Top 10 Most Visited National Parks in 2012

More than 282 million people visited America’s national parks in 2012, an increase of more than 3 million over 2011.

A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It was the sixth highest annual visitation in the history of the National Park Service, despite nearly 2 million fewer visitors as a result of park closures caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Since 1916, the National Park System has recorded more than 12 billion visits.

“The National Park Service strives to represent all that America has to offer,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

“People come to national parks for many reasons—for recreation and to learn about American history by strolling through a battlefield. They come to listen to a park ranger at Independence National Historical Park and marvel at the Continental Congress. And people come to national parks for old-fashioned enjoyment of the great outdoors.”

National parks capture the story the United States, from its earliest days to the modern era.

Jarvis said, “The dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial and the opening of the César E. Chávez National Monument in 2012 help us to continue to explore how our nation of many faces and many voices has developed.”

The challenges left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy will become part of American history, too. The storm slammed into 70 national park sites from North Carolina to Maine. Some parks closed briefly, others for weeks while the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York remain closed for repairs.

Camping at Arches National Park, Utah. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Camping at Arches National Park, Utah. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“The Statue of Liberty will reopen by the Fourth of July,” Jarvis said.

“It’ll take longer at the Ellis Island Museum. As we rebuild we keep sustainability front of mind. It is clear that our changing climate will bring more severe weather events, especially to coastal areas, and we must repair our iconic national parks to survive future storms.”

There are familiar park names in the Top 10 lists.

Gateway National Recreation Area in New York lost nearly 1.2 million visitors from 2011 because of Hurricane Sandy yet still made the Top 10 list of most visited National Park Service sites.

Most Visited Places of the National Park System (2012)

1. Blue Ridge Parkway (15,205,059)

2. Golden Gate National Recreation Area (14,540,338)

3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (9,685,829)

4. George Washington Memorial Parkway (7,425,577)

5. Lake Mead National Recreation Area (6,285,439)

6. Lincoln Memorial (6,191,361)

7. Natchez Trace Parkway (5,560,668)

8. Gateway National Recreation Area (5,043,863)

9. Gulf Islands National Seashore (4,973,462)

10.  Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (4,970,802)

Most Visited National Parks (2012)

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (9,685,829)

2. Grand Canyon National Park (4,421,352)

3. Yosemite National Park (3,853,404)

4. Yellowstone National Park (3,447,729)

5. Rocky Mountain National Park (3,229,617)

6. Zion National Park (2,973,607)

7. Olympic National Park (2,824,908)

8. Grand Teton National Park (2,705,256)

9. Acadia National Park (2,431,052)

10. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (2,299,722)

The Saguaro National Park Eastern Rincon Mountain District rises to over 8,000 feet and includes over 128 miles of trails. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Saguaro National Park Eastern Rincon Mountain District rises to over 8,000 feet and includes over 128 miles of trails. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Details

National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics

National Park Service sites receive approximately 280 million visitors each year.

Historic and current visitor use statistics are available for 374 of the nearly 400 units included in the National Park System. (Statistics are not available for some areas; for example, those with joint administration of federal and non-federal lands.)

Website: irma.nps.gov/Stats

National Park Service

Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, the park service is proud to safeguard these special places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year.

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.

Website: nps.gov

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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Get To Know Your Parks during National Park Week

Each spring the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, invite everyone to celebrate National Park Week.

NPW_DENA_DiscoveryCamp_NPS-Nathan-Kostegian_520px_3This year, from April 20–28, YOU are invited to get to know your national parks.

All national park entrance fees will be waived from Monday, April 22 to Friday, April 26 to encourage citizens to enjoy unique outdoor experiences as part of the annual National Park Week supported by the National Park Foundation and National Park Service.

So, whether it is your first trip, or the latest of many memorable park experiences, there couldn’t be a better time to get out and explore.

All of America’s parks belong to YOU.

Take this opportunity to learn how you can take an active role in preserving these special places. Help pass along our country’s rich history and beautiful landscapes to the next generation.

