Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network | Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum
Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail | Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum
Underground Railroad Freedom Network | Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument |
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail | National Frontier Trails Museum, MO
Schuykill River Valley National Heritage Area |
The list of new stamps was fairly short over these two months, so I’m combining November and December for 2017 together into a single post.
Three new stamps were issued for the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum in southern Maryland, which previously has had a Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail stamp since September 2015. Jefferson Patterson Park preserves the Point Farm Estate, which was donated the state of Maryland by philanthropist Mary Marvin Breckenridge Patterson in 1983. She made the donation in honor of her late husband, Jefferson Patterson, a former U.S. ambassador to Uruguay, and the son of the founder of the National Cash Register company.
One of the highlights of Jefferson Patterson Park is a reconstruction of an Indian Village on the property, of the sort that might have been encountered by John Smith on one of his voyages of exploration up the Chesapeake Bay in 1609. The park is also the site of the 1813 naval engagement known as the Battle of St. Leonard’s Creek, which was fought in the Patuxent River directly offshore the property. In addition to visitor services, the park is the site of ongoing archaeological research, and has exhibits related to the science of archaeology. This month’s additions give this park a total of four cancellation stamps.
Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico is one of the most-remote national parks in the contiguous United States, located some 100 miles from the nearest national parks and some 35 miles from the nearest town. The first new stamp simply reflects a change in the main post office servicing the park, which formerly was Silver City, New Mexico, but now is Mimbres, New Mexico. The Cliff Dwellings themselves were built around the year 1275 and are located at more than a mile above sea level. To reach them, visitors have to drive about two miles from the Visitor Center to the trailhead, and then hike a one mile loop trail. The second stamp is the first one to be located at the National Park Service’s trailhead contact station.
Finally, the Schuykill River Valley National Heritage Area includes a corridor from where the Schuykill River meets the Delaware River in Philadelphia out to Pottstown, Pennsylvania. The two stamps this month are replacements for previously existing stamps, and reflect a change in branding for the partner association that manages the Heritage Area. The association has rebranded itself as Schuylkill River Greenways, Inc. and the new stamps read Schuylkill River Greenways NHA on top – although the legal name of the Heritage Area, Schuylkill River Valley National Heritage Area, remains the same. Both of these stamps are located at the Heritage Area’s Headquarters Offices in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. This Heritage Area has three other cancellations, located at Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Valley Forge National Historical Park, and Independence National Historical Park; all of which retain stamps with the original branding.
Statue of Liberty National Monument | Ellis Island Immigration Station
California National Historic Trail | Alexander Majors House, MO
Oregon National Historic Trail | Alexander Majors House, MO
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Alexander Majors House, MO
Old Spanish National Historic Trail |
Moab Field Office, UT
Fish Lake Lodge, UT
The highlight of this month’s listings are three new stamps for the Alexander Majors House, just south of Kansas City. This site previously had a stamp for the Santa Fe National Historic Trail, and now adds stamps for three others. The Oregon and California National Historic Trails all follow the same route as the Santa Fe Trail from the city of Independence just east of Kansas City, around the southern end of the city, and into the Great Plains. The city of Independence owes its origins to being the westernmost point on the Missouri River accessible by steamships. The nearby city of Kansas City would later overtake it, first due to its position at the confluence of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, and later due to the locating of a major railroad bridge across the Missouri River at Kansas City. The stories of Independence and Kansas City remind a bit of the stories of St. Paul and Minneapolis in Minnesota. St. Paul is the northernmost navigable point on the Mississippi River, and so was a major shipping center. Minneapolis, however, is located on St. Anthony Falls, which powered the milling industry.
The addition of the Pony Express National Historic Trail cancellation is a bit more interesting than the first two trails, as the Pony Express trail begins more than 60 miles to the north in the city of St. Joseph, Missouri. The explanation for this stamp being located an hour’s drive away from the trail that it commemorates is explained by Alexander Majors himself – as he was one of three Kansas City businessmen who founded the Pony Express itself. Majors made his initial fortune hauling freight on the Santa Fe Trail and proposed the Pony Express to more than halve the then-25 day time for mail deliveries to California by conestoga wagon along the southerly Butterfield Overland Mail Route. The Pony Express would follow a new northerly route through Salt Lake City to Sacramento and San Francisco, and of course, make innovative use of relay teams of ponies. Unfortunately for Majors, within just a couple years, the development telegraph and the railroad spelled the doom not only of the Pony Express, but of Majors’ Santa Fe Trail operations as well. Majors ultimately died penniless – but not before helping launch the career of Buffalo Bill Cody, an assistant on his Santa Fe Trail operations who went on to become one of his most famous Pony Express riders
Alexander Majors’ House is now preserved as a historic site on the southern side of Kansas City and is run by a non-profit foundation that also operates the John Wornall House from the same era.
Finally, the Statue of Liberty National Monument has updated its cancellation for the historic Ellis Island Immigration Station. The majestic statue itself is, of course, the symbol of America’s welcome to overseas immigrants. The old Ellis Island Immigration Station is also part of this national park, and now hosts the fantastic Ellis Island Immigration Museum, which tells the story of all US immigrant people, but primarily those who arrived through the Ellis Island Immigration Station in the early 20th Century.
In a rarity, there are relatively few new stamps this month from National Heritage Areas and National Historic Trails, but instead the new stamps are mostly from full-fledged national park units. Here they are:
Boston National Historical Park | USS Cassin Young
City of Rocks National Reserve | Almo, ID
Mojave National Preserve | Mojave River Valley Museum
Women’s Rights National Historical Park | Wesleyan Chapel
Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area | Historic Grass Lawn
The highlight of the new additions is an updated stamp for City of Rocks National Reserve in southern Idaho. The City of Rocks are unusual rock formations in southern Idaho that were so-named by emigrants on the California Trail to the gold fields of California.
For true Passport enthusiasts, this new stamp is an interesting case study. City of Rocks National Reserve was added to the National Park System in 1988, two years after the Passport Program began in 1986. Its first cancellation as similar to this one, reading “Almo, ID” on the bottom of the stamp, and was available through 1996. When that stamp was replaced, however, it was replaced with a variation of that stamp, reading “Oregon Trail – Almo, ID” on the bottom.
