Tag Archives: Channel Islands

Kate Mullany NHS Gets Its First Cancellation, And more!

The List for August 2019

Channel Islands National Park – Santa Rosa Island

Yosemite National Park |
– Happy Isles Art and Nature Center
– Mariposa Grove

Gulf Islands National Seashore |
– Rosamond Johnson Beach
– Ship Island
– William M. Colmer Visitor Center

Kate Mullany National History Site | Troy, NY

California National Historic Trail | National Frontier Trails Museum, MO
Oregon National Historic Trail | National Frontier Trails Museum, MO

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail |
– Historic Locust Grove, KY
– Nebraska City, NE
– St. Charles, MO
– Steubenville, OH
– Trail of Tears State Park, MO

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail |
– Natchez Trace PKWY – Meriwether Lewis Site, TN
– Natchez Trace PKWY – Mount Locust, TN
– Natchez Trace PKWY – Ridgeland, MS
– Natchez Trace PKWY – Tupelo, MS
– Tennessee Aquarium – Chattanooga, TN

Stories Behind the Stamps

An abandoned ranch on Santa Cruz Island in Channel Islands National Park. Nearby Santa Rosa Island is a new addition to the Passport Program this month. Photo from 2007.

Leading off this month’s list is a sixth stamp for Channel Islands National Park. Channel Islands National Park consists of five of the eight major islands located off the coast of Los Angeles in Southern California. The park includes all four of the northern islands, as well as small Santa Barbara Island to the south. Santa Rosa is the last of the five islands in the national park to get its own passport cancellation. The sixth cancellation for the Park is located at the mainland visitor center in Ventura, California.

Access to Santa Rosa Island is either by charter flight, or by a 2+hour each way concessionaire boat trip, which according to the Park website currently runs a couple times a week from April through early November. If you are planning your first trip to Channel Islands National Park, you may want to consider a trip to a trip to Anacapa Island or Santa Cruz Island, which are each only about a one hour’s boat ride.

For Yosemite National Park, the Happy Isles Nature Center in Yosemite Valley has been renamed the Happy Isles Art and Nature Center. The new name reflects that the Yosemite Conservancy, which operates the site, offers not just nature programs, but also art programs for kids and adults alike. The Mariposa Grove of giant sequoia trees is located in the southern end of the park. The Mariposa Grove reopened to the public in 2018 after a three year restoration .

The beach in the Santa Rosa Area of Gulf Islands National Seashore, which has three new or updated cancellations this month. Photo Credit: NPS

Gulf Islands National Seashore has a total of ten cancellations, and all three on this month’s list are replacements for existing cancellations. On the Mississippi side of the park you can visit the William M. Colmer Visitor Center in the town of Ocean Springs, as well as the nearby Davis Bayou picnic area, which has its own cancellation. Ocean Springs is also the departure point for ferries to Ship Island where you can enjoy white sand beaches and explore historic Fort Massachusetts.

Gulf Islands National Seashore is unusual in that it has units in both Mississippi and Florida, but does not have any land in Alabama. Cancellations for Fort Barrancas and the Advanced Redoubt can be found at the Fort Barrancas Visitor Center on the grounds of the Pensacola Naval Air Station. Another cancellation for the Naval Live Oaks Visitor Center can be found in the nearby town of Gulf Breeze, Florida, located just across Pensacola Bay from the city of Pensacola itself. Then there are cancellations for the each of the remaining beaches on the Florida barrier islands, including the Santa Rosa Area on Opal Beach, the Fort Pickens Area on Pensacola Beach, and the Rosamond Johnson Beach on Perdido Key.

The Kate Mullany National Historic Site in Troy, New York received its first cancellation this month. Photo Credit: Brian Bailey, 2011

Kate Mullany National Historic Site in Troy, New York, a suburb of Albany, is one of 23 Affiliated Areas of the U.S. National Park System. Affiliated Areas are recognized by Congress for being nationally-significant, but are not directly managed by the National Park Service. As such, Affiliated Areas don’t count towards the total of 400+ Units of the National Park System (currently 419 as of this writing), but do receive technical assistance from the National Park Service on managing their significant resources – as well as additional recognition.