Did you know…America’s national parks include more than:

  • 84 million acres of spectacular scenery, historic landmarks and cultural treasures
  • 17,000 miles of trails
  • 43,000 miles of shoreline
  • 27,000 historic and prehistoric structures
  • 100 million museum items
  • 12,000 campsites
  • 99 percent of counties in America have recreational facilities such as playgrounds and trails funded by the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund
Zion is home to 207 species of birds. Bird checklists are available at the visitor centers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Zion is home to 207 species of birds. Bird checklists are available at the visitor centers. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Take part in an activity during National Park Week and hike, learn, share, and give back in the nation’s 401 national parks!

So, if you are looking for something fun and fantastic to do with family and friends, head out to America’s national parks where millions of stars light up the dark night sky, deer, and antelope (and a few other critters!) play on the wide open range, and history is an unbelievable experience, not an exam.

National Park Week is the perfect opportunity to introduce a young person to a national park because a park is the perfect place to get active and stay fit.

From hiking to biking to swimming, nature walks, kayaking, or bird watching, there are great outdoor activities in national parks for visitors of all ages. By introducing kids to these majestic places, we give the gift of learning a healthy lifestyle and help guarantee the future of parks for generations to come.

You can plan your visit by what you want to do, or where you want to go … or you can browse the event calendar and check out the special programs offered that week.

On April 20, National Junior Ranger Day, parks will invite young visitors to “explore, learn, protect” and be sworn in as Junior Rangers.

April 27 is Volunteer Day, so if you want to roll up your sleeves and pitch in with a project, look for a park where you can help out.

Also, don’t forget to check out www.nationalparkweek.org. There you can share your national park photos, videos, and tips. While you’re there, learn all about the ways you can help support your national parks all year round.

Get to know one of your national parks during National Park Week.

Details

National Park Service

Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks.

With the help of volunteers and park partners, the park service is proud to safeguard these special places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year.

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites in America’s 397 national parks.

Website: nps.gov

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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Chimani Announces 5 New National Parks Mobile Apps

Chimani announces a range of products and new features to enhance national park visitors experiences while in the parks.

ChimaniLogo_tagline1The announcement coincides with the celebration of this year’s National Park Week, which runs from April 22-26.

In honor of each of the five days of National Park Week a new park app will be released for each day. The new Chimani mobile apps include Grand Teton National Park, Glacier National Park, Olympic National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, and Bryce Canyon National Park.

These, as well as all other Chimani apps, will be available for free on Apple iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon AppStore starting Monday, April 22—the first day of National Park Week.

Each app delivers constantly updated content, detailed maps, ranger-led event schedules, auto touring points of interest, hiking details, restroom locations, free shuttle bus schedules, and breaking news alerts.

Users can also view sunset and sunrise times for the most memorable scenic overlooks, access tide schedules along the coast, review lodging options, and more. Each Chimani app is designed to work without a cell phone signal.

Chimani’s Viewport Augmented Reality Tool
Chimani’s new Viewport tool—a augmented reality viewer available as a $1.99 in-app purchase—allows users to access an entirely new layer of information as part of their park experience.

Chamani_GoogleMkt“Whether it’s the South Rim of the Grand Canyon or Glacier Point in Yosemite, visitors often overlook the richness that surrounds these dramatic viewpoints,” says Kerry Gallivan, CEO/co-founder of Chimani.

“Using Chimani’s Viewport tool, visitors can pan around the scenic outlook and identify points of interest which are often left undiscovered. It is yet another Chimani tool that allows visitors to get the most of their park experience,” says Gallivan.

Cell phone signals are poor and non-existent in most national parks therefore Chimani apps are designed to function without any type of data connection. This ability also applies to the new Chimani augmented reality viewer—visitors can be in the most remote corners of a park and still discover new points of interest.

Crowd-sourced Topographic Maps
Chimani continues its innovation in mobile mapping technology for the outdoors by introducing topographic maps based on data from Openstreetmaps.org—the largest online mapping project in the world. Chimani is now able to produce rich topographic maps which are updated monthly with the most recent data available for park visitors.

“Chimani users are now able to actively contribute to the national park community and help build better geo-spatial data for each of the parks,” says Gallivan.