This stamp, however, had a significant problem. The Oregon and California Trails both begin in Independence, Missouri and from there, they essentially parallel each other for some 1,200 miles across the whole of Nebraska and Wyoming and into Idaho. Then, in central Idaho, at a place called the Raft River Crossing, the two trails part their separate ways. The Oregon Trail heads to the north and west towards Oregon; the California Trail heads to the south and west towards Nevada and California. City of Rocks, it turns out, is actually located to the south and to the west, along the California Trail. This means that City of Rocks is actually not located on the Oregon Trail at all – despite the fact that for some time, the only Passport Cancellation for this Park read “Oregon Trail” on it!
This awkward situation was finally corrected in the mid-2000’s when that stamp reading “Oregon Trail – Almo, ID” on the bottom was replaced with a new stamp reading “CA Trail – Almo, ID” on the bottom. In 2012, a second stamp was added at this park, a California National Historic Trail stamp reading “City of Rocks NR, ID” on the bottom. Unfortunately, when the year expired on the “CA Trail – Almo, ID” stamp in 2014, that California National Historic Trail stamp became the only Passport Cancellation with an active year wheel available at the Park! So this month’s new addition finally clears things up, and gives City of Rocks National Reserve two Passport Cancellations, one of the Park itself, and one for the California National Historic Trail.
At Boston National Historical Park, the USS Cassin Young is a World War II-era Fletcher-class destroyer. It is docked as a museum ship at the Charlestown Navy Yard Unit of Boston National Historical Park, near the USS Constitution. Although 175 Fletcher-class Destroyers were built at the Charlestown Navy Yard, the USS Cassin Young was built in California and served in the Pacfic Theater. On July 30, 1945 twenty-one members of its crew were killed in a kamikaze attack near Okinawa. In 1952, it did receive a major overhaul at Charlestown Navy Yard, one of several visits it made there, before being decommissioned in 1960.
The Mojave River Valley Museum is located in the gateway community of Barstow, California. Barstow is home to the Mojave National Preserve Park Headquarters, and is located at the intersection of Interstates 15 and 40, making it a convenient gateway to the Park. Interstates 15 and 40 also form the northern and southern boundaries of the Preserve about 60 miles to the west. The Mojave River Valley Museum back in Barstow is free to the public, and interprets the scientific, historical, and cultural heritage of the area. A visit to the Museum is a great way to learn about the desert before heading out into the Preserve itself.
At the top of this month’s post, I include a picture of the ruins of the former Soda Springs Resort at Zzyzx, which is now part of the Mojave National Preserve, as an example of the cultural history of the Mojave Desert area. The name, Zzyzx is pronounced to rhyme with “Isaac’s.” The name was chosen by the resort’s founder, Curtis Springer, who wanted the name to be the “last word in the English language,” in keeping with his resort’s slogan of Zzyzx being the “last word in health.” Springer was eventually evicted from Zzyzx for not having legitimate claim to the public land in the Mojave Desert and for making false medicinal claims. Nevertheless, the resort had one lasting positive legacy; Springer stocked his pond (shown above) with a little fish called the Mojave tui chub. Now endangered, the “Lake Tundae” pond is one of the last refuges of this species. The site is now run by the California State University consortium as the Desert Studies Center. The site doesn’t have a Passport cancellation stamp (yet) – but with a name like “Zzyzx,” Parkasaurus is certainly really hoping that it happens someday, right?
In July, Women’s Rights National Historical Park announced that the the Stanton House in Seneca Falls and the M’Clintock House in nearby Waterloo have been recently outfitted with period furniture and reopened to the public. The Stanton House was the home of the famed women’s rights leader, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, for 15 years. The M’Clintock House is where the attendees drafted the famous “Declaration of Sentiments” that was later adopted by Convention attendees meeting in the Wesleyan Chapel The M’Clintock House has had a cancellation since 2010. The Stanton House does not yet have a cancellation, but would be a logical candidate to receive one in the future.
There is actually a fifth location that comprises Women’s Rights National Historical Park, the Hunt House, also in Seneca Falls. It was at a meeting in the Hunt House that the plans for a women’s rights convention were conceived. The National Park Service acquired the Hunt House in 2000, but it is not yet open to the public, and so no cancellation just yet.
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail | C&O Canal NHP HQ
Reconstruction Era National Monument |
St. Helena Island
San Juan Island NHP | Friday Harbor, WA
California National Historic Trail | Martin’s Cove, WY
Oregon National Historic Trail | Martin’s Cove, WY
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail | NM Public Lands Info Ctr.
Santa Fe National Historic Trail | NM Public Lands Info Ctr.
Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail | Roving Ranger
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | Historic Nauvoo
Old Spanish National Historic Trail | Kelso Depot
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | Trail of Tears Assoc., OK
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail |
Great Falls, MD
Sandy Point State Park, MD
The highlight of this month’s new stamps come from the newly designated Reconstruction Era National Monument in South Carolina. The initial stamp for this new national park was released just a couple months ago in April 2017. That first stamp was for historic Beaufort, South Carolina, which was captured by Union forces in the early days of the Civil War in 1861, and so was one of the places where the process of reconstruction in the south began. Beaufort was also the birthplace of Robert Smalls, who was born into slavery in 1839. During the Civil War, in 1862, Smalls made a daring escape from nearby Charleston, taking the helm of the confederate ship CSS Planter, slipping it past the guns of Fort Sumter, and taking it out to sea where he could surrender to Union forces. In an amazing and ironic historic twist, Robert Smalls would later use the prize money he was awarded for the capture of the Confederate ship to later purchase a home in Beaufort that had actually been owned by the very family that had once owned him.
Port Royal is located just to the south of Beaufort proper. Port Royal was the site of Camp Saxton, where Union forces recruited the 1st South Carolina Volunteer Regiment from among the enslaved black population of the area.
