Tag Archives: Wrangell-St. Elias

October 2017 – Motorcities NHA Reboots Its Passport Program & More!

The Navajo Bridge in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is one of the new cancellations this month. Photo Credit: Mark Averitt – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51725523

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area |

  • Marble Canyon
  • Navajo Bridge, Marble Canyon

Wrangell St. Elias National Park & Preserve | Hubbard Glacier – Yakutat

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training | Natchitoches, LA

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail |

  • Canyon Ferry Reservoir, MT
  • Fort Benton, MT
  • Yellowstone Gateway Museum, MT

Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area | Intermodal Tourist Center

MotorCities National Heritage Area |

  • Automotive Hall of Fame
  • Detroit Historical Museum
  • Detroit Institute of Arts
  • Durant – Dort Carriage Company
  • Edsel & Eleanor Ford House
  • Gilmore Car Museum
  • GM – Renaissance Center
  • Historic Fort Wayne
  • Meadow Brook Hall
  • Michigan Historical Center
  • Michigan Military Tech. & Hist. Soc.
  • Nankin Mills
  • Old Mill Museum
  • Plymouth Historical Museum
  • R. E. Olds Transportation Museum
  • Roush Automotive Collection
  • Sloan Auto Museum
  • Stahls Automotive Foundation
  • Walker Tavern Historic Site
  • Yankee Air Museum
  • Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum
The spectacular Hubbard Glacier in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve has an updated cancellation stamp this month. Photo Credit: Aaron Logan from Sunnyvale, CA, USA – Hubbard Glacier, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3653937

Wrangell St. Elias National Park & Preserve is the largest unit in the National Park System, encompassing 13.2 million acres around Alaska’s “southeastern hinge” between the panhandle and the main part of the state.   The new stamp this month combines two previously separate stamps, one for the Hubbard Glacier and the other for the Yakutat Ranger Station.  The Hubbard Glacier is at the extreme southeastern end of this park, at the point where Alaska itself is the narrowest, and the Alaska Panhandle is squeezed between the Pacific Ocean, the Canadian Yukon Territory and Province of British Columbia.  The Hubbard Glacier area is only accessible by boat or by plane, and has been described to me by one National Park Ranger who has worked in the area as “one of the most-spectacular sights in all of the National Park System.”   The town of Yakutat  is actually located a dozen miles away from the park itself, across Yakutat Bay in the Tongass National Forest, and more than 25 miles away from the Hubbard Glacier itself, but is the only community of any size in the area.  Rangers based in Yakutat are responsible for managing the visitors who approach the Hubbard Glacier area by boat, cruise ship, or seaplane.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area preserves an extensive portion of the Colorado River, including several of its tributaries, in southern Utah and northern Arizona.  In particular, it includes the Colorado River from the moment that it flows west out of Canyonlands National Park into the eponymous Glen Canyon, and then as the rivers widen into the famous Lake Powell, formed  by the Glen Canyon Dam in the city of Page in northern Arizona.  The park then also includes the Colorado River’s path through Marble Canyon south of the Glen Canyon Dam to the western tip of Grand Canyon National Park.   The two stamps this month are replacements for existing stamps.  One is for the Park’s main visitor center, the Navajo Bridge Interpretive Center, in the Arizona town of Marble Canyon.  The Navajo Bridge is one of just two bridges (and one car ferry) across more than 250 miles of the Colorado River from the Hoover Dam all the way upstream to the remote town of Hite in central Utah.  This spectacular bridge is both an important transportation corridor in this part of the country, as well as an architectural landmark itself.

The National Park Service’s National Center for Preservation Technology and Training is located in historic Nelson Hall on Northwestern State University in Louisiana and gets its first passport cancellation this month. Photo Credit: Fitzed – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9445668

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training is a research institute that was founded in 1994 on the campus of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.   The National Park Service facility has the mission of advancing the state of the art in the preservation of historic resources of all types. Its not clear how much of this facility really caters to visitors, but this stamp does advance the growing trend towards even National Park Service management offices  having a Passport cancellation.   One aspect of the National Park Service that many people don’t think about is the huge collection of historic artifacts in the various National Park Service museum collections from Civil War battlefields, to southwest American Indian pueblos, to pioneer forts and ancient fossil beds.  This center brings in National Park Service employees from across the country to help meet that preservation challenge.