“A great example of this is Openstreetmaps.org’s user Tomthepom who spent the winter meticulously editing the park data within Grand Canyon. Thanks to Tom, the data found within the Chimani maps is the most detailed and up-to-date available anywhere—digital or print.”

Many visitors don’t realize how often trail data changes so having access to the latest details helps enhance the park experience.

Social-sharing using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology
For the Android versions of the apps, Chimani has introduced a beta feature of a social-sharing tool that uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to connect with other Chimani users and share contact information.

chimani1“We modeled this feature after the tradition on the Appalachian Trail of exchanging something with people that you meet on the trail,” says Gallivan.

By touching two Android phones together, the users profile is exchanged using NFC. No cell phone signal is required and when the exchange occurs within a particular park, a unique badge is unlocked between users as a bonus.

Chimani Suite of National Park Apps
The Chimani suite of national park apps include 14 of the most visited national parks in the United States. These include Acadia National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Cape Cod National Seashore, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Glacier National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Olympic National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, Zion National Park, and the National Parks app—which is a virtual passport tool for all the National Park Service units.

Each of the national park apps delivers constantly updated content, ranger-led event schedules, auto touring points of interest, hiking details, restroom locations, free shuttle bus schedules, and breaking news alerts. Users can also view sunset and sunrise times for the most memorable scenic overlooks, access tide schedules along the coast, review lodging options, and much, much more.

The Chimani apps are available for the iPhone, iPad, Amazon Kindle, and Android devices. They can be downloaded directly from Apple’s iTunes App Store, Google Play, and Amazon AppStore (keyword: “chimani”).

Details

Chimani, LLC
Located along the rocky coast of Maine, Chimani has become a leading developer of mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Chimani is comprised of a small group of developers who are passionate about helping people get the most out their outdoor adventures. Founded by Kerry Gallivan in January 2010, Chimani apps have totaled over 450,000 downloads and rank No. 1 in each of the major app marketplaces for individual parks.

Chimani home_iphones_natlparks2012Chimani is short for the Chimanimani Mountains National Park in Zimbabwe.

Phone: (207) 221-0266

Website: chimani.com

Worth Pondering…
The attraction of recreational vehicle travel is to see the country, visit new places, meet interesting people, and experience the freedom of the open road.

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2013 Fee Free Days at National Parks & Federal Lands

From sea to shining sea, the United States has some of the most breath taking national parks and scenic wonderlands. Every national park has very important significance embedded into the landscape and has been passed down for generations now and ones to come.

Whether you prefer to hike Zion (Utah), photograph the wonders of Arches (Utah), wander in the paths of the Anasazi at Aztec Ruins (New Mexico), explore the desert scenery and granite monoliths of Joshua Tree (California), or tour an ancient cave dwelling at Mesa Verde (Colorado) moving outside is good for you and offers a chance to explore these special places.

A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A powerful and inspiring landscape, Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To encourage Americans to explore America’s natural beauty, rich history, and culture, Secretary of the Department of Interior Ken Salazar announced that more than 2,000 national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and other federal lands will waive admission fees on 13 days in 2013.

“Our national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests and other public lands offer every American a place to enjoy outdoor recreation, learn about our nation’s history and culture, and restore our souls and spirits by connecting with the natural beauty and wildness of our land,” Salazar said in a news release.

“By providing free admission, we are putting out an invitation to all Americans to visit and enjoy these extraordinary treasures that belong to all our people.”

Tourism and outdoor recreation are powerful economic engines in communities across the country.

Encompassing over 1.2 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offers unparalleled opportunities for water-based & backcountry recreation. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Encompassing over 1.2 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area offers unparalleled opportunities for water-based & backcountry recreation. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Recreation on federal lands provided 440,000 jobs and contributed $55 billion to the economy in 2009. Each year, over 280 million national park visitors pump $31 billion into local economies, supporting 258,000 jobs.

“We have a fantastic network of public lands that provides world class recreational opportunities, showcases our nation’s rich and diverse history, and features some of the most incredible scenery around,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

“The fee-free days will give both first time and repeat visitors a good reason to spend time exploring these remarkable places.”