Also in the same year of Robert Smalls’ daring escape in 1862, even as the Civil War was still crescendoing to its full peak, two women from Pennsylvania arrived in the area to begin providing an education to the freed blacks. They soon moved their school into an old brick church on St. Helena Island, just to the east of Beaufort proper, which is the third passport location for this park.
The Blue Ridge Parkway has added a 19th visitor center and passport location this month, with the addition of the Doughton Park Visitor Center. Located at milepost 241, it fills a gap between the Blue Ridge Music Center at milepost 213 and the Cone Memorial Park Visitor Center at milepost 294. Interestingly, there was previously a cancellation for the Cumberland Knob Visitor Center at milepost 219, but that location is now closed with the opening of the nearby Blue Ridge Music Center in 2006, and that cancellation is now in the history books.
According to a report in the Wautauga (NC) Democrat, this location was previously operated by a concessionaire as Bluff’s Lodge and Coffee Shop, but has been closed since 2010. A partnership effort was organized, seeded by an anonymous donation to restore the property, which had deteriorated. This year it is reopening as the Doughton Park Visitor Center and will be managed by Eastern National, which also runs the Parks Passport Program. Interestingly, the visitor center is only Phase 1 of the restoration of the project. Phase 2 will include restoring the Coffee Shop – which will be welcome news for many travelers. Restoration of the lodging is also in the plans as well.
The new stamp for the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail located at the C&O Canal National Historical Park in Hagerstown, Maryland is simply an updated replacement for previous stamps at this location. Although the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail runs along the entire length of the C&O Canal towpath, the park Headquarters Building is located in Hagerstown proper, so Passport enthusiasts will have to make a brief detour from the Trail to get this cancellation.
Similarly, the new addition for San Juan Island National Historical Park is for the Park Headquarters in the resort town of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Visitors to the Park can also collect cancellations at the American Camp and the English Camp on either end of the island. The American Camp marks where US soldiers established themselves in 1859 and began a face-off with a British warship, as a dispute about a pig uprooting a garden nearly escalated a simple border dispute into an international war. The English Camp marks where British soldiers landed and encamped in 1860 as part of a temporary settlement for “joint occupation” of the island until a permanent settlement could be reached – something that would not occur until nearly a decade later, when arbitrators appointed by the German kaiser awarded San Juan Island to the United States.
The Mormon Handcart Site in Martin’s Cove, WY is operated by the Church of Latter-day Saints. It marks the site where a party of Mormon emigrants pulling hand carts and departing late in the season in 1859 became stranded for several days due to an early blizzard. The site provides interpretation of the events at the site, as well as the rigors of pulling hand carts on the migration west. The site previously has had cancellations for the Mormon Pioneer and Pony Express National Historic Trails. The route used by the Mormon emigrants was the same route also used by settlers and gold rushers travelling on the Oregon and California National Historic Trails, respectively. So this site now has a full compliment of four cancellations for the four Emigrant Trails across the west.
The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail does get one new cancellation this month, this one for the starting point of the trail in Nauvoo, Illinois. This new stamp is located at the Historic Nauvoo Visitor Center, which is also operated by the LDS Church. This new stamp is somewhat paired with the new stamp for Nauvoo, Illinois under the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area that was released in January 2017. That stamp has been located at the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, which preserves a historic home of the man who was the founder of the LDS Church and also the former mayor of Nauvoo for two years up until his murder by an angry mob in nearby Carthage, Illinois in 1844. The Joseph Smith Historic Site is operated by the Community of Christ, which was formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and which split from the larger LDS Church in 1860. The Nauvoo Historic District represented by this month’s new cancellation includes many other historic structures in Nauvoo, including the former home of Brigham Young who was the second President of the LDS Church, and who led the journey west to Utah.
The New Mexico Public Lands Information Center, operated by the Bureau of Land Management in Santa Fe, New Mexico has already had cancellations for the Old Spanish, Santa Fe, and El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trails. The new stamps for the last two trails are simply subbing out previous stamps that read “Santa Fe, NM” on the bottom with stamps that now read “NM Public Lands Info Ctr.” on the bottom. The Old Spanish Trail had actually made a similar switch back in 2012. Interestingly, I can’t help but note that the street address for the New Mexico Public Lands Information Center is 301 Dinosaur Trail in Santa Fe!
The new stamp for the Old Spanish National Historic Trail is actually the third iteration of a stamp at the historic Kelso Depot in Mojave National Preserve. Previous iterations read “Kelso, CA” and “Mojave National Preserve, CA” on the bottom.
Finally, the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail continues its rapid expansion of Passport cancellations this month. The six new additions this month give it a grand total of 41 Passport cancellations. That total is good for 5th place in the National Park System, behind only the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area with a whopping 71, the Old Spanish National Historic Trail with 50, the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail with 47, and the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail with 44. Each of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake cancellation locations appears to come with a wayside exhibit, providing interpretive about John Smith’s voyages of exploration from the Jamestowne Colony up through the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in the early 1600’s.
The two new locations in Virginia include the Rappahannock River National Wildlife Refuge near Warsaw, Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay community of Gloucester on Virginia’s Middle Peninsula, between the Rappahannock and York Rivers. In 2003, archeologists working near Gloucester discovered the site of Werowocomoco, which was the capital of the Powhatan Confederacy of some thirty Indian tribes in the area, and which traded and interacted with Captain John Smith and the Jamestowne Colony.
In Maryland, the new locations include Great Falls Park, which is managed by the George Washington Memorial Parkway. The Great Falls of the Potomac River formed a natural barrier to Captain John Smith’s upstream explorations of the Potomac River. Other locations include Sandy Point State Park near Annapolis, Maryland and the Sultana Education Foundation in Chestertown, Maryland on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The Sultana Education Fuondation operates a replica of an 18th Century vessel, the Sultana, that was used for collecting tea taxes in the Chesapeake Bay. It also conducts a number of environmental education programs for children, and promotes the newly-developed water trail on the Chester River.
