’s most noteworthy citizens by providing the most complete picture of any American president.

Visitors are now able to tour the Ranch at their own pace in their private vehicle with the ability to stop at sites along the way such as the President’s birthplace, Johnson family cemetery, and the Johnson’s ranch house known as the Texas White House.

The park has four miles of river frontage and is located in the middle of a nine-mile stretch of the Guadalupe River. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The park has four miles of river frontage and is located in the middle of a nine-mile stretch of the Guadalupe River. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

We’d become so absorbed in history during our visit to Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park that we truly welcomed the natural serenity of Guadalupe River State Park.

The park has four miles of river frontage and is located in the middle of a nine-mile stretch of the Guadalupe River. Flanked by two steep pastel limestone bluffs and towering bald cypress trees, the setting couldn’t be more inviting for swimming, wading, or just relaxing.

Countless springs and tributaries feed the free-flowing Upper Guadalupe, and by the time the river carves a winding path through the state park, it carries ample water for canoeing, kayaking, rafting, tubing, swimming, and angling. The four sets of gentle rapids are especially popular with tubers.

The park is unique in the state park system in that it shares a boundary with a state natural area. Together, the 1,938-acre state park and adjoining 2,294-acre Honey Creek State Natural Area comprise more than 4,200 contiguous acres of Hill Country habitat. Access to the state natural area is by guided naturalist tour only.

There’s so much more to Guadalupe River State Park than just a good swimming hole. The state park abounds with hiking trails that traverse the park’s upland forests, grassland savannahs, and riparian zones. Hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrian riders have access to more than five miles of multiuse trails that crisscross the uplands in a looping, figure-8 pattern.

I love the lofty bald cypress trees that line the Guadalupe. Their gnarly roots clutch the riverbanks, and they tower above all else. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
I love the lofty bald cypress trees that line the Guadalupe. Their gnarly roots clutch the riverbanks, and they tower above all else. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

For RVers wishing to stay overnight or longer, the park provides great camping facilities.

Texas Spoken Friendly

Worth Pondering…

I am humbled by the forces of nature that continuously -mold our great state of Texas into a beautiful landscape complete with geological diversity, flora and fauna. It is my goal as a photographer to capture that natural beauty and share it with others.

—Chase A. Fountain

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Head For the Hills: Texas Hill Country

Imagine hills, soft and scrubby, green valleys, and limestone cliffs.

Settled in the 1850s by immigrants from the Old Country, Fredericksburg retains much of its Germanic influence through shop and restaurant themes, seasonal festivals including the annual Oktoberfest with its oom-pahs, polkas, and bratwurst. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Settled in the 1850s by immigrants from the Old Country, Fredericksburg retains much of its Germanic influence through shop and restaurant themes, seasonal festivals including the annual Oktoberfest with its oom-pahs, polkas, and bratwurst. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Conjure up ranches and communities of German heritage, wineries, fields of wildflowers, and sparkling rivers lined with cypress and oak.

Ah, the Texas Hill Country. To some it is the state’s greatest natural resource.

No big cities, no hustle and bustle. Just cafes with country cooking, water for fishing and inner tubing, and old places with timeworn comfort.

Yes, it’s easy to feel at home in the Texas Hill Country.

The Hill Country rises out of south-central Texas like an island out of a vast ocean. A large area of rolling hills and valleys with limestone canyons, clear-water rivers, and a few scattered small towns, the Hill Country is quite densely wooded. Prepare to be amazed.

Ideally situated off I-10 near Kerrville, Buckhorn Lake RV Resort is a perfect base from which to explore this wonderland of scenic vistas, oak-covered hills, rocky outcroppings, and streams.

Located in the heart of Texas Hill Country, Buckhorn Lake Resort is just an hour drive from San Antonio. Each pad site is designed with large coaches in mind—they include widely paved pull-through sites and roads.

History comes alive at the Admiral Nimitz State Historic Site and National Museum of the Pacific War. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
History comes alive at the Admiral Nimitz State Historic Site and National Museum of the Pacific War. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The resort also features an 8,000-square-foot red barn. The facility that not only hosts year-round activities sponsored by Buckhorn but also can be rented for other events. Other amenities include trash pick-up, a dog park, pools, and a fitness center.