Mark your calendar for these fee-free days in 2012:

January 21: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (participating agencies: National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service)

April 22-26: National Park Week (participating agency: National Park Service)

June 8: Great Outdoors Day (participating agency: U.S. Forest Service)

August 25: National Parks Service Birthday (participating agency: National Park Service)

September 28: National Public Lands Day (participating agencies: National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service)

October 13: National Wildlife Refuge Day (participating agency: Fish & Wildlife Service)

November 9-11: Veterans Day Weekend (participating agencies: National Park Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service)

Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Arches is renown for an awe-inspiring combination of arches, cliffs, stone spires, and other dramatic rock formations. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Entry fees are actually pretty reasonable. According to the NPS website 265 of the 397 national parks NEVER charge an entrance fee.

Details

National Park Service

Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, the park service is proud to safeguard these special places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year.

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites in America’s 397 national parks.

Website: nps.gov

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

Read More

Get Outdoors with L.L.Bean during National Parks Week

During National Park Week outdoor retailer L.L.Bean is asking Americans to take advantage of free admission and visit a park.

By sharing your photos and stories online, you’ll help raise $1 million for the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, as part of the Million Moment Mission.

The Million Moment Mission is L.L.Bean’s way of celebrating a century of outdoor leadership as it helps the next generation discover their love of the outdoors in its 100th Anniversary year.

When consumers share their stories or photos of outdoor experiences online they’ll be helping to inspire someone else. To date, more than 200,000 “moments” have been shared in the year-long campaign. The program benefits the National Park Foundation’s America’s Best Idea program which brings youth from underserved communities into the parks for outdoor excursions.

Today, more than ever, families recognize the need to encourage kids to get outdoors to play, yet a recent survey shows parents still say their children spend, on average, less than an hour a day outdoors.

L.L.Bean is working to help reverse that trend through creative partnerships with organizations like the National Park Foundation. L.L.Bean offers a free park finder tool to help make it simple to find a park that suits your needs in your local area.

According to L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery School guide Greg Dorman learning the basic of outdoor recreation at a young age is the key to developing healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

“At L.L.Bean the outdoors is in our DNA,” Dorman said, “Our company founder, Leon Leonwood Bean, was the quintessential outdoorsman. He believed that spending time outdoors could add years to your life.”

To help raise awareness about the Million Moment Mission campaign and the benefits of being outdoors, the L.L.Bean Bootmobile will be traveling the country during 2012.

The 13-foot high and 20-foot long vehicle left Boston last week on a Spring/Summer tour designed to raise awareness and funds to help more children learn about and enjoy the national parks.

The Bootmobile and L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School guides will accompany the Bootmobile, providing free advice and outdoor recreation instruction. For every person who attends these events, $1 will be donated to the National Park Foundation.

While the Bootmobile is educating consumers outdoors, indoors L.L.Bean is also launching new advertising online and in movie theaters to help inspire people to get outside and explore nature this summer.

The “Discover Something” campaign features video spots of three L.L.Bean customers who tell their story of outdoor discovery and the rewards of spending time outdoors.

Steve Gadecki, one of the customers profiled in the Discover Something videos, has visited 18 national parks and hiked more than 100 mountains with his L.L.Bean backpack over 15 years.

According to Gadecki, “It’s a real sense of pride in your country when you’re standing in front of Half Dome or the majestic Sequoias. Looking down upon the Grand Canyon or hiking up the rocky coast of Acadia. Everything in your life seems to make sense and even though it was a journey to get there, you’re glad you made it. If you’ve ever thought about going, why are you waiting? Don’t hesitate. Go!”

With the theme—if you think there’s nothing left to explore, just get outside and find something new to discover—the spots are being featured in theaters nationwide and at llbean.com.

Details

L.L.Bean, Inc.

L.L.Bean, Inc. is a leading multichannel merchant of quality outdoor gear and apparel. Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, the company began as a one-room operation selling a single product, the Maine Hunting Shoe.

The 200,000 square foot L.L.Bean retail store campus in Freeport, Maine, is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and welcomes more than 3 million visitors every year.

Website: llbean.com

Worth Pondering…

Two roads diverged in a wood, and

I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

— Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

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Picture Yourself in a National Park

Picture yourself in a National Park as the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation present National Park Week 2012, April 21–29.