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail now has 37 active cancellations with the addition of these three new cancellations from the state of Montana.   The town of Fort Benton, in the central part of the state, contains the interpretive center for the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument, which is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  That monument preserves spectacular cliffs and rock formations, as well as one of the last wild stretches of the Missouri River that remains much as Lewis & Clark would have experienced it.    The Canyon Ferry Reservoir is located much further upstream, near the state capital of Helena.  Suffice to say, the Canyon Ferry dam has not left the Missouri River much as Lewis & Clark would have experienced it, as has happened to so many stretches of the Missouri River.  However, the dams are import sources of electrical power and flood control, and also provide natural points for providing historical interpretation.  Finally, the Yellowstone Gateway Museum is located in Livingston, MT, just east of Bozeman, MT on the Yellowstone River.  The Yellowstone River Valley was explored by William Clark on the return trip  home from the Pacific Ocean.

The Intermodal Tourist Center in Picayune, Mississippi also serves as the Lower Pearl River Valley Museum.   This location is so named because it also serves passengers riding the Amtrak Crescent Train, which runs from New York to Atlanta and New Orleans.  This new stamp brings the Mississippi Gulf Coast National Heritage Area up to 41 cancellations.  Parkasaurus discussed this heritage area extensively in our July 2017 post.

The MotoCities National Heritage Area re-launched its passport program this month. Photo from 2006.

Finally, this month it is the turn of the Motor Cities National Heritage Area  to expand.   This heritage area includes portions of 16 counties in southeast and central Michigan, and the partner association for his heritage area focuses on programs and activities telling the history of the automobile industry in the area.   Up to this point, the heritage area had 18 active cancellations, and the new additions this month bring it to 27 active active cancellations.  Since this is a reboot of the passport program for the Heritage Area, I’ll give a brief overview of all the active cancellations.

Eastern Michigan is the home of America’s iconic automobile brands, and a number of automobile museums, 10 of which have cancellations now.   The GM – Renaissance Center is located in the world headquarters of General Motors in downtown Detroit.  The Sloan Auto Museum in Flint, Michigan is devoted to the history of the Buick brand, and is now part of a larger science center.  Also in Flint is the museum of the Durant-Dort Carriage Company‘s offices,  which is believed to have been the largest manufacturer of horse-drawn carriages in the age before the automobile.  The R. E. Olds Transportation Museum in the state capital of Lansing, Michigan is dedicated to the history of the Oldsmobile brand.  The Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum in the town of the same name has a collection ranging across a number of current and former automotive brands, including a Hudson Hornet race car – a car made famous in the Disney-Pixar “Cars” series of movies.  Also in Ypsilanti is the Michigan Firehouse Museum, with collections spanning the history of fire fighting equipment, including the history of fire fighting vehicles. The Roush Automotive Collection in Livonia  is dedicated to the history of the company, and includes a large number of race cars. The Gilmore Car Museum in  the town of Hickory Corners has a collection of more than 200 vehicles, along with other attractions.  The Stahls Automotive Foundation has more than 80 vehicles in Chesterfield, Michigan.  Finally, the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn has honored more than 800 significant figures in the automotive industry from around the world.

Dearborn is also the home of the most-famous automotive industrialist of all time, Henry Ford.  There are seven cancellations dedicated to his legacy.  Several of the MotorCities NHA passport locations are dedicated to him, his family, and his works.  The Nankin Mills in Westland, Michigan and the Old Mill Museum in Dundee, Michigan both preserve early 19th-century grist mills that were once owned by Henry Ford.   The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is where Henry Ford produced the first Model  T.  Edsel Ford was Henry Ford’s only child, and the home he shared with his wife Eleanor in Grosse Pointe Shores is now open for visitation.  The Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport in Belleville, Michigan is where Henry Ford directed the construction the B-24 Liberator Bombers during World War II.  Today it has a number of display aircraft, and also offers rides in historic aircraft.  The Henry Ford National Historic Landmark in Dearborn, Michigan is one of the largest museums in the country, devoted to the history of the industrial revolution in the United States, along with other aspects of modern American history.   Greenfield Village is a living history museum attached to The Henry Ford with an extensive collection of historic buildings.  Among those historic buildings, is the home of the Wright Brothers, which was moved here by Henry Ford from Dayton, Ohio, long before the site eventually became part of Dayton Aviation National Historical Park.