The final new stamp will be located at the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center in Columbia, Pennsylvania, where US Route 30 crosses the Susquehanna River. Captain John Smith never made it this far north on his voyages, as he was stopped by the great falls of the Susquehanna further south in Maryland. However, the Susquehannock American Indians in this area used the Susquehanna River as part of a trading route network that stretched as far as New York State. Thus, Congress has included the full length of the Susquehanna River as part of this National Historic Trail, in part for its historic significance to the American Indians, but also to use the National Historic Trail program to spread awareness of the extensive watershed for the Chesapeake Bay.
With this month’s new additions, the total number of active cancellations in the Passport Program is now 1,179. Happy stamping!
Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site | 10th Anniversary 2007-2017
First State National Historical Park |
New Castle Court House
The Green – New Castle
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site | South Dakota
Hopewell Culture National Historical Park | Camp Sherman
Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area |
Mt. Pulaski, IL
Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area |
Museum of the Mississippi Delta
Robert Johnson Gravesite
California National Historic Trail | Hollenberg Pony Express Station SHS
Oregon National Historic Trail | Hollenberg Pony Express Station SHS
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Hollenberg Pony Express Station SHS
Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site may only be ten years old in 2017, but this is already their second anniversary stamp. In 2014, they had a stamp commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the massacre of a camp of Cheyenne Indians by Colorado soldiers in 1864. This park immediately retired that 150th Anniversary stamp as soon as the calendar turned to 2015, so if you want to collect this anniversary cancellation, you’ll probably need to trek out to eastern Colorado before the year is out.
For First State National Historical Park, the New Castle Courthouse stamp is simply a replacement for the existing stamp reading “New Castle, DE” on the bottom. The New Castle Courthouse is where Delaware seceded from Great Britain in 1775, and is also the baseline for Delaware’s curved border with Pennsylvania, which is 12 miles from the courthouse. The other stamp is for the New Castle Green and will be located at the New Castle Historical Society’s Visitor Center in The Arsenal. A great summary of the history of New Castle Green can be found in this blog post from the official Delaware State Government blog. This new addition for New Castle Green gives First State NHP a total of 8 active cancellations.
Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in south-central Ohio was officially established to interpret the archeological remains of a 2,000-year-old Indian civilization that archeologists refer to as “the Hopewell Culture,” since they did not leave behind a written language recording their own name for themselves. However, 100 years ago, part of the land that is now the national park was included in the then newly-designated Camp Sherman to gather and train US troops for the war effort. This new cancellation is timely, as it coincides with the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. entering the first World War in 1917, and with Hopewell Culture National Historical Park stepping up its interpretation of the small role it played in the First World War.
The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, which is run by the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, covers some 40 counties in central Illinois. Previously, this Heritage Area had only a single cancellation, for the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, IL. These 15 additional cancellations cover the heritage area’s official gateway cities of Alton, Bloomington, Danville, and Quincy. These cancellations also cover several other partner sites, including the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site in Lerna, where Lincoln’s father and stepmother lived once he was a grown man in Springfield. Also included are several sites associated with Lincoln practicing law, including those in Mt. Pualski, Pittsfield, and Taylorville. The remainder of the sites appear to be primarily associated with more-general history and visitation of the area, the most notable of which is the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, which is also the starting point for the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail.
The Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area has been steadily adding stamps since joining the Passport Program in November 2014. You can find the Parkasaurus write-up for all the previous additions here. Particularly notable this month is the addition of a stamp for Bryant’s Grocery. In August 1955, a 14-year-old teenager from Chicago named Emmett Till was visiting his family in the small town of Money, Mississippi. On that trip, an incident with a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, at Bryant’s Grocery, led to Till being murdered by Ms. Bryant’s husband, Roy Bryant and his half-brother, John W. Milam. Despite ample evidence, Bryant and Milam were acquitted by the all-white jury after a little more than an hour of deliberations. You can read more details on the events of the case in this account from famous-trials.com.
The other three stamps for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area this month can all be found in the town of Greenwood, Mississippi, which is just 17 miles to the south of Money. Fort Pemberton was the site of a minor Confederate victory as part of the Vicksburg campaign. The Museum of the Mississippi Delta comprehensively covers the human and natural history of the region. Robert Johnson was a renowned blues artist, and the most-likely site of his burial is Little Zion Missionary Baptist Church on Money Road in Greenwood.
Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor | Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence
Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area | Stephen & Harriet Myers Residence
Oregon National Historic Trail |
Craters of the Moon NM & PRES
Fossil Butte NM
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Camp Floyd State Park
The Lolo Pass in Idaho is where the Lewis & Clark expedition made a treacherous mountain crossing in September 1805, despite the early onset of winter weather. This stamp will be available at the US Forest Service’s Lolo Pass Visitor Center on US Route 12. The new stamp for the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail finally replaces a previous stamp that had been available here from 2004 to 2007. In addition, this site has had a stamp for the Nez Perce National Historic Trail since 2011.
The new North Country National Scenic Trail replaces a previous stamp reading simply “New York” on the bottom that had been available at both the US Forest Service Finger Lakes Ranger Station in the town of Hector, NY as well as at Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, NY. The “New York” stamp is still available at Fort Stanwix.
The Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site preserves a small section of what was originally a 36 mile railroad using a series of cables to carry canal boats over the Allegheny Mountains between separate sections of the Pennsylvania Canal. Operating from 1834 to 1854, until steam engines rendered the system of canal boats and cables obsolete, the railroad is known to also have been used by slaves attempting to escape to freedom; hence its inclusion in the Underground Railroad Freedom Network.
Meanwhile, the main route of the Oregon National Historic Trail passes some 60 miles to the south of the 50 million year-old fossils of Fossil Butte National Monument at Fort Bridger and Fort Bridger State Historic Site. However, an alternate route, known as the Sublette Cutoff, passes within just 5 miles of the park, and the park has recently added the Oregon Trail to its interpretive activities. Interestingly, the nearest town to Fossil Butte is Kemmerer, Wyoming, which is the home of the original J.C. Penney store.