Trading the customary Howdy! for Willkommen!, we headed to Fredericksburg, just 30 minutes northeast of Buckhorn Lake, a community that celebrates it German heritage. Settled in the 1850s by immigrants from the Old Country, the town retains much of its Germanic influence through shop and restaurant themes, seasonal festivals including the annual Oktoberfest with its oom-pahs, polkas, and bratwurst.

The Marktplatz in the center of town commemorates the peace treaty between the German settler and Comanche Nation. The treaty is thought to be the only one with Native Americans never broken.

Don’t leave Fredericksburg without a visit to the emotionally powerful Admiral Nimitz State Historic Site and National Museum of the Pacific War. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief in the Pacific during WWII, grew up in Fredericksburg. The museum covers eight acres and includes a Garden of Peace—a gift from the people of Japan.

Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park offers scenic paths, outdoor recreation, and 98 RV campsites. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park offers scenic paths, outdoor recreation, and 98 RV campsites. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Pioneer Museum Complex is also located in Fredericksburg, telling the story of the mid-1800s German settlers. Open year-round, a four-acre museum community complex includes a home, a store, a smokehouse, a log cabin, and a bathhouse.

On the southwest edge of Fredericksburg, 340-acre Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park offers scenic paths, outdoor recreation, and 98 RV campsites with 50/30-amp electric service, water, sewer, and WiFi. The park’s Live Oak Wilderness Trail, a mile-long stretch on 10 creek-side acres, features a bird-watching station and a butterfly area.

Fredericksburg is also at the center of the Hill Country wildflower scene, best witnessed during the spring months of April and May, but there’s a nearly year-round floral bonanza to be found at Wildseed Farms, seven miles east of town. This the largest working wildflower farm in the world, where flowers are grown in endless rows for seed.

Sure, we love Fredericksburg, with its quaint Main Street and antique shops, biergartens, and bakeries. But after we’ve gorged on apfelstrudel to our heart’s content, it’s time to brush off the crumbs and open up our trail map.

Our enchantment with the area continued when we drove onto Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, 20 miles north of Fredericksburg. This 1,643-acre park is dominated by a 70-acre dome of pink granite that rises 425 feet above the bed of Sandy Creek, 1825 feet above sea level. One of the largest batholiths (an underground rock formation uncovered by erosion) in the US, Enchanted Rock is surrounded by oak woodlands as far as the eye can see.

Wildseed Farms is the largest working wildflower farm in the world, where flowers are grown in endless rows for seed. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Wildseed Farms is the largest working wildflower farm in the world, where flowers are grown in endless rows for seed. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

With two main trails from which to choose, this is a great place to stretch your legs. The view from the top is worth the climb.

The Hill Country offers many other getaway options. Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. The towns of Boerne and Comfort, New Braunfels and Gruene, Dripping Springs and Marble Falls, and Bandera, the “Cowboy Capital of the World”.

Oh yes, and Luckenbach.

And these my friends, are the subject of another post.

Worth Pondering…

I am humbled by the forces of nature that continuously -mold our great state of Texas into a beautiful landscape complete with geological diversity, flora and fauna. It is my goal as a photographer to capture that natural beauty and share it with others.

—Chase A. Fountain

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Visiting LBJ Ranch

The Hill Country rises out of south-central Texas like an island out of a vast ocean.

The Texas White House is open for public tours including the President's Office, living room, dining room, and the Johnsons' bedroom suites. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Texas White House is open for public tours including the President’s Office, living room, dining room, and the Johnsons’ bedroom suites. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

East of Fredericksburg on Highway 290, is the not-to-be-missed complex of Lyndon B. Johnson historical parks. Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park has two distinct visitor areas separated by 14 miles.

The LBJ Ranch is in the heart of the Hill Country on the banks of the Pedernales River.

Operated jointly by Texas Parks and Wildlife and the National Park Service, the LBJ Ranch in Stonewall and the Boyhood Home and Johnston Settlement in Johnson City constitute a remarkable historic preservation.

In Johnson City you will find the National Park Visitor Center, Boyhood Home in which President Johnson spent his childhood, and the Johnson Settlement where the President’s grandparents first settled in the 1860s.

Junction School, the one-room schoolhouse where LBJ learned to read. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Junction School, the one-room schoolhouse where LBJ learned to read. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park tells the story of America’s 36th President beginning with his ancestors until his final resting place on his beloved LBJ Ranch. This entire “circle of life” gives the visitor a unique perspective into one of America’s most noteworthy citizens by providing the most complete picture of any American president.