Kate Mullany immigrated to the United States from Ireland at a young age with the rest of her family. After the death of her father, she took a job in a laundry to support the rest of her family, including her mother, who was in ill health. Conditions in the laundry were difficult, demanding 12+ hour days for only $3 a week in wages. In February of 1864, Kate Mullany successfully organized around 300 laundry workers across several businesses to form the first labor union in the United States primarily for female workers. Shortly after organizing, they launched a six day strike and were successful in winning a 25% pay increase. Her home in Troy, New York was designated a National Historic Site in 2005 and is also home to the American Labor Studies Center. The website for the Center has a great short biography of Kate Mullany that is well worth reading.

The National Fronter Trails Museum is a certified site for five National Historic Trails. Photo from 2016.

Independence, Missouri is famously the traditional starting point of the Oregon Trail, as well as the home of Harry S Truman National Historic Site. The National Frontier Trails Museum is a little gem of a museum that provides exhibits on the Oregon, California, Mormon Pioneer, Santa Fe, and Lewis and Clark National Historic Trails – the great trails of western settlement and exploration. The exhibits use excerpts from diary and journal entries to really bring the experience of the journey westward undertaken by these explorers and pioneers to life. The new cancellations for the Oregon and California National Historic Trails replace existing “generic” cancellations that listed all the states for each trail.

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail already had a place-specific stamp at the National Frontier Trails Musem. It adds five new cancellations, three of which are related to the recent eastward extension of the trail from St. Louis, Missouri back to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The reconstructed 18th-Century Historic Fort Steuben in Steubenville, Ohio is open from May to October. The original fort was already abandoned by the time of the expedition, but Meriwether Lewis passed through the area on his journey eastward to assemble to the Corps of Discovery in St. Charles, Missouri. The Lewis and Clark Boathouse in St. Charles includes a replica keelboat and two replica pirogues, all of which are seaworthy and are occasionally used in reenactments.

The Missouri River Basin Lewis & Clark Center in Nebraska City, Nebraska includes a replica of the explorers’ keelboat, as well as a replica Plains Indian earth lodge. Missouri’s Trail of Tears State Park is located near the city of Cape Girardeau, about an hour’s drive north of the confluence between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Meriwether Lewis would have passed by this area on his preparatory journey, and both Lewis and Clark would have passed by here on their return home. Locust Grove in Louisville, Kentucky was the estate of William Clark’s sister and husband. Lewis and Clark stopped here in 1806 and celebrated the return of the expedition with Clark’s family.

Finally, the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail adds four locations along the Natchez Trace Parkway this month, including the site where Meriwether Lewis died, most likely by suicide. Mount Locust Plantation, Ridgeland, and Tupelo are all locations of other Visitor Centers along the Parkway. The famous Tennessee Aquarium may seem like an unlikely location for a Trail of Tears passport cancellation, but the aquarium shares its location with the Chattanooga History Center – which does provide interpretation of Chattanooga’s role in the 19th Century removal of American Indians to present-day Oklahoma.

Final Shot: The Meriwether Lewis Site on the Natchez Trace Parkway, where Lewis met his untimely demise. Photo from 2008.
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Welcome Waco Mammoth National Monument as the 408th National Park

A mural of what the Columbian Mammoth herd may have looked like at Waco.  Photo from nps.gov
A mural of what the Columbian Mammoth herd may have looked like at Waco. Photo from nps.gov

Its amazing to think that less than one year ago, there were not any  national parks specifically dedicated to mammoth fossils – and now there are two!  The first is the Tule Springs Fossil Beds near Las Vegas, Nevada, which was established by Congress in December 2014.  The second is the newest unit of the National Park System, the Waco Mammoth National Monument, which was established by Presidential Proclamation under the Antiquities Act on July 10, 2015.  Prior to 2014 there were six national parks specifically dedicated to fossils in the name of the park, but all of them from eras predating the age of the mammoths:

By contrast,  mammoths lived  in North America during the Pleistocene time period, from about 2 million years ago to around 10,000 years ago.  Specifically, the mammoths at Tule Springs died approximately 250,000 years ago and the mammoths at Waco died approximately 68,000 years ago.   The mammoths at both sites are considered to be Columbian Mammoths, a species of mammoth that is related to the smaller, but more-famous, Wooly Mammoths that lived in Siberia and northern North America.  Likewise, both sites would predate the arrival of the first humans to the Americas, which different theories date as occuring anywhere between 12,000 years ago to as much as 40,000 years ago.