Finally, Camp Floyd State Park preserves a historic stagecoach inn, just south of the Salt Lake City metro area in the town of Fairfield. Camp Floyd is one of the first stops where the Pony Express National Historic Trail diverges from the California National Historic Trail. The California Trail, which took 49ers to the gold fields of California, roughly follows the route of what is now Interstate 80 across northern Utah and Nevada. The Pony Express Trail, however, took a route that was roughly 50 miles to the south, a route that doesn’t appear to have translated into our modern road system.
After some time away, I’m at least returning to blogging. To catch up, I’ve decided to go ahead and write the monthly new stamps post for the months I missed. Here are the new stamps for the month of September 2016:
Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument | Penobscot County, ME
Natchez National Historical Park | Fort Rosalie
Nez Perce National Historical Park | Bear Paw Battlefield
Redwood National Park | Prairie Creek Redwoods SP
Redwood National Park | Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP
Rainbow Bridge National Monument |
Lees Ferry, AZ
Big Water, UT
California National Historic Trail | Fairway, KS
Oregon National Historic Trail | Fairway, KS
El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail | Mission Dolores State Historic Site
Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail | Pismo Beach, CA
Old Spanish National Historic Trail | Arizona/Utah
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail | St. Clements Island SP, MD
Congress established Natchez National Historical Park in 1988 to encompass the historic district of Natchez, Mississippi, and to include three National Park Service-managed properties, the Melrose Plantation, the William Johnson House, and the archaeological site of Fort Rosalie. Fort Rosalie was a French trading post, established in 1716, and was the seed that eventually grew into the present-day town of Natchez. The original authorizing legislation required the National Park Service to first study the archaeological significance of Fort Rosalie before adding it to the park.
The Nez Perce National Historic Park includes 38 sites across the Pacific Northwest. The Bear Paw Battlefield site in Montana is where in 1877 Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce ended his attempts to flee US troops, just 40 miles short of safety across the Canadian Border. The new stamp replaces an earlier version and will be kept at the Blaine County Museum in nearby Chinook, Montana.
Redwood National Park operates as a mix of federal and state lands along the Pacific Coast of northernmost California. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park are two of the partners with this effort, and are managed cooperatively by the National Park Service and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. There are now 5 cancellation locations for Redwood National Park, three for the National Park Service visitor centers in Orick, Hiouichi, and Crescent City, and two for these two California State Parks. As an interesting historical footnote, one of these stamps was originally mis-printed as Jedediah Redwoods SP and was used for a short time before being replaced by a correctly-worded stamp. Additionally, no stamp at all has been issued for the third California State Park in this partnerships, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. This is presumably because as near as I can tell, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park lacks a proper visitor center as a location to place the stamp.
The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail stamp will presumably be found at the historic Price Historical Park in the town of Prismo Beach. Although the ranch was founded decades after the 18th-Century Anza Expedition, Anza and his companions passed through what is now called Price Canyon on the journey north to San Francisco Bay in 1775.
Two of the new stamps for the North Country National Scenic Trail will be at the Friends of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and at Itasca State Park in Park Rapids, Minnesota. Itasca State Park is, of course, famously home to the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi River, making it one of the most-notable additions to the Passport Program this month. The significance of Itasca State Park has long made it one of the most-famous State Parks in the country, and now it is also part of the national Passport to Your National Parks program. The third stamp will be at the Douglas County Forestry Department in Solon Springs, Wisconsin.
Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve | Fort Casey State Park
Joshua Tree National Park | Oasis of Mara
Yellowstone National Park | Snake River Ranger Station
Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve | Slaven’s Roadhouse
Ohio & Erie National Heritage Canalway |
Cleveland History Center / University Circle
Hale Farm & Village
High Point of the Canal
Historic Zoar Village
Richard Howe House
California National Historic Trail | Salt Lake City, UT
The signature landmark in Dry Tortugas National Park is Fort Jefferson, which is located on Garden Key – about 70 miles west of Key West, Florida. About two years ago, Dry Tortugas National Park added a second cancellation for the Florida Keys Eco Discovery Center on Key West. This new cancellation may simply be a replacement for the long-standing stamp reading “Dry Tortugas, FL” on the bottom; Garden Key being one of the largest of the Dry Tortugas and the primary visitor destination in the park.
Fort Jefferson was constructed in the years leading up to the Civil War. All of the islands in the Dry Tortugas, including Garden Key, are “dry,” meaning they lack fresh water, However, they occupy a strategic location for any ships travelling through the Florida Strait between the United States and Cuba, effectively controlling the approach to the U.S. Gulf Coast and the all-important Port of New Orleans. Nevertheless, the fort was never fully completed. It never saw action in the Civil War, and then was quickly rendered obsolete by the rapid evolution of naval technology in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.
Joshua Tree National Park in southern California includes beautiful desert landscapes as well as many stands of the iconic joshua trees. One of the first settlers in the region, used a natural oasis to plant twenty-nine palm trees. That eventually led to the growth of the town of Twenty-Nine Palms, California. In turn, the town of Twenty-Nine Palms donated the original oasis to the National Park Service for use as the Park Headquarters and main Visitor Center. This stamp likely replaces the existing “Twenty-Nine Palms, CA” stamp found at the Park’s Oasis Visitor Center.
Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve is a partnership that preserves the agricultural landscapes of Whidbey Island, located north of Seattle in Puget Sound, and the history of European settlement in the Pacific Northwest. Fort Casey State Park on Whidbey Island is one of the Reserve’s partners. Fort Casey was built right around the turn of the 20th Century, and was designed to control the strategic entrance to Puget Sound and the Ports of Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia.
The Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve in Alaska is one of nine national parks (including five that “count twice,” for a total of fourteen) in that state that are not accessible by road. Slaven’s Roadhouse is located some 45 miles down the Yukon River from the nearest road, at the junction of Coal Creek with the Yukon River. Roadhouses are an institution in Alaska, providing service to passing travelers across Alaska’s massive distances and remote wilderness. Slaven’s Roadhouse was established in the early 20th Century by Frank Slaven during the Klondike Gold Rush. The National Park Service restored the roadhouse in the early 1990’s, and ever since it has continued to serve its original purpose of providing shelter to travelers on the Yukon River. The National Park Service has a nice one-minute video about Slaven’s Roadhouse on its website. The new stamp for Slaven’s Roadhouse supplements the existing stamp for Coal Creek.