Between the day he became president in November 1963, and the day he left the White House five years later, Lyndon Johnson returned to the Hill Country 74 times.

President Johnson had a deep attachment for place and heritage. The LBJ Ranch was where he was born, lived, died, and was buried. In 1972, the Johnsons donated their home and 690 acres for a national park. After the President’s death in 1973 at age 64, Lady Bird Johnson continued to live at the Ranch part time until her death in 2007.

Visitors are now able to tour the Ranch at their own pace in their private vehicle with the ability to stop at sites along the way such as the President’s birthplace, Johnson family cemetery, and the Johnson’s ranch house known as the Texas White House.

Hanger on LBJ Ranh with Air Force One. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Hanger on LBJ Ranh with Air Force One. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Obtain a free driving permit at the LBJ State Park and Historic Site Visitor Center in Stonewall. You will also receive a ranch map indicating the tour route. No Permits are given out after 4:00 p.m. A CD containing narrative audio for the tour is available for purchase in the bookstore and comes with a bonus DVD filled with videos and photos.

Then, just like LBJ did over 50 years ago in his white Lincoln Continental, drive through the main gate—but not as fast as the heavy-footed president liked to speed through himself.

After leaving the visitor center, continue to Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm, where visitors can see how the Johnson family’s German-Texan neighbors lived.

After touring Sauer-Beckmann head for Ranch Road 1 along the Pedernales River. The right guardhouse on the left, once manned by uniformed Secret Service agents, marks the previous low-water crossing on the ranch.

As part of the self-guided Ranch Tour, you may stop at the Texas White House for a ranger-guided tour.

You’ll see Junction School, the one-room schoolhouse where Johnson learned to read; the reconstructed LBJ birthplace, and the Johnson family cemetery, here generations of the Johnson family are buried, including the president. You’ll also see the ranch house, known during the Johnson presidency as the “Texas White House”.

This is MY ranch and I do as I please! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
This is MY ranch and I do as I please! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Once you arrive at the Texas White House, obtain a ticket for a house tour at the Airplane Hangar. House tour fee for ages 18 and older is $3.00.

The Texas White House was officially opened to the public on August 27, 2008. The entire ground floor is available for public tours. Rooms on the tour include the President’s Office, living room, dining room, and the Johnsons’ bedroom suites. The majority of rooms have been restored to their appearance during the presidential years (1963-1968) while the bedroom suites retain their appearance at the time of President and Mrs. Johnson’s deaths.

A few miles east is Johnson City, named after LBJ’s family. Here, there’s more fine historic preservation, including Johnson’s boyhood home and the Johnson settlement, featuring several 1800s barns and cabins, an old windmill, and a water tank and cooler house.

Texas Spoken Friendly

Worth Pondering…

There’s something different about this country from any other part of the nation.

The climate is generally pleasant.

The sun is generally bright.

The air seems to be always clean.

And the water is pure.

The moons are a little fuller here.

The stars are a little brighter.

And I don’t how to describe the feelings other than I guess we all search at times for serenity.

And it’s serene here.

—Lyndon Baines Johnson

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A Texas State Of Mind

Texas is big, beautiful, and diverse.

Visitors are now able to tour the Ranch at their own pace in their private vehicle with the ability to stop at sites along the way such as the President's birthplace, Johnson family cemetery, and the Johnson's ranch house known as the Texas White House. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Visitors are now able to tour the Ranch at their own pace in their private vehicle with the ability to stop at sites along the way such as the President’s birthplace, Johnson family cemetery, and the Johnson’s ranch house known as the Texas White House. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

So much has been said about Texas—its sunny seacoast to mile-high mountains, dense forests to cactus-studded desert, great cities to small villages and towns, rich and diverse history, and the hallowed Shrine that represents her birthplace.

In a state as diverse as Texas, there’s always an adventure around every corner and unique attractions at every turn.

Our Texas RV Travel Bucket List continues.

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park tells the story of America’s 36th President beginning with his ancestors until his final resting place on his beloved LBJ Ranch. This entire “circle of life” gives the visitor a unique perspective into one of America’s most noteworthy citizens by providing the most complete picture of any American president.

