Grand Canyon National Park | Desert View Watchtower
Lake Mead National Recreation Area |
Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor | New York State
The Desert View Watchtower is a landmark on the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park. It was originally built in the 1930’s, and was designed by female architect Mary Colter. In recent years, the Watchtower had been used as a gift shop by a Park concessionaire, up until the National Park Service taking back management of the building in 2015. In 2016, the Watchtower was reopened after being restored to visitor uses closer to Mary Colter’s original vision of the space. Additionally, the National Park Service has partnered with area American Indian Tribes to include artwork by tribal artists on the site. The stamp this month is a replacement for an existing stamp that had either worn out, or its date had expired.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area is something of a sister park for Grand Canyon, encompassing the lands surrounding the Colorado River in Nevada and Arizona. The park stretches from the point on the Colorado River where Grand Canyon National Park ends the downstream through Lake Mead above the Hoover Dam and Lake Mohave above the the Davis Dam, north of Bullhead City in Arizona.
Prior to this month, there were 9 stamps available for Lake Mead NRA. One is for the main visitor center, located just outside of Boulder City, Nevada. The other eight were for various ranger stations and entrance stations located around the park’s 1.5 million acres. The Boulder Beach and Colville Bay Ranger Stations are both located on the north shore of Lake Mead, relatively near the most-visited section of the park near Boulder City and Las Vegas. With these additions, Lake Mead NRA now has 11 available cancellations. The only remaining Ranger Stations in Lake Mead NRA without their own cancellations are the entrance station at the junction of Lakeshore Road, Northshore Road, and the Lake Mead Parkway and also the remote Meadview Ranger Station in the far eastern portion of the park on the Arizona side of Lake Mead. Perhaps these will be sites for future cancellations?
Finally, the new stamp for the Erie Canalway National Heritage Area, with the generic text “New York State” on the bottom, will be located at the Canalway Headquarters at Peebles Island State Park in Waterford, New York where it will presumably be a replacement for an existing stamp. In an e-mail, the National Park Service staff advises stampers to call ahead before attempting to collect this stamp, as occasionally the staff at the office may be called away to various projects or events on the Canalway.
With this month’s new additions there are now 2,184 active Passport Cancellations, or 2,072 if you exclude the various anniversary and special event cancellations available.
Eastern National has released its list of new cancellations for the month of May, and the list is quite a doozy! A total of 25 new stamps are listed, although many of them are replacements for already-existant stamps. Let’s take a look….
Sequoia National Park | 125th Anniversary 1890 – 2015
Kings Canyon National Park | 75th Anniversary 1940 – 2015
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area | 50th Anniversary 1965-2015
Its starting to look like Parks Passsport enthusiasts may well remember 2015 as being the “Year of the Anniversary Stamps.” At least one new anniversary stamp has been issued each month in 2015, and the trend shows no sign of letting up. I’m still not sure that it makes sense to be making Passport Stamps with adjustable dates that are good for seven years with a single year permanently etched in the bottom text of the circle, but they seem to be popular for the moment!
Its interesting to note the Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park share more than just a a new Passport stamp this month. The two parks share a common superintendent, have a single joint brochure for both of them, and even share the same website (just click the links if you don’t believe me!) In fact, it sometimes appears that the only think keeping Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park from being listed as a single Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park that counts twice is the force of tradition. Still, until these stamps were issued, I’m not sure if I had ever realized that these two national parks were created 50 years apart, almost to the day. Sequoia National Park was established on September 25, 1890 and Kings Canyon National Park was established fifty years and six days later on October 1, 1940. If you are in to anniversary celebrations, it sounds like a trip to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks the last week of September could be a lot of fun!
Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area wouldn’t come along until 1965, and so celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Delaware Water Gap NRA preserves a particularly beautiful section of the Delaware River as it flows past the Pocono Mountains on the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The “water gap” refers to the southern end of this park where the river literally cuts through one of the mountains, creating a “gap” in the mountain. Today, this park is within an easy day’s drive of both the Philadelphia and New York metropolitan areas, making it a great place for residents of those urban areas to get out into the parks.
Stamps for New National Parks
Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument | Nevada
Pullman National Monument
Historic Pullman Foundation
Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
National Pullman Porter Museum
First State National Historical Park
Beaver Valley – Woodlawn Tract
Fort Christina – Wilmington
Old Swede’s Church – Wilmington
The Green – Dover
John Dickinson Plantation
Ryves Holt House – Lewes
Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument was one of four new parks established by Congress in December 2014. Located outside of Las Vegas, NV it preserves the desert landscape as well as fossils of mammoths and other creatures from the last ice age. Right now it doesn’t have any visitor facilities, so its passport stamp is being kept at the Alan Bible Visitor Center for Lake Mead National Recreation Area in nearby Boulder City, Nevada, just to the south of Las Vegas.
Pullman National Monument is an even newer national park than Tule Springs Fossil Beds, having been established by Presidential proclamation in February 2015. I’ve written about Pullman twice already, here and here. Similar to the way in which Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument / National Historical Park in Maryland was established by relying upon other preservation parterns in the area, it appears that Pullman National Monument is following a similar model Pullman NM actually already had its first Passport stamp, reading Chicago, IL on the bottom available at its dedication ceremony, in which President Obama signed his proclamation establishing the new national park right on site. That cancellation is available at the Historic Pullman Foundation’s Visitor Center, which will surely now also have the stamp recognizing the role the Foundation is continuing to play in preserving and interpreting this site. The Foundation is curently offering tours of the site on the first Sunday of the month, and will continue to own and manage some of the historic buildings on the site, including the Market Hall. Likewise, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency will also continue to own and manage some of the historic properties at this site, including the architecturally-significant (and beautiful) Hotel Florence. Finally, until the National Park Service is able to open its own visitor center at the site, one of the best ways to learn about the history of the Pullman company town, which is now a national monument, will be a visit to the National A. Philip Randolph Pullman Porter Museum, which is also located on-site.
