Jimmy Carter NHS | – Plains High School – Plains, GA – Plains Depot – 1976 Campaign HQ – Boyhood Farm – Archery, GA
Badlands National Park | Ben Reifel VC – Interior, SD
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park | Swains Lock #21 – Travilah, MD
Chickasaw National Recreation Area | Travertine Nature Center 50th Anniversary 1969-2019
Honouliuli National Historic Site | Waipahu, HI
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park | Atlanta, GA
Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve | Illinois Valley Visitor Center
White Sands National Park | Alamogordo, NM
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network | – Columbia Crossing River Trails Center – Sultana Education Foundation – Zimmerman Center for Heritage
Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail | Yankton, SD
Stories Behind the Stamps
Jimmy Carter National Historic Site gets three cancellations this month, two of them new. The main visitor center for this park has always been located in the former Plains High School, and this new stamp replaces the existing cancellation for the park. Just around the corner is the Plains Train Depot, which Jimmy Carter used as the headquarters for his 1976 Presidential Campaign. The third location, the farm where Jimmy Carter grew up, is located about three miles outside of town.
The Carter NHS is unusual in that Jimmy Carter himself rather famously still lives in this town. It is hard to overstate just how small the tiny town of Plains really is – but with a population of fewer than 800, it is very, very small. Thus, Jimmy Carter effectively lives in a national park dedicated in his honor. The situation definitely left with me with mixed feelings on my previous visit to this site. On one hand, it would surely be foolish to hold off on the process of protecting historic resources associated with Presidents until those Presidents have passed away. On the other hand, it is surely an odd situation for any human being to live out ones life while surrounded by such a situation.
For many park travelers, one of the highlights of a visit to Jimmy Carter NHS is supplementing the trip with a visit to Maranatha Baptist Church, located just outside of town, where Jimmy Carter himself still regularly teaches Sunday School before Sunday morning worship services. The former President then regularly poses for photographs and selfies with the attendees. Particularly if this aligns with your own faith traditions, attending Sunday School with the honoree of a Unit of the National Park System is certainly a unique opportunity – and an opportunity that will only last for a handful more years, given that Jimmy Carter is 95 years old, albeit a very healthy 95 years old. This month’s new cancellations provide another reason to go and take advantage of that opportunity, should you be interested.
Chicakasaw National Recreation Area can be found in south-central Oklahoma. It preserves a number of natural springs, as well as providing resevoir-based recreation. Their new cancellation this month celebrates the 50th anniversary of their Travertine Nature Center.
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail has issued an updated cancellation to be located at the visitor center and headquarters for the Missouri National Recreational River in Yankton, South Dakota. The Missouri National Recreational River preserves two free-flowing segments of the mighty Missouri River amidst a large stretch that has otherwise been heavily dammed by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The final three cancellations this month for the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network partnership program are for three locations that already had Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail cancellations. The Columbia Crossing Center is located on the Susquehanna River in the town of Columbia, Pennysylvania and the nearby Zimmerman Center for Heritage is located just downstream in the town of Wrightsville. The Sultana Education Center can be found in Chestertown, Maryland on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The Sultana is a replica 18th-century schooner that is just one component of the comprehensive environmental educational programs offered by the namesake foundation.
Canaveral National Seashore | Apollo Beach Playalinda Beach
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park | Iron Furnace 1819 Tri-State Marker
Cuyahoga Valley National Park | Cuyahoga River Water Trail
Gateway Arch National Park | Old Courthouse
Guadalupe Mountains National Park | Guadalupe Peaks – The Top of Texas Salt Basin Dunes Williams Ranch
Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area | Freeport, IL Jonesboro, IL Petersburg, IL Pontiac, IL
Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial | Living Historical Farm
Fort Sumter & Fort Moultrie National Historical Park | Charleston Harbor, SC Fort Moultrie Liberty Square
Reconstruction Era National Historical Park | Beaufort, SC Port Royal, SC St. Helena Island, SC
Cedar Breaks National Monument | Brianhead, Utah
Fort Hunt Park | Fairfax, VA Fort Marcy Park | Fairfax, VA
Olympic National Park | Hoodsport WIC Port Angeles WIC
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail | Port Tobacco, MD
Coal National Heritage Area | Ashland Company Store
Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail | Las Lagunas de Anza, CA
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network | Roving Ranger Annapolis, MD
Stories Behind the Stamps
Leading off the new stamps this month are two new cancellations for Canaveral National Seashore on Florida’s Space Coast. Its fitting that a stamp for “Apollo Beach” is being issued in the same year that we are celebrating the historic 50th Anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing. Canaveral National Seashore shares the Cape with Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, as well as the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. As near as I can tell, though, Apollo Beach has no significance to the space program other than being named in its honor.