President Johnson had a deep attachment for place and heritage. The LBJ Ranch was where he was born, lived, died, and was buried. After the President’s death in 1973, Mrs. Johnson continued to live at the Ranch part time until her death in 2007.

Visitors are now able to tour the Ranch at their own pace in their private vehicle with the ability to stop at sites along the way such as the President’s birthplace, Johnson family cemetery, and the Johnson’s ranch house known as the Texas White House.

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park has two distinct visitor areas separated by 14 miles.

In Johnson City you will find the National Park Visitor Center, Boyhood Home in which President Johnson spent his childhood, and the Johnson Settlement where the President’s grandparents first settled in the 1860s.

Today, King Ranch is designated a National Historic Landmark and is historically recognized as the birthplace of the American ranching industry. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Today, King Ranch is designated a National Historic Landmark and is historically recognized as the birthplace of the American ranching industry. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

King Ranch

The name of Kingsville and King Ranch are thought of synonymously and with good reason. Kingsville is located on part of a Mexican land grant purchased by Captain Richard King in 1853. It was the beginning of a dream to tame the Wild Horse Desert. His widow, Henrietta, continued that pursuit for forty years following his death. Among her many achievements was the founding of Kingsville in 1904, a raw town site in the middle of the prairie, situated along the St. Louis, Brownsville, and Mexico railway route.

The Santa Gertudis breed of cattle originated here, and the ranch was home to the first registered American quarter horse.

Today, King Ranch is designated a National Historic Landmark and is historically recognized as the birthplace of the American ranching industry. The four South Texas divisions sprawl across nearly a million acres of Gulf of Mexico coastal plains.

Santa Gertudis and King Ranch Santa Cruz breeds of cattle, Quarter horses, majestic Texas Longhorn cattle, and a rich diversity of native wildlife welcome visitors during one of the variety of tours offered to public. Tours originate from the Visitor Center on the Santa Gertudis Division, just minutes from downtown Kingsville.

Special interest tours that include wildlife, birding, and agriculture are available by reservation.

La Brisa Mexican Bar & Grill

When you’re in the Kemah/Seabrook area south of Houston and have a craving for excellent authentic Mexican food and great margaritas, try La Brisa. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
When you’re in the Kemah/Seabrook area south of Houston and have a craving for excellent authentic Mexican food and great margaritas, try La Brisa. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When you’re in the Kemah/Seabrook area south of Houston and have a craving for excellent authentic Mexican food and great margaritas, try La Brisa. It’s a short drive just down Highway 146 south from Kemah, towards Bacliff.

The happy hour margaritas are only $2.00. You won’t find better food in the entire Clearlake area. It’s one of the best places to get the real thing. Great prices and prompt service! The food comes in huge portions.

The only drawback is the shortage of parking. Well, there’s actually a lot of parking, but there’s a lot of cars there all the time.

I love their red salsa as well as the green, guacamole salsa that they serve with warm chips at your table. I ordered their shrimp enchiladas, which was outstanding.

Texas Spoken Friendly

Please Note: This is part 9 of an on-going series on our Texas Bucket List

Worth Pondering…

I think Texans have more fun than the rest of the world.

—Choreographer (and Wichita Falls native) Tommy Tune

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2012 National Parks Fall Foliage Guide

As summer comes to a close, the bright blues and greens that characterize the sunshiny season are replaced by a deeper, more vibrant palette.

But there are so many destinations to choose from, each with their own unique rainbow of fall colors.

The National Park Foundation (NPF) wants you to get outdoors and enjoy one of nature’s most spectacular seasons in your national parks.

In announcing the 2012 National Parks Fall Foliage Guide the NPF says, “These parks boast exceptional fall colors, however they represent only a few of the national park sites where foliage lovers can enjoy the spectacular spectrum of the season’s palette.”

The list below includes information on region-specific flora as well as estimated timing on the peak of their colors:

Nez Perce National Historical Park (Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington)

Peak foliage times range across the rivers, canyons, prairies, and mountains of this park which overlaps four states. The short-grass prairies of White Bird Battlefield (ID) and Spalding (ID) peak around mid to late October.  The plains and plateaus of the sagebrush steppe eco-region include a site called Buffalo Eddy (WA) where fall foliage also peaks around mid to late October.