The California National Historic Trail marks the route of an earlier gold rush, the one to California in 1849. The new stamp for Salt Lake City, UT will be at the National Park Service’s Intermountain Region Trails Office in Salt Lake City, which administers many of the western trails.
Finally, for the Ohio & Erie Canalway, since I’ve been behind on these posts for a couple months, I’ve combined the new stamps for this Heritage Area from both July and September into this post. The original Ohio & Erie Canal was naturally inspired by the success of the Erie Canal, and stretched some 308 miles across central Ohio to the town of Portsmouth, where the Scioto River meets the Ohio River. Today, the Congressionally-designated National Heritage Area only includes the first 110 miles or-so of the Canal and surrounding areas in northeast Ohio, stretching from Cleveland, through Akron and Canton, to the town of New Philadelphia. The National Park Service has a comprehensive listing of Ohio & Erie Canalway sites on its website.
The stamp for the Cleveland History Center in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood was added to the list in July. Cleveland’s University Circle is named for the presence of Case Western Reserve University, which happens to be the Parkasaurus Blog’s alma maters. University Circle includes almost all of Cleveland’s premier cultural institutions, including the Cleveland Museum of Art and Severance Hall, the home of the Cleveland Orchestra. The Cleveland History Center is the museum of the Western Reserve Historical Society, which tells the story of the settlement and development of Cleveland and northeast Ohio. The name Western Reserve dates back to the days when the State of Connecticut actually laid claim to the lands that are now northeast Ohio, calling them its “Western Reserve.”
The Richard Howe House was formerly the home of the Ohio & Erie Canalway’s resident engineer. Today, it has been restored for use as a Canalway Visitor Center and moved from its original location to a location adjacent to the towpath.
Canal Fulton is one of the many historic towns located along the towpath. The Canalway Center located in town also includes canalboat rides on the replica vessel St. Helena III. Another unique historic town along the Canalway is Historic Zoar Village, which was founded by German separatists seeking religious freedom.
Finally, the Hale Farm & Village is also operated by the Western Reserve Historical Society, and had a new stamp listed in September. It is a living history farm, and is actually located within the larger boundaries of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Valles Caldera National Preserve is also a relatively new unit of the National Park System. Ever since it was transferred to the National Park Service by legislation in December 2014, it has been using an unofficial stamp reading “New Mexico” as the location. The “Jemez Springs, NM” stamp is its first official stamp from Eastern National, and will presumably replace the existing stamp.
The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail runs from the mouth of the Potomac in the Chesapeake Bay all the way up to Cumberland, Maryland and from there, into the Allegheny Highlands of Pennsylvania. The newest stamp is for a National Trust for Historic Preservation property adjacent to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Woodlawn Plantation was given as a gift by George Washington in 1799 to his nephew, Lawrence Lewis, upon his marriage to Martha Washington’s granddaughter, of all people, Eleanor Custis. By 1799, George Washington was two years removed from the Presidency, from which he retired from in 1797. The gift was made with some intent of keeping the new family close to home, as it were. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to him, he was just a few months away from his sudden death due to some sort of upper respiratory ailment in December 1799. Woodlawn Plantation first became a historical house museum in 1949, and it would actually become the very first property acquired and operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1957. In 1961, the property would add the Pope-Leighey House, a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home, that had to be relocated from nearby Falls Church, Virginia due to the construction of Interstate 66. The National Trust for Historic Preservation now owns or operates nearly two dozen historic buildings, and partners with the administration of a half-dozen others through cooperative agreements. Of the 20 properties owner or operated the Trust, this is the 5th to be included in the Passport Program.
The term “Bleeding Kansas” refers to the years of extensive civil conflict between pro-slavery and pro-abolition settlers spurred by the adoption of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 and culminating in the start of the Civil War in 1861.
The history of the antebellum United States is largely a history of tensions over slavery, divided between the southern states whose economies were largely dependent on slavery, and northern states who became increasingly in favor of abolition of slavery during this time. Following independence from Great Britain, the semi-independent state of Vermont, and the just-across-the-Appalachians states of Kentucky and Tennessee were added to the Union relatively quickly, all during the Presidency of George Washington. The fertile land of Ohio was added in March 1803, just months before the Louisiana Purchase would be completed. That would lead to the addition of the state of Louisiana, and its valuable port of New Orleans, in the spring of 1812 – just 49 days before the US would declare war in the War of 1812.
Thus, the initial wave of expansion left the United States with 18 stars on its flag, and a rough parity of 9 southern states (counting Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware) where slavery was legal and 9 northern states where slavery had been abolished since at least 1804 (when New Jersey became the last of them to abolish slavery). Following the War of 1812, the question of how to handle the expansion of the United States into the western territories, and in particular, how that might alter the parity between “slave” and “free” states became arguably the preoccupying political issue of the era. Indiana and Mississippi would join the Union almost exactly a year apart in December of 1816 and 1817 respectively. Illinois and Alabama would follow them in the Decembers of 1818 and 1819. Then the Missouri compromise of 1820 would allow Maine to split off from the rest of Massachusetts in March 1820, followed by Missouri joining as a “slave state” in August of 1821.
The Missouri Compromise was supposed to settle this issue by extending the line of the Virginia-North Carolina, Kentucky-Tennessee, and Missouri-Arkansas Territory borders westward, and providing that future states located within the Louisiana Purchase and to south of that line would be “slave states,” and that future states north of that line would be “free states.” This compromise more-or-less held as Arkansas was admitted in June 1836 and Michigan was added in January 1837. So too, with the addition of Florida and Texas in March and December of 1845, and then Iowa and Wisconsin in December 1846 and May 1848.