The Seashore itself is divided into three beaches on the barrier islands just to the north of the Kennedy Space Center. The new cancellation for Apollo Beach is possibly a replacement for the existing Passport cancellation reading “New Smyrna Beach, FL,” which is the closest town to Apollo Beach. Apollo Beach is the northern-most beach in the park, and is where the park’s main visitor center is, as well as the historic Eldora state house from an early 20th-century resort. Despite this fact, Apollo Beach actually gets significantly less visitation than Playalinda Beach, the southern-most beach in the park. Playalinda, which means “beautiful beach” in Spanish, is only accessible by driving through the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and there may be temporary access restrictions during space launch activity at the nearby Kennedy Space Center.
Located between Apollo Beach and Playalinda Beach is Klondike Beach, but it is not accessible by car, and so does not have its own Passport cancellation, at least not yet.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, located in far western Texas added three cancellations this month, giving it a total of 8 active cancellations. Seven of the eight stamps are available at the park’s Pine Springs Visitor Center on the south side of the park, including all three of the new stamps. One of the new stamps commemorates the fact that Guadalupe Peak at 8,751 feet is the highest point in Texas. The peak is accessible through a well-marked 4.2 mile one-way trail from the Visitor Center. The Salt Basin Dunes are stunning white gypsum sand dunes. To access the dunes requires a one hour drive around to the remote west side of the park, and then a one mile hike. The access road is impassable when wet, so this will not be a destination for every park visitor. The Williams Ranch is accessible only by special permit with a high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle or else a strenuous 10+ mile one way hike. Suffice to say, that will be a destination that few park visitors will make it to.
The overall stamp for the park reads “Salt Flat, Texas.” The park also has a cancellation commemorating the path of the Butterfield Overland Mail Route through the park. There is also a stamp for the nearby historic Frijole Ranch. The last stamp at the main visitor center is for McKittrick Canyon, which is located a 45 minute drive around to the east side of the park. The McKittrick Canyon area has three hiking trails, a self-guided nature trail, the geology-focused Permian Reef trail, and the main trail into McKittrick Canyon itself.
The eighth stamp for Guadalupe Mountains National Park is for Dog Canyon on the north side of the park. Dog Canyon is only accessible from New Mexico, and is a 2.5 hour drive from the Pine Springs Visitor Center.
Cumberland Gap National Historic Park has added two new stamps this month to encourage visitors to more thoroughly explore all the places this park has to offer, although all stamps are located at the main visitor center – the only stamping location for the park. The Cumberland Gap is the famous location where Daniel Boone led settlers west of the Appalachian on the Wilderness Road. The Tri-State Marker commemorates the joint border of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia inside the park. It is accessible by a 1.2 mile one-way hike from the Wilderness Road Parking Lot on the Pinnacle View Road. The Iron Furnace is an easy two-tenths of a mile hike from the Iron Furnace Parking Area located at 902 Pennlynn Avenue in the nearby town of Cumberland Gap, Tennessee (although the trail is located entirely in Virginia.
These two new additions give Cumberland Gap NHP a total of seven active non-anniversary Passport cancellations. A stamp reading “Middlesboro, KY” is the overall stamp for the Park. There are also cancellations at the main visitor center available for the Wilderness Road Trail, the Pinnacle Overlook, the Gap Cave, and the Hensley Settlement. The Wilderness Road Trail and Pinnacle Overlook are easily accessible from the main park road. The Gap Cave is only accessible by a one mile hike, followed by a half mile inside the cave, and requires closed-toe shoes; children under 5 are not permitted. The historic Hensley Settlement is ordinarily only accessible by guided tour with advance reservations, but all tours have been cancelled for 2019 due to deteriorated road conditions.