In addition to the age of their respective mammoth fossils being hundreds of thousands of years apart, two other things distinguish Waco Mammoth National Monument from Tule Springs National Monument and make them each unique in their own way.  First, Tule Springs is currently almost completely undeveloped.  It has no visitor center, and no displays of exposed fossils, whether in situ (still in the ground) or anywhere else.  Visiting it requires some hiking and some imagination. The second is that the Waco site preserves a nursery herd of mammoths – the only known such fossils of its kind in the United States.  This makes the fossils here especially valuable, as they tell us a great deal about how mammoths reproduced, raised their young, and how they lived with others.

The Waco Mammoth Site features displays of mammoth fossils still located in the ground.  Photo Credit: E. Wilson
The Waco Mammoth Site features displays of mammoth fossils still located in the ground. Photo Credit: E. Wilson

 

Although these are the first two national parks specifically dedicated to mammoth fossils, it turns out that mammoth fossils can be found as a secondary feature at a few other national parks.  Among the most notable is Channel Islands National Park.  Although most visitors to Channel Islands National Park, located off the cost of Los Angeles, California, either go for the scenery, or perhaps for activities like sea kayaking, hiking, or whale watching, 40,000 years ago the Channel Islands were home to the Pygmy Mammoth, a species found nowhere else in the world.

There are also two other national parks that are dedicated to the archeology of the peoples who hunted mammoths.   Bering Land Bridge National Preserve is in one of the remotest corners of western Alaska, and preserves the archeological legacy of the first American settlers who likely followed herds of wooly mammoths across the Bering Land Bridge at the end of the last ice age.   The second is Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument in the panhandle of north Texas, where some of the earliest Americans obtained flint for their spearheads with which to hunt the Columbian Mammoths found at Waco and at Tule Springs.  Naturally, the presence of humans at both sites indicates that they are much more recent than the two new national monuments dedicated to mammoths.

Likewise, it should be mentioned that perhaps the most-famous mammoth fossil site in the United States is not part of the U.S. National Park System.  Mammoth fossils have been found at the La Brea tar pits near Los Angeles, California which is now part of the Page Museum.  The fossils there also date from relatively recent history, from between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago.

Mammoths were also featured by the National Park Service as part of the 2012 National Fossil Day artwork.  According to their info, mammoth fossils have also been found at Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve in Colorado,  Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on the Utah-Arizona border, and of all places, Valley Forge National Historical Park in Pennsylvania.

Nevertheless, very few visitors to these Parks would have come away with any deeper appreciation for the way in which mammoth fossils are found, or for the ways in which mammoths lived and thrived in this country, literally for millions of years.   Waco Mammoth National Monument in particular will provide an outstanding opportunity for education about these wonderful creatures.

Its fascintating to think about how sites like Waco Mammoth connect to our present-day world.   Although these were not the Wooly Mammoths of Siberia, its still amazing to think of these giant beasts living in places like central Texas, Las Vegas, and southern California.  In fact, these giant beasts roamed here “only” a few tens of thousands of years, which really puts into context the tens of millions of years that separate us from the other fossil-focused national parks in the National Park System.

Another example of the outstanding mammoth fossils at the Waco Mammoth National Monument.  Photo credit: E. Wilson
Another example of the outstanding mammoth fossils at the Waco Mammoth National Monument. Photo credit: E. Wilson

 

(*) – It should be noted that a single fossil mammoth was found at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in 2002, but mammoths are not the primary focus of interpretation and education there.Share this Parkasaurus post: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail
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