When Does a National Park Count Twice?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
This sign in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve in Alaska helpfully tells you when you are walking the line between areas designated as national park and areas designated as national preserve.

Editor’s Note: This is the latest in our Counting the Parks series, for more on this topic, check out our page at: http://www.parkasaurus.com/?cat=4

In December, when four new parks were added to the national park system, it was widely reported that there were now 405 U.S. National Parks.   What most people don’t realize about this number is that it includes nine national parks that count twice.   This list of nine national parks that count twice are all parks that bear the designation of “& Preserve” at the end of their name.  Seven of them are designated “National Park & Preserve” and two of them are designated as “National Monument & Preserve.”

The reason for this compound designation comes down to land management in general, and sport hunting in specific.   National parks (and national monuments within the National Park System) are generally managed by the National Park Service with a prohibition on sport hunting.   On the other hand, the National Park Service has generally allowed sport hunting on lands designated as a national preserve.   Thus, there have been several cases where a single area has been designated as a combination of a national park for some areas and a national preserve for other areas in which recreational sport hunting will be allowed.  Here are the nine of them:

  • Aniakchak National Monument & Preserve – President Carter used the Antiquities Act to protect the Aniakchak Caldera in southeast Alaska’s Aleutian Peninsula as a national monument in 1978, and two years later the area was expanded by the addition of a national preserve in the areas surrounding the caldera in 1980.
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve – President Coolidge used the Antiquties Act to set aside dormant lava fields in central Idaho.  This area was expanded by President Clinton in 2000, and then in 2002 many of these expanded areas were redesignated as a national preserve to allow for recreational hunting.
  • Denali National Park & Preserve – Mount McKinley National Park was established in central Alaska back in 1917, but the original national park did not even include the summit of Mount McKinley.  President Carter used the Aniquities Act to designate Denali National Monument in 1978.  Then in 1980, these two areas were combined, the area designated as a national park was expanded, and two small remnants of the combined area were designated as national preserve.  Today, the national preserve areas are in the far southwestern corner and far northwestern corners of the Park, far from the developed visitor infrastructure.
  • Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve – President Carter set aside Gates of the Arctic in northern Alaska as a national monument using the Antiquities Act in 1978.  In 1980, the area was designated as a national park, except for two areas in the northeast and southwest corners of the park, which were designated as a national preserve.
  • Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve – President Coolidge used the Antiquities Act to set aside Glacier Bay in coastal southern Alaska as a national monument in 1924.  This area was later expanded by Presidents Roosevelt and Carter.  In 1980, the area was redesignated a national park, except for a small strip of land near Dry Bay in the southeastern corner of the park, which was designated a national preserve.
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve – President Franklin D. Roosevelt used to Antiquities Act to proclaim the enormous sand dunes in southern Colorado at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains a national monument.  In 2000, legislation was passed redesignating the area as a national park, and vastly expanding the park to include much of the scenic Sangre de Cristo Mountains as a national preserve.
  • Katmai National Park & Preserve – In 1918, President Wilson used the Antiquities Act to set aside a volcanic area in southeast Alaska known as “The Valley of 10,000 Smokes” as a national monument.  President Hoover would later expand this area to include the area around Brooks Falls – which is some of the best grizzily bear habitat on the planet (and is the source of many iconic photographs and videos of grizzly bears fishing for salmon.)  This area would be expanded four other times.  The last of these expansions, in 1980, redesignated the national monument as a national park, and set aside a strip of land in the northern end of the park as a national preserve.  Somewhat unuusually, not even subsitence hunting was permitted in the area designated national park, instead both subsistence hunting and recrational hunting are restricted to the area designated as a national preserve.
  • Lake Clark National Park & Preserve – This area just west of Anchorage  and Cook Inlet was also proclaimed a national monument by President Carter in 1978, and then redesignated as a national park and a national preserve  in 1980.  The national preserve consists of the western 1/3rd or so of this park.
  • Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve – The largest protected area in the national park system was etablished in 1980 and covers most of the Wrangell Mountains in eastern Alaska, stretching down into Alaska’s panhandle, where it borders Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve.  In order to preserve recreational hunting and other traditional activities, the national preserve exists as a patchwork of five separate land parcels, mostly around the edges of this park.

So there you have it, there are the nine.  Obviously, there are some common themes with these parks.   All of these combined designations date from 1980 or later.   7 of them are in Alaska – resulting from the Alaska National Interests Land Conservation Act of 1980, which greatly expanded the National Park System in Alaska.    Also,, these combined designations arose not out of any kind of separation of the resources in these areas, but out of a desire to maintain separate land uses within different parts of the overall park.