With nearly 400 national parks—and FREE admission all week long—there are thousands of ways to enjoy this highly anticipated annual event. In fact, National Park Week is the perfect opportunity to introduce a young person to a national park because a park is the perfect place to get active and stay fit.

From hiking to biking to swimming, nature walks, kayaking, or bird watching, there are great outdoor activities in national parks for visitors of all ages. By introducing kids to these majestic places, we give the gift of learning a healthy lifestyle and help guarantee the future of parks for generations to come.

“During National Park Week, stroll a woodland path or around the grounds of a presidential home. Kayak through a mangrove forest or on an urban waterway. All 397 national parks are great places to get some exercise while taking in spectacular scenery or learning something new,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Whether you go to a natural, historical, or recreational site, or an urban, suburban, or rural park, every national park provides a place to exercise both the body and the mind. There really is something for everyone in every national park.”

A highlight for most visitors to Capitol Reef is the scenic drive from the visitors center. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“National Park Week is the perfect time to experience all that our national parks have to offer,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation.

“It is also an invitation to join the community of national park supporters. Visit, volunteer or get involved with the Foundation or any one of the local friends groups that support our parks. Together, we can make this National Park Week one to remember.”

Following are several great ways to get some exercise and enjoy National Park Week:

  • Take a Hike: There are 18,600 miles of trails in national parks. Hit the trail for a short hike or a day-long expedition. Cross the Continental Divide on the High Line Trail in Glacier, go vertical on the Moro Rock Trail in Sequoia and Kings Canyon, or tackle a section of the Appalachian Trail. If you’d like to hike with an expert, many parks offer daily ranger-led guided tours, including the Everglades, Jean Lafitte, and Hot Springs.
  • Dive In: Enjoy 43,000 miles of national park shoreline. Walk on the beach, go for a swim, snorkel an underwater trail in the Virgin Islands, or dive the aquamarine water and fish-bejeweled coral reefs of Biscayne or the kelp forests and sea caves of Channel Islands. Or, take a canoe or kayak ride through Big Cypress to observe manatees and birds.
  • Go Underground: Travel below the surface and discover the dazzling sights found along more than 900 miles of passageways in caves. Check out Mammoth Cave—the longest cave in the world or the 14-acre Big Room in Carlsbad Caverns. If you are really adventurous, sign up for a spelunking trip.
  • Sleep under the Stars: Experience the simple pleasure of an evening campfire, sleep in the great outdoors, and wake up in some of the most beautiful surroundings in the world. Choose your setting—mountain, ocean, or even city view. The 12,000 campsites in national parks include spots in New York City and in Boston.
  • Go For a Ride: Some of the prettiest scenery you’ll ever see is along the 5,450 miles of paved road in national parks. In fact, 1,100 miles are designated parkways designed especially for sightseeing. Just be sure to get out of the car at overlooks or trailheads and stretch your legs. It’s amazing what you will find not far off the road. Wander to a waterfall at Shenandoah or meander through a meadow at Rocky Mountain. 
  • View Wildlife: National parks are the best places to view wildlife in their natural habitats. Don’t get too close but enjoy seeing everything from baby birds to two-ton bison in a park. Watch the strutting grouse perform its annual courtship dance in Grand Teton or the spring migration of grey whales at Point Reyes. Or, encounter prehistoric wildlife such as a saber tooth cat at Badlands or a Stegosaurus at Dinosaur. There are 233 national parks with preserved fossils, some which date back two billion years.
  • Take to Two Wheels: One of the most popular things to do in a park is ride a bike. You set your own pace and can easily stop to relax or take in the view when and where you want. One of the newest bike trails was recently built in New River Gorge. More than 1,400 Boy Scouts and leaders volunteered 78,544 hours to construct a 12.8-mile mountain bike trail. Other popular parks for biking include Acadia which has 45 miles of old carriage roads, Canyonlands, home of the 103-mile White Rim Road loop, and the C&O Canal and its 184-mile long towpath.

