Monday, October 10, 2016

Driving along America's Roof: Trail Ridge Road

At the end of September Andrew, along with his parents, took a two week road trip through several of the great National Parks of the west. Andrew will be writing something about each one, in the order of their visit. Up first is Rocky Mountain National Park and it's famous alpine highway, Trail Ridge Road.

Trail Ridge Road. Photo by Carol Tate
Many (but not all) of America's national parks have a showcase roadway that goes through much of the park and by many of the most popular vistas, visitors centers, lodges, and campgrounds. Some, like Arches and Bryce Canyon, take you into the interior of the park and dead end, leaving you to drive back through. Others, such as Going to the Sun Road at Glacier, or Skyline Drive in Shenandoah, take you from one end of the park to the other. In Yellowstone, it's not just one road, but a figure eight of roads that connects all of the major sites in the park. Some, such as Tioga Road in Yosemite are seasonal, closing during the snowy winters of the Sierra Nevada. Each of these roads are interesting in their own right, but in many respects they pale in comparison to Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Happy 100th Birthday, NPS!

View from atop Hightop Mountain on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park.

One hundred years ago today, the National Park Service was founded. Although the first national park, Yellowstone, had been created by Congress in 1872, no formal administration of the park was ever set up. Even as other parks, like Rainier, Yosemite, and Sequoia, were created, there still was no one agency in charge of them. In addition, funds were rarely allocated to the maintenance and staffing of these parks, often relying upon the U.S. Army to fill in the void and protect the natural beauty and critically endangered wildlife found in the parks.