Indeed, in many of the above cases, the area designated as a national preserve consists of land on the fringes of the park as a whole.  For the most part,  the area designated as national preserve does not include the overall park’s “core resources” that merited the designation.  Even in cases where the preserve designation is relatively large, such as in the case of Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve, the national preserve primarily functions to help preserve the overall landscape and environment of the larger area, without necessarily applying the highest-level restrictions on land-use to the whole thing.

 

The newly-expanded Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve will only be counting as one national park. Photo Credit: National Park Service

All of this is particularly interesting because in addition to creating new national parks, the Defense Authorization Act for 2015 also included a number of other national parks provisions.   One of these expanded and redesignated Oregon Caves National Monument to Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve.  Oregon Caves was originally set aside by President Taft in 1909.  Most caves are typically formed in limestone, but the Oregon Caves are somewhat unusual in having formed in marble (its worth noting that marble is formed from limestone that has been metamorphosed under heat and pressure).   With this expansion, however, this park goes from a mere 400-or-so acres surrounding the cave to well more than 4,000+ acres including the surrounding watershed.  Once again, part of the motivation is to continue to allow recreational hunting in the new parklands.  Somewhat surprisingly, however, this time Congress arguably avoided the “mistake” it made in previous legislation – Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve won’t be counting twice.  Instead, it explicitly remains a single park in the U.S. National Park System.

In this regard, it joins two other parks that appear to be “& Preserves,” but yet only count once.   Salt River Bay National Historical Park & Ecological Preserve in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve.   Neither of these areas have the clear-cut land management distinctions of the above 9 “& Preserves.”   In this respect, Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve will be unique in following this sensible approach, despite the land management distinctions.   In the meantime, although visiting all 405 (for now) national parks will be life-long bucket-list ambition for many, the list itself will remain one with plenty of idiosyncracies, thanks to the unusual situation of the nine national parks that in fact count twice.

Update: The original version of this post inadvertently listed Craters of the Moon as a National Park & Preserve, despite listing it as a monument in the previous paragraph.  In fact, it is a National Monument & Preserve.

 

Share this Parkasaurus post: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail
Follow Parkasaurus: Facebooktwittergoogle_plus

Happy Anniversary to Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument has released this awesome new logo for their Centennial.
Dinosaur National Monument has released this awesome new logo for their Centennial.

 

For what are surely obvious reasons, even though the Parkasaurus Family lives on the East Coast, this blog has a special place in its heart for Dinosaur National Monument, located in northeastern Utah and northwestern Colorado.

Thus, I just wanted to draw some attention to the visually stunning logo that was just released by Dinosaur National Monument to celebrate their centennial in 2015.  This logo has a little something of everything to love about Dinosaur National Monument – the scenic Green & Yampa Rivers,  a desert landscape, birding and wildflower viewing, animal habitat protection, American Indian petroglyphs, and a pristine night sky.

All of those images are contained within the image of an Allosaurus head, which is one of the common fossils found at this park.   Allosaurus, like the other dinosaurs found at Dinosaur National Monument, lived and died approximately 149 million years ago, near the end of the Jurassic time period.  Tyrannosaurus Rex, Allosaurus’ much more famous cousin, on the other hand, lived and died around 69 to 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous time period.  Yes, that’s right, that means that many of the dinosaurs that starred in the Jurassic Park movies didn’t actually live during the Jurassic.   I guess the name Mesozoic Park (Mesozoic is the time period geologists use to cover both the Cretaceous and Jurassic, as well as the Triassic, time periods)  just didn’t roll off the tongue as much.

From the beginning, the managers of Dinosaur National Monument have always emphasized that there is much more to see at this national park than just the famous fossil quarry where many of the bones have been left in situ, in a rock wall, just as paleontologists would find them.   This centennial logo certainly carries on that tradition in a visually beautiful way.  Its enough to make me wish that a special trip out to northeastern Utah could be added to the Parkasaurus family’s travel plans for 2015!  (Sadly, that does not appear to be in the cards.)  Still it will be worth keeping an eye on what special events will be planned at the park for later this year.

In this design, thought seems to have gone into almost every detail.   At the bottom of the logo, there is a diamond separating the word “Established” from the year “1915.”  That diamond actually represents the cattle brand used by one of the ranches that predated the national monument, and which still hold grazing rights within the monument lands.  A very nice touch!

WIth that year 1915, however, its also interesting to note that Dinosaur National Monument is actually one year older than the National Park Service itself – which is gearing up for its own centennial in 2016.  That will likely mean two years of special events and celebrations at this unique national park.

Share this Parkasaurus post: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail
Follow Parkasaurus: Facebooktwittergoogle_plus

January Stamps: A Yosemite Anniversary & More

Yosemite National Park is celebrating its 125th Anniversary in 2015.  This photo is from Parkasaurus' visit in Winter 2006.
Yosemite National Park is celebrating its 125th Anniversary in 2015. This photo is from Parkasaurus’ visit in Winter 2006.