Details

Joshua Tree National Park is an amazingly diverse area of sand dunes, dry lakes, flat valleys, extraordinarily rugged mountains, granitic monoliths, and oases. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Be sure to share photos, videos, and stories from your national park travels.

The site also contains a calendar of events and plenty of information on how to visit and support national parks.
Website: nationalparkweek.org

Worth Pondering…
I only went for a walk, and finally concluded to stay till sundown, for going out I found was really going in.

—John Muir

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Chimani Celebrates National Park Week with Free Apps

Chimani, LLC announced all iOS and Android national park apps will be free in celebration of National Park Week, which runs from April 21-29.

In order to reach its goal of one million downloads the apps will be free starting immediately—plenty of time to download the apps before next week’s celebration.

The Chimani national park apps normally sell for between $4.99-$9.99 each and have an average rating of 4½ stars.

“Last year we gave away over 100,000 apps during National Park Week—it was a huge success and we had less than a quarter of the apps we have today,” says Chimani President, Kerry Gallivan.

“Our goal to reach a million downloads and to encourage just as many people, especially children, to visit our national parks. Download them today, and visit the parks next week!”
The Chimani suite of national park apps include:

  • Acadia National Park
  • Cape Cod National Seashore
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Zion National Park
  • National Parks app (a virtual passport tool for all the National Park Service units)

Chimani apps are your travel guide, map, audio tour and a whole lot more thrown into a single app.

Each of the national park apps are an indispensable resource for anyone exploring some of the nation’s most treasured national parks.

Each delivers constantly updated content, ranger led event schedules, auto touring points of interest, hiking details, restroom locations, free shuttle bus schedules, and breaking news alerts.

Users can also view sunset and sunrise times for the most memorable scenic overlooks, access tide schedules along the coast, review lodging options, and much, much more.

The Chimani iOS and Android apps can be downloaded directly from Apple’s iTunes App Store and the Android versions from Google Play (keyword: “chimani”).

National Parks app—a virtual passport for all National Parks
Create a virtual passport of your trip and access all the latest news on national parks.

The Chimani National Parks app allows users to create a virtual passport of their visits to any one of the 394 National Park System locations.

The app also features the option of accessing news provided by National Park Traveler and the National Park Service on a daily basis.

Whether it’s backcountry hiking in the Grand Tetons, rock climbing in Yosemite, or bicycling the carriage roads of Acadia—these apps are made from personal experience.

They are travel guides for starters, but you’ll find a lot more than that:

  • Sunrise/set data for a year
  • Tidal data for a year
  • Ranger-led Events for the entire season
  • Audio tour by a professional voiceover artist
  • Photos by a professional photographer

Details

Chimani, LLC
Chimani, LLC was founded by Kerry Gallivan, in January 2010.

Chimani is short for the Chimanimani Mountains National Park in Zimbabwe.

Chimani is the leading developer of mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android designed to help visitors explore our national parks.

Website: chimani.com

Worth Pondering…
We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know that place for the first time.

— T. S. Eliot, Little Gidding

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Nature Valley Supports National Parks through Preserve the Parks Program

Commonly referred to as “America’s best idea,” the national parks are awe-inspiring places that provide a deep connection to our country’s heritage, and to nature.

Nature Valley Celebrates the Third Year of Its Preserve the Parks Program

Nature Valley, a longtime supporter of national park preservation through its “Preserve the Parks” program—now in its third year—benefits the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). Over the course of the three-year relationship, the Preserve the Parks program will have helped raise more than $1 million to benefit restoration projects in support of America’s national parks.

This year, Nature Valley is continuing to help preserve America’s national parks while encouraging education, outdoor exploration, and support.

To kick-off the 2012 Preserve the Parks program, Nature Valley is donating $300,000 to the NPCA and is inviting consumers to help raise an additional $200,000 by entering the Universal Product Codes (UPC) from specially-marked packages of Nature Valley products at PreserveTheParks.com.

In celebration of National Park Week (April 21-29), consumers are invited to visit the Nature Valley Facebook page and “Like” designated posts during that week to help trigger additional donations to the NPCA—$1 per “Like,” up to $50,000.