The admission of Wisconsin came just a little less than three months after the Mexican-American had ended in February, after less than two years of fighting. The results of that war would change the balance between “slave” and “free” states in ways that no way had anticipated. Unbeknownst to both the treaty negotiators ending the war and also to those in Congress admitting Wisconsin to the Union, gold had been found at Sutter’s Mill in California, less than two weeks before the war had ended. It would take several months for word of the discovery to reach the wider world, but by 1849 hundreds of thousands of “forty-niners” would be arriving in California, many along what is today marked by the National Park Service as the California National Historic Trail. Just one year later the massive influx of people would begin raising the question of statehood for California sooner than anyone had previously imagined and would begin the process of unravelling the Missouri Compromise.
Technically, the Missouri Compromise only applied to those lands acquired in the Louisiana Purchase, thus a new deal was technically required for how to handle the slavery question in the territories that had been newly conquered from Mexico. That deal was the Compromise of 1850. California would be admitted to the Union as a “free state.” In addition, instead of extending the Missouri Compromise line through the rest of the lands acquired in the Mexican-American War, the newly-formed New Mexico Territory and Utah Territory would each be allowed to decide the slavery question for themselves through popular sovereignty. This somewhat satisfied both sides as it opened the possibility of additional pro-slavery states in the new lands, but at the same time it was recognized in the north that the largely desert climate of these new states would likely be unsuitable for plantation-style agriculture. The compromise would also settle the northern and western boundaries of Texas (which had been added five years earlier) and also prohibit the slave trade (but not slavery itself) in the District of Columbia. In exchange for what on balance seemed like a major victory for the pro-abolition forces in the northern states, the southern states gained a truly major concession, passage of a much-stronger Fugitive Slave Act.
The Fugitive Slave Act established severe penalties for aiding an escaped slave, and imposed requirements for helping to return escaped slaves. The Fugitive Slave Act quickly became resented in the northern states, as in their view it essentially forced northerners to become complicit in the practice of slavery itself. Thus things simmered for four years until the question of future statehood for Kansas rose to the top of the agenda, especially as Kansas was located to the north of the Missouri Compromise line, and thus should have been a “free” state. On the other hand, with the admission of new states from the desert lands acquired in the Mexican-American war still many years away, there were no longer any obvious pairings of future “slave” and “free” states for admission to the Union. Thus, Senators from southern states began holding up legislation applying to the new territories, which not only would hold up their future admission to the Union, but also blocked the legal frameworks necessary for the extension westward of the future trans-continental railroad to California.
A solution to this impasse was struck in 1854 when Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, effectively repealing the Missouri compromise and extending the notion of “popular sovereignty” from the former Mexican territories to the future states of Kansas Nebraska. In exchange for this victory of southern states, the Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed for construction of the trans-continental railroad to proceed. Still, the “popular sovereignty” provisions would soon prove disastrous, creating an immediate free-for-all as pro-slavery settlers from the south and pro-abolition settlers from the north flooded into Kansas in the hopes of altering Kansas’ final orientation as a “slave” or “free” state upon statehood. Tensions between the two sides were palpable, and violence would regularly erupt between the two sides off and on for the next several years. Even as Minnesota and Oregon would be added to the Union as “free states” in 1858 and 1859 (in part due to Oregon electing two pro-slavery Democrats as Senators, despite being a “free” state), the “Bleeding Kansas” era would only come to an end once the secession of the first six southern states allowed the Senate to ratify Kansas as the 34th (or the 28th, depending on your perspective) state of the Union in January 1861. The Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area was established to tell the stories from the front lines of the conflict over slavery in the years leading up the Civil War.
With these additions, there are now 2,008 total active cancellations in the Passport to Your National Parks program. Excluding the cancellations for anniversaries and special events, there 1,912 active cancellations available.
Since I’ve started tracking the monthly releases of new stamps for this blog last year in September, this may be the single biggest month yet. Indeed, the last few months may be the single-greatest expansion of the stamp program in a three month period, or at the very least, the largest expansion since the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area added 60+ new stamps in a single month back in the winter of 2008.
With such a long list, I am going to break the listings into two parts, starting with the new passport stamp additions for parks that are counted among the 408 units of the U.S. National Park System.
Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park |
RI / MA
Bryce Canyon National Park | Bryce, UT
Death Valley National Park | Devils Hole
Fort Pulaski National Monument | Sutler Store
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area | St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam
There were also two special event stamps discovered this month:
Andersonville National Historic Site | Funeral for 13,000
Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens | Lotus & Water Lilly Festival
Most notable among these new stamps are the three new ones for the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park. This is one of the new national parks that was established in last December’s Defense Authorization Act. In fact, this national park is still so new, that the National Park Service doesn’t even have a website up and running for it, although once the website is ready, it looks like you’ll be able to find it at www.nps.gov/blac*. Pawtucket, Rhode Island is the home of the Slater Mill, which is arguably the centerpiece of the new national historical park, and has a claim to be one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution in the United States. Ashton, Rhode Island is the home of Blackstone River State Park, which features a canal towpath and riverwalk, as well as the Captain Wilber Kelly House Museum.
Fort Pulaski National Monument is the local national park in Savannah, Georgia, and is one of several “coastal fortification” sites in the National Park System. The Sutler Store is the park bookstore, located inside the fort, and previously housed a second copy of the stamps found in the visitor center at the entrace to the fort. It looks like it will now have a stamp of its own.
The Charit Creek Lodge is one of a handful of unique, backcountry lodges located in the National Park System. A hiking trip out to this lodge is another good reason for a trip out to Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Meanwhile, the new stamps at Bryce Canyon National Park and Mississippi National River and Recreation Area appear at first glance to simply re-issues of stamps for existing stamp locations. The St. Anthony Falls Lock & Dam, for example, are located directly behind the Mill City Museum which is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Minneapolis, regardless of whether you are visiting the national parks or collecting the passport stamps. The Mill City Museum does a really fantastic job telling the story of the Twin Cities, and the history of milling industry in the area.
At Andersonville National Historic Site, the “Funeral for 13,000” is a special event held this September to commemorate the burying at the end of the Civil War of the numerous Union soldiers who died there. According to the park’s website, this will be a very limited-edition cancellation, only available in September – which will surely be frustrating to the “passport completists” out there. On the other hand, the Lotus and Water Lilly Festival at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, DC is an annual event held each July – so enthusiasts will have another opportunity to collect that stamp next summer.
