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Free entrance day 9/26 at the U.S. National Parks!

Tomorrow's National Public Lands Day is a chance for everyone within shoutin' distance of a park or monument to observe and/or take part in the "nation's largest single-day volunteer effort" fee free. Even if not participating in an organized event, take a bag along to pick up any litter you see during your visit; every little bit helps. Don't live near a National Park? Spend some time in a state or civic park nearest you. A dose of nature can ease those COVID-isolation blues! 🙂

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/public-lands-day.htm

A special mention for Zion, which is sadly experiencing an unprecedented amount of graffiti along the majestic canyon walls. If you see someone committing acts of vandalism at this park or any other, please turn them in to the nearest ranger? ☹️

https://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2020/09/23/hsr-its-just-becoming-awful-zion-park-officials-try-to-deal-with-unprecedented-amounts-of-graffiti/#.X239OS9h3fY

Posted by
384 posts

Taking a bag to pick up garbage is a great idea. Do not forget your 10 essentials though!

Last weekend we were at Mt Rainier and were stunned at one group. They pretty much violated every hiking protocol, including trampling the meadows. We did talk to a ranger when we got back down. Thankfully everyone else we saw over the weekend was fantastic and it was great to be back on the mountain after being stuck inside with all the smoke we had had.

Posted by
412 posts

Ugh, it makes my blood boil to read about the graffiti and vandalism in the national parks, which are among the US' great treasures. I'm fortunate enough to have visited several, especially in the Southwest, and it's really a shame that a small minority of visitors just engage in this kind of destructive behavior.

Posted by
12596 posts

mikliz97, you're a star for reporting the scoundrels!🌟

Andrew, the Southwest parks are our favorite places in the U.S. to hike, hands down. We've done almost all the biggies 2-3 times, and 100% agree that they're treasures indeed. Makes me crazy to see them abused! Do you have a favorite amongst the ones you've been to?

Posted by
384 posts

Kathy--It took everything I had to not address he group right then and there, but I was so mad I knew I couldn't be as civil as I would like, and we were cold and wanted to use the bathroom, lol. It was a group of 60+ Army guys from Georgia. I asked one of them that was still trying to make his way up to the group who they were and where they were from. I could tell the Army thing, as the haircuts and a couple of the t-shirts gave it away. Very few even had a jacket. I am still just shaking my head over it.

Posted by
412 posts

Kathy -- my favorite is Canyonlands, particularly the Needles! It's definitely logistically more complicated than some of the other parks, but I think the landscapes and vistas are absolutely otherworldly. A couple of years ago I camped in the backcountry and hiked in Elephant Canyon to Druid Arch, which was really something.

But they're all beautiful, I think! I've been fortunate enough to do Zion in both summer and winter, which were really rather different experiences but still equally beautiful.

Posted by
12596 posts

Oh wow Andrew! Needles is a drop-dead, fantastic unit! We day-hiked the Chesler Park/Joint loop from Elephant Hill one year, and the opposite way, Elephant Hill/Chesler Park/Devil's Kitchen loop, another time. Didn't get to Druid Arch but I've heard it's a great trek too; sounds like that should be our 3rd adventure?

It's not a national or even state park but Fisher Towers in Moab is another good one for some terrific scenery. Zion in winter....bet it's gorgeous! We'd had big plans for that one the 2nd time we were there but got rained out (more accurately, flooded out) of all of them. Had great fun in the Narrows on trip #1.

The free admission day is nice. But, it's hard to do this if one doesn't live close to a national park. Sometimes, I avoid "free" anything because of crowds. An alternative is any state park close to one's home. Then, there are city parks for those in large cities. Look up your State's Forest Management system and you may be surprised at what is available close to home. I was!