First State National Monument was originally proclaimed by President Obama in March 2013 with three sub-units, Dover Green in the State Capitol, the old New Castle Courthouse in New Castle, and the Brandywine Preserve in Wilmington. In December 2014, Congress renamed this parkFirst State National Historical Park, and also authorized expanding its boundaries to include a few additional sites. In February 2015, new stamps were issued for the original three sites with the new name, First State National Historical Park, as well as for two of the new sites. This month, it appears that new stamps have been issued with new bottom text for four of those first five sites (only the New Castle Courthouse site is not listed), as well as for two new sites, both in Wilmington. One is for the Old Swedes Church, which claims to be the oldest continuously-used house of worship as originally built in the United States, with a history stretching back to 1698. The other is for nearby Fort Christina, the site of the colony of New Sweden way back in 1638. The story of Swedish settlement in the United States is not one that is often told, so these should be very interesting additions to the National Park System.
Stamps for Existing National Parks
Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area | Helenwood, TN
Gateway National Recreation Area | Ryan VC – Floyd Bennett Field
Yellowstone National Park | Wyoming
St. Croix National Scenic River
St. Croix River
St. Croix Visitor Center
Namekagon Visitor Center
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in northeastern Tennessee and southeastern Kentucky has recently been adding Passport cancellations for visitor facilities in its gateway communities. In addition to the long-standing three stamps for the Park’s three visitor contact stations at Oneida, TN; Stearns, KY; and Blue Heron (a historic coal mininng community near Stearns, KY) the Park added stamps for Crossville, TN and Historic Rugby, TN in August 2014. Helenwood, TN is also a gateway community, and is the latest addition to this program. You can check out a Parkasuaurs Trip Report from this Park here.
Gateway National Recreation Area includes a number sites in the immediate vicinity of New York City in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and northern New Jersey. Floyd Bennett Field was New York City’s first municipal airport, and now provides urban recreational opportunities, including campaing. The Ryan Visitor Center is the National Park Service’s main visitor facility there, and this stamp replaces a previously-existant stamp.
Its not clear what to make of a new stamp for Yellowstone National Park that simply says “Wyoming” on the bottom. Yellowstone currently offers 13 different Passport cancellations throughout the Park, and it appears that this would be the 14th.
The St. Croix National Scenic Riverway includes the St. Croix River and its main tributary, the Namekagon River. Its hard to tell what to make of the stamp that simply reads “St. Croix River,” but the “St. Croix Visitor Center” will likely replace the existing stamp at the visitor center in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border; and the the “Namekagon Visitor Center” stamp will likely replace the existing stamp at the visitor center in Trego, Wisconsin in the northern part of the state. This park also includes older stamps for the “Marshland District” and for “Minnesota-Wisconsin” that are kept under the counter at the Namekagon Visitor Center. There is also one other stamp at Prescott, WI at the Great River Road Visitor & Learning Center in Prescott, Wisconsin where the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway meets the Mississippi National River & Recreation Area.
Stamps for Park Partners
Old Spanish National Historic Trail | Canyons of the Ancients NM
With these new additions, Parkasaurus now counts 1,900 active Passport cancellations currently available, or 1,818 stamps excluding anniversary stamps and other special event or special program stamps.
I’m a little late again this month, but Eastern National has released its new Passport stamps for the month of January, and the list contains four brand-new stamps and five sort-of-new stamps.
First the brand new ones:
Yosemite National Park | 125th Annivesary 1890-2015
Lake Mead NRA | The Boulevard
Lake Mead NRA | Lakeshore
Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm NHA | Girdwood, AK
At Parkasaurus, we’re not really fans of single-year anniversary stamps, like this one for Yosemite National Park. The typical Passport Stamp has an adjustable year that is good for 5-7 years, so it doesn’t seem to make sense to produce one that is specific to a single anniversary year. Instead, I’d much rather see the parks use their creative juices to create special stamps for their anniversaries, such as this particularly beautiful one for the recently-completed 75th Anniversary of the Natchez Trace Parkway.
The last two new stamps are for Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Lake Mead is the reservoir created by Hoover Dam, just to the south and west of Las Vegas, Nevada. It apears that these two new stamps will be used to provide unique, place-specific stamps for two of this national park’s entrance stations, one located on Lake Mead Boulevard heading west out of Las Vegas from the north, and the other on Lakeshore Drive heading west out of Las Vegas from the south. These two new additions will give Lake Mead NRA a total of at least 10 Passport Stamps, one at each of the park’s Visitor Centers, Ranger Stations, and Entrance Stations, along with a generic passport stamp without any specific location on it.
Finally, the Eastern National list also announced five “new” stamps for Olympic National Park: Kalaloch Ranger Station, Mora Ranger Station, Quinault Ranger Station, Storm King Ranger Station, and Port Angeles Visitor Center. I put new in quotes there, because each of these five locations has already had a slightly-different passport stamp. What constitutes a “new” passport stamp is always in the eye of the beholder, of course, but for purposes of Parkasaurus, these stamps won’t add to the national stamp total.
Thus, based on the four new additions above, we now have a total of 1,954 Passport Stamps available out there to collect!