Gateway Arch National Park gets a new stamp this month for the Old Courthouse. In addition to preserving the iconic Gateway Arch in St. Louis, this National Park also preserves the Old Courthouse, which served as a site for both Federal and state courts. The Old Courthouse was where the Missouri Courts, including the Missouri Supreme Court, heard the the Dred Scott cases. Those cases ultimately resulted in the infamous 1857 US Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford, which bizarrely and controversially held that “black people” were not, and indeed, never could be, citizens of the United States.
Gateway Arch National Park is not thought often thought about as a “Civil War” park. However, it does tell the story of how the Nation’s westward expansion made our tenuous compromise on the issue of slavery ever-more unstable. Ironically, Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, the author of the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, thought that he was writing a decision that would help settle the issue of slavery. In fact, the infamous decision further set the Nation on a course towards Civil War.
The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in southern Indiana commemorates the time that America’s greatest President spent in Indiana, in between the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Kentucky and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois. As the designation of the site as a national memorial implies, little remains of the Lincoln family home from this time period, other than what has been revealed by archeologists. However, in addition to the memorial structure itself, the site includes a living history farm as a tribute to Lincoln’s formative years here.
The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area adds four new cancellations. Freeport, Illinois was the site of one of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, and has a memorial to the debate that occurred there as well as a historic museum. Jonesboro, Illinois was the site of the third Lincoln-Douglas debate, and likewise has a memorial and offices for the Shawnee National Forest, where the cancellation will be located. Pontiac, Illinois was one of the many communities were Lincoln practiced law and today has a museum dedicated to Historic Route 66. The new cancellation for Petersburg, Illinois will apparently be located at the Riverbank Lodge resort.
The Cuyahoga River Water Trail is an ambitious proposal to encourage the use of the restored Cuyahoga River for boating and paddling of all kinds. The section of the Cuyahoga River flowing through Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of five designated segments along the trail.
Two national parks in South Carolina received new names thanks to the Dingell Act, and now have updated cancellations. Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park was famously the site of the opening salvos in the American Civil War. South Carolinian-occupied batteries on the mainland opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, which was occupied by Federal troops. The main visitor center for the park is located on Liberty Square in downtown Charleston, and is also the primary departure point for boat excursions to Fort Sumter on the island. Fort Moultrie is located just across the river from Liberty Square and played only a minor role in the bombardment of Fort Sumter. Today it shows the history of coastal defenses all the way from the antebellum years through to the Second World War. The Reconstruction Era National Historical Park includes three sites related to the integration of the freed slaves into society following emancipation. Located in and around Beaufort, South Carolina, a short drive from Charleston, the area provides an interesting set of “book ends” with the place where the Civil War began and some of the places where the post-war era began.
Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area | Charleston, IL
Oil Region National Heritage Area |
Oil City, PA
Drake Well Museum
Pumping Jack Museum
DeBence Antique Music World
National Aviation Heritage Area | WACO Air Museum
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail | Albuquerque Museum, NM
North Country National Scenic Trail | Jay Cooke State Park, MN
Oregon National Historic Trail |
Homestead NM of America, NE
McLoughlin House, OR
Harry S Truman NHS, MO
Pony Express National Historic Trail |
B. F. Hastings Building, CA
Fort Sedgwick Museum, CO
Pony Express National Museum
Old Sacramento Visitor Center, CA
Santa Fe National Historic Trail | Bent’s Old Fort NHS, CO
Trail of Tears National Historic Trial |
Great Smoky Mountains NP – Oconoaluftee, NC
Great Smoky Mountains NP – Sugarlands, TN
Hidden Springs, Shawnee NF, IL
Mississippi Bluffs, Shawnee NF, IL
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail | St. Mary’s County Museum Division, MD
Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail | St. Mary’s County Museum Division, MD
Underground Railroad Freedom Network | St. Mary’s County Museum Division, MD
As I get caught up, I am going to combine two months of stamps from last winter.
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area straddles the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and provides a relatively close National Park experience for millions of residents in the New York and Pennsylvania metro areas, as well as millions more residents of eastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey. The park has historically had six cancellation locations, and this months listings simply represent a “reboot” of the same six cancellation locations, with a consistent lexicon for each location on the bottoms of the new stamps.