How to Support America’s National Parks

Through the Preserve the Parks program, Nature Valley will raise funds this year in support of restoration projects benefiting six national parks, including Grand Teton National Park (shown here).

Most importantly, consumers can join Nature Valley in helping to preserve America’s national parks by getting outside and exploring all that the parks have to offer, especially during National Park Week (April 21-29), when admission to national parks is free.

Additionally, consumers can experience three iconic national parks through a new digital platform launched by Nature Valley in March 2012. Nature Valley Trail View encourages outdoor exploration and education with 300-plus miles of immersive national parks content through panoramic views and interactive guides, and is a great way to share favorite park views and sights to digitally inspire others to get outside.

To show support for the parks, consumers can:

  • Visit PreserveTheParks.com and enter UPCs from specially-marked packages of Nature Valley products to help raise funds to benefit restoration efforts in support of six national parks. For each UPC entered online now through December 31, 2012, $1 will be donated to the NPCA, up to $200,000.
  • Volunteer at a national park—visit PreserveTheParks.com for more information.
  • Visit the Nature Valley Facebook page and “Like” designated posts about Nature Valley Trail View. For each Facebook “Like” during National Parks Week (April 21-29), Nature Valley will donate $1 to the NPCA, up to $50,000.
  • Consider a personal donation to NPCA at PreserveTheParks.com.

Preserve the Parks Program Details

In its third year, the Preserve the Parks program continues to benefit the NPCA, whose mission is to help preserve America’s national parks for generations to come. Funds raised by Nature Valley this spring and throughout the year will support restoration projects benefiting six national parks, including:

  • Acadia National Park: Constructing a connector trail to provide better access to Acadia National Park.
  • Everglades National Park: Improving public access to, and providing greater awareness about the Everglades and Everglades National Park.
  • Grand Teton National Park: Protecting wildlife migration corridors near Grand Teton National Park.
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Restoring land and wildlife habitats to benefit Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  • Joshua Tree National Park: Ensuring healthy ecosystems to benefit the wildlife of Joshua Tree National Park.
  • Yellowstone National Park: Restoring pronghorn migration routes around Yellowstone National Park.

Details

National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA)

Since 1919, NPCA has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System. NPCA, its more than 600,000 members and supporters, and many partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for generations to come.

Website: npca.org

Nature Valley

Nature Valley created the granola bar category in 1975 and brings great taste to active consumers looking for wholesome snacks. Nature Valley offers eight granola snack bars.

Website: naturevalley.com

Worth Pondering…
Wilderness needs no defense, only more defenders.
—Edward Abbey

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America’s Best Idea Still Getting Better

From sea to shining sea, the United States has some of the most breath taking national parks and scenic wonderlands. Every single national park has very important significance embedded into the landscape and has been passed down for generations now and ones to come.

To encourage Americans to explore America’s natural beauty, rich history, and culture, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the National Park Service will waive admission fees on 17 days in 2012.

“From Independence Hall to our newest national park, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, our national parks tell the story of America, from the beauty of our land to our struggle for freedom and justice,” Secretary Salazar said.

“Whether or not it’s during one of the 17 fee free days next year, I encourage everyone to visit a park near them and enjoy the remarkable landscapes and historical and cultural sites that are unique to our great country.”

All visitors to Carlsbad Caverns National Park should tour the main section of the cave, the Big Room self-guided tour. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Salazar emphasized that our national parks and public lands serve as an economic engine for many local communities, supports jobs, and drives tourism. Recreation in national parks, refuges, and other public lands fueled nearly $55 billion in economic activity and supported 440,000 jobs in 2009.

Mark your calendar for these fee-free days in 2012:

January 14-16: Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend

April 21-29: National Park Week

June 9: Get Outdoors Day

September 29: National Public Lands Day

November 10-12: Veterans Day weekend

In addition, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service will waive their entrance and standard amenity fees January 14-16, June 9, September 29, and November 10-12.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will also have a fee free day on October 14 in recognition of National Wildlife Refuge Week.

The Bureau of Reclamation will waive standard amenity fees on September 29 and November 12.

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. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Many park-related hotels, restaurants, gift shops, and tour operators will offer specials on fee free days.

