A Hat Tip to the NPS Centennial

Today marks the centennial of the National Park Service, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I've looked forward to this day all year. As a rather big fan of the NPS, I've visited about 20 new sites this year, some big and many smaller ones. I learned or greatly enjoyed something at every single location. Since I have posted a few other lists here, I thought it might be interesting to do the same for the parks I've visited to date: Alphabetically by state, here goes...

Denali NP AK
Kenai Fjords NP AK
Fort Smith NHS AR
Hot Springs NP AR
Pea Ridge NMP AR
Grand Canyon NP AZ
Lake Mead NRA AZ
Petrified Forest NP AZ
Death Valley NP CA
Golden Gate NRA CA
Lassen Volcanic NP CA
Lava Beds NM CA
Redwood Forest NP CA
San Francisco Maritime NHP CA
Whiskeytown NRP CA
Yosemite NP CA
Colorado NM CO
Mesa Verde NP CO
Rocky Mountain NP CO
Weir Farm NHS CT
Korean War Veterans Memorial DC
Lincoln Memorial DC
National Mall DC
Thomas Jefferson Memorial DC
Washington Monument DC
Word War II Memorial DC
World War I Memorial DC
Canaveral NM FL
Chickamauga and Chattanooga NMP GA
Martin Luther King NHS GA
WW II Valor in the Pacific NM HI
Haleakala NP HI
Hawaiian Volcanoes NP HI
New Orleans Jazz NHP LA
Antietam NB MD
Acadia NP ME
Jefferson Expansion NM MO
Natchez Trace NST MS
Tupelo NB MS
Vicksburg NMP MS
Glacier NP MT
Little Bighorn Battlefield NM MT
Blue Ridge Pwky NC
Cape Hatteras NS NC
Wright Brothers NM NC
Great Basin NP NV
Morristown (Washington HQ) NHP NJ
Paterson Great Falls NHP NJ
Thomas Editson NHS NJ
Carlsbad Caverns NP NM
Pecos NHP NM
Petroglyph NM NM
Clinton Castle NHS NY
Eleanor Roosevelt NHS NY
Fire Island NHS NY
General Grant NM NY
Hamilton Grange NM NY
Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt NHS NY
Martin Van Buren NHS NY
Sagamore Hill NHS NY
Saratoga NHS NY
Statue of Liberty NM NY
Theodore Roosevelt NHS NY
Vanderbilt Mansion NHS NY
Women's Right NHP NY
Crater Lake NP OR
Alleghany Portage NHS PA
Gettysburg NMP PA
Independence NHP PA
Steamtown NHS PA
Valley Forge NHS PA
Fort Sumter NM SC
Badlands NP SD
Mount Rushmore NM SD
Fort Donelson NB TN
Great Smoky Mountains NP TN
Shilo NMP TN
Big Bend NP TX
Fort Davis NHS TX
Guadalope Mountains NP TX
Lyndon B Johnson NHS TX
San Antonio Missions NHS TX
Waco Mammoth NM TX
Arches NP UT
Bryce Canyon NP UT
Canyonlands NP UT
Capitol Reef NP UT
Cedar Breaks NM UT
Glen Canyon NRA UT
Natural Bridge NM UT
Rainbow Bridge NM UT
Zion NP UT
Appomattox Court House NHP VA
Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania NMP VA
George washington NMPkwy VA
Manassas NBP VA
Petersburg NBP VA
Richmond NBP VA
Shenandoah NP VA
March-Billings-Rockefeller NHS VT
North Cascades NP WA
San Juan Islands NHP WA
Harpers Ferry NHP WV
New River Gorge NR WV
Grand Tetons NP WY
John D Rockerfeller MPkwy WY
Yellowstone NP WY

That's 107 of the current 413 places in the NPS system (and 31 of the 59 National Parks). The most recent check-in was made this morning in honor of the Centennial, to the Martin Van Buren NHS about 80 minutes north of me. I've made a point of trying to visit as many of the fairly easy reachable ones as I can this year, and set this particular site aside early on, noting that I could go in the morning and then double back to the Dutchess County Fair in the afternoon.

No, I don't ever see myself hitting every one of them, nor even half of them. What I will do, though, is look more carefully at maps when planning trips. I've missed easy chances to visit a number of NPS sites simply from ignorance or poor planning. Homestead National Monument of America in Nebraska, Brices Cross Roads NBS in Mississippi and most recently White Sands NM in New Mexico stand out as places I wish I would have managed to see when traveling nearby. However, I have had the good fortune of making side excursions to a number of gems with a bit of good planning or on-the-fly rerouting.

Still, a simple scroll up and down this list and I know I'm rather fortunate to see what I have seen, and very much look forward to seeing more of our nicely preserved places in the future. In fact, there could be another 5-10 parks on this list before the end of the year.

Oh, and that National Park Passport I bought last year? Yeah, it's gotten a good workout!

Happy Centennial to the NPS!

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