More interesting are the new stamps for Everglades National Park. This park already has six cancellation locations, including one at each of this massive national park’s five visitor centers. The sixth is for the Nike Missile Site, which was added in January 2016. The three new additions this month are for each of the three authorized airboat tour operators within Everglades National Park. So getting a complete set of Passport cancellations for this Park will now require visiting each of the three authorized airboat concessionaires. I’m trying to think of a parallel for placing Passport cancellations at multiple concessionaires, but I think that this may be a first.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has been much in the news lately for the ongoing volcanic eruption that closed most of the park for several months in 2018. The Kahuku Unit, however, is an outlying area of the park, away from the main crater of Kilauea. It is one of the only parts of the park that was able to remain open during the eruption event.
A highlight of this group of stamps are the first five stamps for the Oil Region National Heritage Area, which previously did not have any passport cancellation locations. The headquarters of the Oil Region Alliance are located in Oil City, PA, along with the Venango Museum of Art, Science, and Industry. The Drake Well Museum, the fist commercially-successful oil well, is just to the north in the town of Titusville, Pennsylvania. The Pumping Jack Museum, dedicated to the symbol of oil wells everywhere, can be found in the town of Emlemton, Pennsylvania. Finally, the DeBence Antique Music World is a museum dedicated to antique mechanical musical instruments in the town of Franklin.
The National Aviation Heritage Area has had a number of unofficial passport cancellations for its “Wil-bear Wright Passport Program” (a special program specific to the National Heritage Area) for a number of years, but the new stamp for the WACO Air Museum in Troy, Ohio is its first official Passport to Your National Parks cancellation. The museum is dedicated to the history of the historic WACO Air Company; for a time it was the largest manufacturer of civil aircraft in the country during the early days in the history of aviation.
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.
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!Share this Parkasaurus post: Follow Parkasaurus:
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/blrvShare this Parkasaurus post: Follow Parkasaurus:
Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area preserves almost all of the off-shore islands in Boston Harbor, including a few that are now connected to the mainland. The stamp for Little Brewster Island is the fifth active stamp for this park. It joins a stamp for “Boston, MA” on the mainland at Long Wharf in dowtown Boston, as well as stamps for Georges Island, Peddocks Island, and Spectacle Island. The 34 islands that comprise this park include a mix of natural scenery, historic resources related to 19th century harbor defenses, and outstanding recreational opportunities. Little Brewster Island is the most-distant of the four islands with stamps, located some 8 miles from downtown Boston.
(As a side note, it should be noted that Boston Harbor Islands NRA previously had a stamp for the Gateway Pavillion information center in downtown Boston, but that stamp has not been available since 2013. Meanwhile, according to the Park map there are Ranger Stations on at least four other islands, so this park may yet add additional stamps in the months and years to come.)
Olympic National Park is one of the true gems of the U.S. National Park System, located on Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. This stamp for the concessionarie at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort is one of 14 cancellations available around this large national park. The Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort is located in the temperate forests on the northern side of the park in the valley of the Sol Duc River.
The new stamps for North Manitou Island at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore makes for five cancellations at this national park located on the shores of Lake Michigan in the western part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Three of those stamps are on the mainland, and now there is a stamp for both South Manitou Island and North Manitou Island located off-shore in Lake Michigan.
The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail connects sites in Arizona and California along the route taken by de Anza in 1776 to establish the settlement of San Francisco. Fort Ord National Monument was established by President Obama in 2012 on the former site of the military base of the same name on Monterey Bay. Thus, this month marks the first two stamps in the Passport Program to be located in the world-famous scenic destination of Monterey, California. The Big Break Regional Park preserves some of the land on the San Joaquin River Delta at the base of San Francisco Bay.
The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail marks Smith’s voyages of exploration in the Chesapeake Bay from 1607-1609. This month, stamps appear to have been added for just about every Virginia State Park located on the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, Chickahominy Riverfront Park is a local park located in James City County, Virginia. Henricus Historical Park commemorates a famous #2 – it recreates the second successful English settlement in the New World. It was established 80 miles up the James River in 1611 by settlers departing from Jamestown. Mathews County Virginia has a Visitor and Information Center for its network of water trails to explore. Reedville, Virginia is located at the end of Virginia’s Northern Neck, on the Chesapeake Bay. Its Fisherman’s Museum is also a stamping location for the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. Vienna, Maryland is the launching point for the Nanticoke River Water Trail, which runs along the Nanticoke River all the way into southern Delaware.