 

I’m a little late again this month, but Eastern National has released its new Passport stamps for the month of January, and the list contains four brand-new stamps and five sort-of-new stamps.

First the brand new ones:

  • Yosemite National Park | 125th Annivesary 1890-2015
  • Lake Mead NRA | The Boulevard
  • Lake Mead NRA | Lakeshore
  • Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm NHA | Girdwood, AK

At Parkasaurus, we’re not really fans of single-year anniversary stamps, like this one for Yosemite National Park.  The typical Passport Stamp has an adjustable year that is good for 5-7 years, so it doesn’t seem to make sense to produce one that is specific to a single anniversary year.  Instead,  I’d much rather see the parks use their creative juices to create special stamps for their anniversaries, such as this particularly beautiful one for the recently-completed 75th Anniversary of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Natchez Trace

Meanwhile, its worth noting that until this past July, the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Heritage Area on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, south of Anchorage, was one of only a handful of National Heritage Areas without any Passport stamps at all.    It then added three of them in conjunction with the National Park Travelers Club’s annual convention this past summer.  This one, to be located at the Alyeska Resort’s Roundhouse Museum, will be its fourth stamp.   The other three are located at the Kenai Fjords National Park in Seward; the Chugach National Forest Visitor Center in Portage; and the Hope & Sunrise HIstorical & Mining Museum in the town of Hope.  The last one is particularly interesting, since it means that there are now Passport stamps located in both the towns of Hope, Alaska and Hope, Arkansas.

The last two new stamps are for Lake Mead National Recreation Area.   Lake Mead is the reservoir created by Hoover Dam, just to the south and west of Las Vegas, Nevada.   It apears that these two new stamps will be used to provide unique, place-specific stamps for two of this national park’s entrance stations, one located on Lake Mead Boulevard heading west out of Las Vegas from the north, and the other on Lakeshore Drive heading west out of Las Vegas from the south.  These two new additions will give Lake Mead NRA a total of at least 10 Passport Stamps, one at each of the park’s Visitor Centers, Ranger Stations, and Entrance Stations, along with a generic passport stamp without any specific location on it.

Finally, the Eastern National list also announced five “new” stamps for Olympic National Park:  Kalaloch Ranger Station, Mora Ranger Station, Quinault Ranger Station, Storm King Ranger Station, and Port Angeles Visitor Center.  I put new in quotes there, because each of these five locations has already had a slightly-different passport stamp.   What constitutes a “new” passport stamp is always in the eye of the beholder, of course, but for purposes of Parkasaurus, these stamps won’t add to the national stamp total.

Thus, based on the four new additions above, we now have a total of 1,954 Passport Stamps available out there to collect!

Share this Parkasaurus post: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail
Follow Parkasaurus: Facebooktwittergoogle_plus

Winter Wonderland Pictures from the Grand Canyon

Parkasaurus caught this snapshot of snow on the Grand Canyon in December 2009.

Much of the country is caught in a cold snap right now to kick off 2015.   Rather famously there were freezing temperatures at the Rose Bowl Parade, and even a few rare flakes in Las Vegas.  The Washington Post, meanwhile, has highlighted some stunning pictures of snow blanketing the Grand Canyon.

Be sure to click through to the article for additional spectacular photos of a full blanket of snow on the Grand Canyon. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Grand Canyon National Park twice in my life, and ironically, both visits were impacted by snow.  As a child, I remember getting out of the car briefly to look over the edge as the snow came down sideways in a heavy wind during a late spring snowstorm.   The photo above is from a more recent visit in December 2009.   Although my visit didn’t have the spectacular blanket of snow that’s there now, the light layer of snow still provided a nice accent to the always-beautiful scenery at this park.   This view is from near the Desert View Observation Tower on the south rim at the east end of the park.

Overall, this past month has been particularly spectacular for photography at Grand Canyon National Park.   Back in early December, an eerily-beautiful cloud inversion hit the Grand Canyon.  This is a rare weather phenomenon that appeared to literally “fill” the Grand Canyon with clouds – like water in a bath tub.   Although it would surely be a disappointment to anyone making a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Grand Canyon to not be able to gaze at its spectacular depths, the natural phenomenon was absolutely spectacular for those who were able to witness it, as these inversions are apparently not predictable and only happen every couple years..


Here’s hoping that if your 2015 takes you to Grand Canyon National Park that it leaves you with memories as spectacular as these photographs.

Happy New Year!

Share this Parkasaurus post: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail
Follow Parkasaurus: Facebooktwittergoogle_plus