“The majority of national parks don’t have an entrance fee and those that do charge a maximum of $25 a week for an entire family,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

“We realize there are additional expenses when visiting a park so many associated businesses will have discounts and enhancements on the fee free days.”

“One of the great things about a national park vacation is it can be as economical or luxurious as desired,” added Jarvis. “A visit can be a few hours or several days. One could pack their lunch or eat at a snack bar, cafeteria, or gourmet dining room. One could sleep under the stars in the backcountry or stay in a campground, motel, or majestic lodge. There is something for everyone at each of the country’s 395 national parks. So mark the dates, grab a friend or family member—especially one that has never been to a park before—and come visit one of your national parks.”

Details

National Park Service

Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, the park service is proud to safeguard these special places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year.

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites in America’s 397 national parks.

Website: nps.gov

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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National Park Week: Start Planning Now

Looking for an affordable place to visit this spring? Look no further than a National Park. From sea to shining sea, the United States has some of the most breath taking national parks and scenic wonderlands. Each national park has very important significance embedded into the landscape and historical heritage.

Every year, mountain travelers flock to America’s national parks like Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

One of the most budget friendly vacation ideas just got more affordable as national parks that usually charge entrance or day-use fees are waiving them during National Park Week—April 16-24, 2011.

About 147 of the 394 parks and historic sites operated by the National Park Service charge admission fees ranging from $3 to $25.

National Parks Service has compiled a complete list of the parks that are waiving fees. This list can be accessed by Name and by State.

National Park Week is an opportunity to hike, bike, learn, share, and experience the majesty in the nation’s national parks. Visit any of America’s national parks and enjoy free admission all week long!

Whether you prefer to hike Zion (Utah), photograph the wonders of Arches (Utah), wander in the paths of the Anasazi at Aztec Ruins (New Mexico), explore the desert scenery and granite monoliths of Joshua Tree (California), or tour an ancient cave dwelling at Mesa Verde (Colorado) moving outside is good for you and offers a chance to explore these special places.

The organ pipe cactus thrives within the United States primarily in the 516-square-mile Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and International Biosphere Reserve. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In addition to waiving entrance fees throughout the week, national parks and park partners are offering programs as part of National Park Week festivities. On Saturday, April 16, many parks will be looking for volunteers to help with projects and on Saturday April 23, the younger set will be the special guests for the 5th annual Junior Ranger Day.

Healthy Parks, Healthy People

This year, National Parks Week is focusing on Healthy Parks, Healthy People. Parks all across the country are offering events that highlight the connection between human and environmental health and the vital role America’s national parks play in both.

Commenting on why a stroll in the park is perfect for travelers, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said, “National parks have always been great places to go on vacation, have fun, and learn something, but for millions of Americans national parks are also a daily part of a healthy lifestyle. If you’ve never thought of your national parks that way, we’d like to invite you to come out to see how parks can help you meet your fitness goals.  Getting outside and moving is the first step.”

If that first step toward fitness isn’t in a national park, it just might be in a place that the National Park Service helped to create.

Through the Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) program, Land and Water Conservation Fund grants, and other programs, the National Park Service works with states and local communities to create and expand local recreation opportunities outside of national parks.

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

National Park Service also joins forces with Indian tribes, nonprofit organizations, and other partners, to build trails and playgrounds, return historic buildings to productive use, revitalize neighborhoods, protect watersheds, recognize and promote local history, and introduce the next generation to stewardship opportunities and responsibilities.

Almost three-quarters of national parks do not charge entrance fees. Note that “free”, in this case, refers to entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation fees. It does not cover tours, camping, concessions, or third-party fees, unless the individual park states otherwise.

2011 Free National Park Days

If you can’t make it out to a national park in April, the other national park fee free days in 2011 include:

June 21: First Day of Summer

September 24: Public Lands Day

November 11-13: Veterans Day weekend

Here’s another tip—many of the 394 national parks NEVER charge an entrance fee.

Start Planning Your Visit Now!

Let’s Hear From You

Have you been to a national park during free National Park Week or on a free day?

Which one, and was it overcrowded?

What is your favorite national park or the next one on your bucket list?

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

Read More