The Thomas Stone National Historic Site is also an outright national park, located in the small town of Port Tobacco in southern Maryland. It preserves the home of one of Maryland’s signers of the Declaration of Independence. It probably would not have made it in to the National Park System on its own, but for the fact that the house was damaged by fire in 1977, and designation as a national park site the next year was about the only way to save it from the wrecking ball. The new stamps for the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail and Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail both replace existing stamps that were already at the site, reflecing both the site’s scenic location on the Potomac River and on the route of the British invasion of Maryland during the War of 1812. This site also had a generic stamp listing all the states of the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail, but this its first stamp specific to the site itself. This trail marks the route of American General George Washington and the French General Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau from Newport, Rhode Island to Yorktown, Virginia at the end of the Revolutionary War. The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network and the Underground Railroad: Network to Freedom are two National Park Service partnership programs, reflecting this park’s location on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and as a former plantation were slaves lived, worked, and occasionally, escaped to freedom.
The National Park Travelers Club is a social Club that provides networking for Passport stamp collectors. They now have nine passport stamps that will be available at their member-meetups, one stamp for each Passport region.
Due to some extensive travels, I never made a post on the new June stamps, so here in one big post are all the new stamps from Eastern National for June and July – a grand total of 18 over the two months!
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument | 50th Anniversary 1965-2015
Dinosaur National Monument | 100th Anniversary 1915-2015
Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve | Cave Junction, OR
Golden Gate National Recreation Area:
Golden Gate Bridge
Nike MIssile Site
Point Bonita Lighthouse
Juan Bautista de Anza NHT
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail | Falmouth, VA
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail | Cherokee Removal MEM Park, TN
Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area
Highway 61 Blues Museum
Birthplace of the Frog
Badlands National Park | White River VC
North Country National Scenic Trail | Lowell, MI
Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail |
The new stamp for Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve reflects its new name and expanded boundaries. In December 2014, Congress expanded the boundaries to include some of the unspoiled scenery and pristine waterways surrounding the Oregon Caves as a “Preserve.” Somewhat confusingly, however, Congress did not make this yet another national park that “counts twice,” unlike most of the other “& Preserve” parks in the National Park System.
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area includes numerous parklands and historic sites within the city of San Francisco and its immediate suburbs. Indeed, this park has Passport stamps scattered across 21 different locations, and all 8 of this month’s locations previously had stamps. The Golden Gate Bridge Pavillion received its first stamp for the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th Anniversary in 2012, and so now appears to have a permanent stamp of its own. Additionally, Fort Point National Historic Site, located below the Golden Gate Bridge, and Muir Woods National Monument, located in nearby Mill Valley, are actually separate units of the National Park System. They previously had stamps for Golden Gate NRA that read “San Francisco, CA” on the bottom, but now have place-specific stamps of their own for their dual status under the management of Golden Gate NRA.
Badlands National Park preserves spectacular scenary in South Dakota. The White River Visitor Center services the less-visited Stronghold Unit in the southern portion of the national park, and is located with the Oglala Sioux Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Previously, this visitor center had a non-standard stamp courtesy of the Oglala Sioux Parks and Recreation Authority, which operates the visitor center, but this is the location’s first official stamp.
The North Country National Scenic Trail does not count as its own national park, but will run an impressive 4,600 miles (once completed) across the northern United States from Lake Champlain on the New York-Vermont border to Lake Sakakawea in central North Dakota. Lowell, Michigan is the site of the headquarters offices of the North Country Trail Assocation, which is helping to make this route a reality.
Finally, the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trali is the National Park Service’s main program on the Chesapeake Bay. Officially, it’s a set of water routes that commemorate the explorations of the Bay and its tributaries by John Smith between 1607 and 1609. Fort Monroe National Monument is now its own unit of the National Park System near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. Meanwhile, Wrightsville, PA is at the far northern end of John Smith’s explorations, on the banks of the Susquehanna River near present-day York, Pennsyvlania.
With these new additions there are now 1,915 active Passport cancelations out there, or 1,827 if you exclude the various anniversary and special program stamps.