Steamtown National Historic Site (Pennsylvania)

Board one of Steamtown National Historic Site’s special fall excursion runs through this brilliant countryside and you can feast your eyes on the colors of the season in the comfort of a coach. (Source: NPS)

Take a ride back in time on a 1920s era passenger car, with either a 1917-built steam or historic diesel-powered locomotive, to combine a view of the autumn scenery with the history of railroading. Peak is estimated to be October 7-20.

Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (New York)

Visit the site of Theodore Roosevelt’s home around mid-October to see the changing colors of oak-tulip tree, hickory, and copper beech. Sagamore Hill Day, a Fall Family Festival giving tribute to the agricultural heritage of the site, is conveniently planned for October 20 which is also Theodore Roosevelt’s 154th birthday!

St. Croix National Scenic Riverway (Wisconsin, Minnesota)

The St. Croix and Namekagon rivers create a 255-mile corridor with a variety of color from one end to the other, including maple, aspen, oak, and birch trees. Visit this park soon, as leaves are changing quickly, with peak colors from now through mid-October.

Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky) 

Foliage at this park includes the changing colors of black gum, poison ivy, and dogwood, peaking from mid to late October. Join the Friends of Mammoth Cave for a Walk-In-The-Park on October 6, and choose one of three different walks that are sure to suit your interests and abilities while allowing the perfect opportunity to support the park and view a variety of fall colors.

Vicksburg National Military Park (Mississippi) 

The location of a critical battle in the Civil War, this park has a brief period of fall foliage, usually lasting from mid-October through mid-November. Visitors can see changes in the hickory, pecan, and black walnut trees, among many others. Plan a visit around October 27, and the kids can participate in a “Shape Up, Junior Ranger Owl Discovery Walk.” This 1-mile walk teaches more about the park’s nighttime creatures, and is the perfect chance to test out this year’s Halloween costume.

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park (Texas) 

For a fantastic foliage tour, start with a drive through the LBJ Ranch and tour the Texas White House. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Located in the Hill Country of Texas, leaves at this park change from mid-October through the end of November. The sumac, oaks, and haw holly add bursts of fall colors, while the pecans cover the ground and the purple flowers of the gay feather herb enhance the color palette and autumn atmosphere. For a fantastic foliage tour, start with a drive through the LBJ Ranch and tour the Texas White House. Make your way into Johnson City to visit the Boyhood Home and finish out your tour with a walk down the nature trail to the Johnson Settlement and the 1960s cabin and barns.

Flight 93 National Memorial (Pennsylvania)

This national memorial, dedicated to the brave passengers and crew of Flight 93 who fought back against terrorism on September 11, 2001, encompasses 2,200 acres of rolling hills, wild flowers, wetlands, and old-growth and newly planted trees.  Once a coal mine, this location has experienced a breathtaking rebirth as a place of national honor and reflection.  Peak viewing times span early to mid-October, but if you can’t get there in person, you can enjoy the foliage from the park’s live webcam.

Timeless in simplicity and beauty,
like its landscape, both stark and serene,
the Memorial should be quiet in reverence,
yet powerful in form,
a place both solemn and uplifting.
Paul Murdoch, Architect
(Source: NPS)

Several factors affect the intensity of fall shades at each park including moisture, temperature, and length of sunlight exposure. Visitors are strongly encouraged to contact parks directly for specific information on seasonal events and optimal viewing periods.

Details

National Park Foundation (NPF)

You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites—all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks. Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks.

NPF works hand in hand with the National Park Service to connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow.

Website: nationalparks.org

Share the Experience

With its breathtaking colors, autumn is also the perfect time to photograph nature’s beauty and the national parks can provide infinite inspiration. Amateur photographers are invited to submit their photos to the 12th annual Share the Experience photography contest for the chance to have their image selected for use on the America the Beautiful Federal Recreation Lands Pass.

Share the Experience entries will be accepted through December 31, 2012. For a complete list of rules and prizes as well as submit your photos, check the website below.

Share the Experience is the official photo contest of America’s national parks and federal recreation lands. Sponsored by Active Network, Destination America, Historic Hotels of America, and the National Park Foundation in partnership with the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service, the Share the Experience Photo Contest showcases the more than 500 million acres of Federal Lands and draws entries from all across the United States.

Website: sharetheexperience.org

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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