I love national parks.
When I need to go to my happy place in my mind, it’s always a national park. I love the views, the smells, the history, and the time spent at that park’s activities, which for me often includes hiking and a little quiet time. And of course I love the fact that they are preserving these spaces for future generations, and have developed a robust sustainability program to help.
I think one of the greatest things about national parks is that there’s something for everybody. Mountains, oceans, deserts, beaches, volcanos, rain forests, historical places, whatever wildlife, landscape, and temperature interests
you. You can be with groups of people, find solitude, totally rough it or stay in luxury. They offer kid’s activities, can educate you on anything from ancient to recent history, many portions are ADA accessible, help you to find a new appreciation of Mother Nature, and there are so many (464!) that you are always within driving distance.
So I was surprised to learn that park attendance is down. The baby boomer generation helped make national parks thrive harkening back to the “see the USA in your Chevrolet” days. As that generation ages, new generations aren’t flocking to national parks the way they used to.
In anticipation of the National Park’s 100th birthday, the National Park Service has started a “Find Your Park” promotion. You can find your favorite park, new park, or park that’s close by and visit. Your entry fee helps support the parks and keep them protected for future generations.
Getting ready to plan your summer vacation or a weekend trip? Stay local and save some gas money by visiting one of Nebraska’s 6 parks or one of the 43 parks in neighboring states.
Don’t forget, this year 4th graders and their families get in free!
Check out the Find Your Park page to see the map of all national parks, information on each park with specifics to help you plan your visit, special events going on throughout the year, and even information on being a citizen scientist! For more information you can also go to the National Parks Service.