Perhaps the most striking of the new stamps, however, is the new stamp for Devil’s Hole at Death Valley National Park. Devil’s Hole is home to what most scientists consider to be the world’s rarest fish. The tiny, inch-long, Devil’s Hole pupfish lives nowhere else on earth but this small desert pond of only about 500 square feet in surface area – a space that’s smaller than some master bedrooms that are built these days.
I first learned about Devils Hole when it was mentioned in one of the most memorable and formative stories that I read while growing up. I suppose it says a lot about me, with no further commentary needed, that I was reading Natural History magazine on a monthly basis as a teenager. Make of that what you will, but the January 1993 issue had a haunting article entitled “Species in a Bucket” – the memory of which has still stuck with me. The subject of this story was a close relative of the Devil’s Hole pupfish, this one called the Owens pupfish. The story relates an incident from 1969 in which the author, a wildlife biologist, found himself carrying the entire surviving population of Owens pupfish in two buckets in order to save the species from near-certain extinction due to declining water levels in its native habitat. Fortunately, restoration efforts for this species have led to four established populations, leaving it slightly less-endangered than the Devils Hole pupfish. Nonetheless, this article is worth reading, and Natural History magazine has made it available for free online, so I encourage you to check it out and see if it impacts you as much as it did my younger self.
Finally, a number of National Park Service partners also received stamps this month. Due to limitations of space and time, I’ll simply list them without extensive commentary this month:
Coal National Heritage Area | Princeton Railroad Museum
The Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area is located in northeast Missouri. These eight stamps join two existing stamps for a total of ten. The awkwardly named National Coal Heritage Area is located in southern West Virginia, and now has nine active passport stamp locations.
California National Historic Trail | Fort Bridger, WY
Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail | Fort Bridger, WY
Oregon National Historic Trail | Fort Bridger, WY
Pony Express National Historic Trail | Fort Bridger, WY
Pony Express National Historic Trail | St. Joseph, MO
Its worth noting that Fort Bridger is a Wyoming State Historic Site, and was a notable trading outpost on the western trails. St. Joseph, Missouri is the famous starting point of the short-lived overland mail route.
Santa Fe National Historic Trail | El Rancho de los Golondrias, NM
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail | New Mexico History Museum, NM
North Country National Sceni Trail | Carlton, MN
Capt. John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail |
Havre de Grace, MD
Oxon Hill, MD
Fort Washington, MD
Smallwood State Park, MD
Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum
Historic St. Mary’s City, MD
Point Lookout State Park, MD
Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail |
Montana Natural History Center
National Bison Range
Dry Falls State Park
Columbia Gorge Discovery Center
This is the second stamp for El Rancho de los Golondrias, which already had a stamp for the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail. The town of Santa Fe, New Mexico was a hub of trading activity first for Spanish Mexico, and then for independent Mexico after 1821. The El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro is literally the “Royal Road to the Interior” and connected the colonial capital of Aguascalientes, located in the center of present-day Mexico, to the trading post of Santa Fe. Following Mexican independence in 1821, trade was opened with the United States, and the Santa Fe Trail was a trading route from Missouri to Santa Fe. El Rancho de los Golondrias, literally, “Ranch of the Swallows,” is located about a days’ walk to the south and west of Santa Fe, and so was a popular “last stop” for traders arriving on the camino real for the south. Its a little surprising to see this location receive a stamp for the Santa Fe NHT, as it does not appear to be located on the trail route itself, located as it is just to the west of Santa Fe. However, today the site operates as a living history museum, and its possible that they have added some educational exhibits on the Santa Fe Trail, given the site’s proximity to Santa Fe.
For the North Country National Scenic Trail, Carlton, Minnesota is located just outside of Duluth, on the southwest tip of Lake Superior. It is located adjacent to Jay Cooke State Park, which has long had a passport stamp reading “Minnesota” on it, and so this is probably its first place-specific passport stamp.
Finally, perhaps the highlight of this month’s stamps are the first seven stamps for the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail. Imagine a lake larger than the State of Delaware and more than twice as deep as Lake Superior suddenly letting loose in a massive flood, sending all that water racing at once across hundreds of miles towards the ocean. The force an power of these floods would surely alter the shape of the landscape for thousands of years to come! Geologists tell us that that is exactly what happened approximately 12,000 years ago on the plains of western Montana and easter Washington.
In fact, geologists tell us that similar events happened several times during the previous 5,000 years. The sources of these floods were water and ice from the melting glaciers of the last ice age. Periodically, ice would form a natural dam in a valley, causing a large lake to form. When the ice dam would melt or break, the lake would drain – sometimes violently.
The largest of the floods, which I described above, was also one of the last such floods. Geologists call the source of this flood Glacial Lake Missoula, and when the ice gave way, it let loose at speeds up to 45 miles an hour. At its peak, the flood may have released a torrent of water at the rate of 400 million cubic feet of water per second. As a comparison, the Amazon River only flows at 6 million cubic feet per second.
Its not known if any human had yet arrived in the area to witness this cataclysmic event. Archeologists date the first arrival of humans in the United States right around 12,000 years ago as well. If any early settlers were in the area, the sheer noise of this event must have been as terrifying as the scouring of the landscape.
Congress established the Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail in 2009, and this is the first trail to bear the designation “National Geologic Trail.” Its obviously been quite an effort to get this first National Geologic Trail up and running – but the release of these seven passport stamps is perhaps the first indication that this program is open and ready for discovery.
With this month’s additions there are now 1,981 active passport cancellations to collect. Excluding anniversary and special-event stamps, there are 1,883 passport stamps.
Source: Weis, Paul and William L. Newman. The Channeled Scablands of Eastern Washington: The Geologic Story of the Spokane Flood 2nd Edition. U.S. Department of the Interior and Eastern Washington University Press. 1999.
Update (September 2016): The Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park now has its own website, separate from the National Heritage Corridor. It can be found at http://www.nps.gov/blrv