The ten remaining cancellation sites tell the broader story of the history of eastern Michigan, including the automotive history.  Historic Fort Wayne is a reconstruction of the War of 1812-era fort that predated the city of Detroit.  The Walker Tavern Historic Site in Brooklyn, Michigan preserves an early stage coach stop. The Saline Depot Museum preserves a historic railroad depot in Saline, Michigan.  The Northville Mill Race Village has a collection of historic buildings moved to the site. The Michigan Military Technical and Historical Society is a military museum located in the inner-suburb of Eastpointe, Michigan. The Plymouth Historical Museum is dedicated to the history of the town, and the automotive brand, of the same name.   Meadow Brook Hall in Auburn Hills was the mansion of the heiress to the Dodge Automotive brand. The Detroit Historical Museum is the centerpiece historical museum, and the Detroit Institute of Arts is the main art museum, for one of America’s largest metro areas.  Finally, the Michigan Historical Center in Lansing is the main history museum for the state of Michigan.

Final Shot: Meadow Brook Hall, the estate of the heiress to the Dodge automotive fortune, is one of the many cancellation locations in the Motorcities National Heritage Area. Photo Credit: Kelocyde [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
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30 for 300 – Part I

I’m going to take a brief break from my usual postings on this blog to engage in a little self-indulgence.   Careful readers may have noticed in my recent Trip Report that my trip to Petersburg National Battlefield marked my milestone 300th national park visited.  To mark this occasion, I’ve decided to put together a brief retrospective on 30 of my favorite moments from the visits to my first 300 national parks.   These are not necessarily my 30 favorite national parks, but rather they are 30 of my favorite moments from visiting national parks – in fact, some national parks that have had more than one special moment in my travels to them may even appear more than once.   For simplicity, I’ve limited the choices here to parks that I visited after 1998, when I first discovered the Passport Program and first started to conceive of the possibility of visiting all the national parks, and all the way up to my trip to Petersburg just a couple months ago.    To make this more readable, I’ll break this up into three posts of 10 favorite memories each.  So without further ado, here are #’s 21-30 of my “30 for 300” in the national parks.

#30) Yosemite National Park in the Snow – March 2006
I figured that I should start this off this series with a  national park that would rank as many people’s favorite.   Back in 2006, I met up with a friend of mine from college who was living in the San Francisco Bay Area at the time, and we headed out to Yosemite National Park for the weekend.  After our first night in the Curry Village, we woke up to find that our spring day in Yosemite had been turned into a Winter Wonderland.   The snow cover made the iconic Yosemite Falls especially spectacular.

Yosemite Falls in the snow made this national park visit especially memorable.
Yosemite Falls in the snow made this national park visit especially memorable.

#29) Discovering George Rogers Clark National Historical Park – May 2003
When you set out to visit all of the national parks in the United States, one of the many rewards is the discovery of the unexpected places that you never even knew existed before the journey began.   Perhaps no place symbolizes that “discovery of the unexpected” for me more than George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in tiny Vincennes, Indiana.  Most Americans have never heard of George Rogers Clark, although most have probably heard of his “little brother,” William Clark, of the famous Lewis & Clark expedition.

During the heart of the American Revolutionary War, however, it was older brother George who would stake first claim to the history books.   In the dead winter of mid-February 1779, George Rogers Clark would lead 170 volunteers out of Fort Kaskasia in Illinois on a daring sneak attack.  Together they would march across 180 miles of flooded prairie, sometimes wading through icy water that rose to their shoulders, to surprise the British garrison at present-day Vincennes.  Their arrival caught the British completely by surprise – understandably given the extraordinary conditions – and he was able to force their surrender.  This victory helped cement American control of the whole territory from Ohio to Illinois.  This control would then be formally recognized four years later in the Treaties of Paris that ended the American Revolution, making this territory part of the fledgling United States, rather than part of Canada .  Younger brother William would make his own way into the history books some 14 years later, but this extraordinary effort under incredibly harsh conditions demonstrated that there was more than one Clark brother with “Undaunted Courage.”

Today, Vincennes, IN is a location that is truly “off-the-beaten-path,” but the impressive memorial to George Rogers Clark commemorates his story – a story that I would likely never have learned had this national park not existed.

The George Rogers Clark NHP in Vincennes, Indiana memorializes a forgotten hero. Photo Credit: National Park Service
The George Rogers Clark NHP in Vincennes, Indiana memorializes a forgotten hero. Photo Credit: National Park Service

#28) Playing in the Surf at Cape Hatteras National Seashore – July 2002
Sometimes we visit a National Park to pursue solititude, and sometimes national parks are best visited with a friend.  In the summer of 2002, my best friend from college and I took a road trip through all three of the national seashores in the middle of the Atlantic Coast.   At Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina, we particularly enjoyed playing in the surf, tossing a football to each other, with the waves crashing around us.   Approriately enough, we named this particular game “Hatteras,” in honor of how much we enjoyed the pristine sandy beaches at this park.

#27) Counting Alligators at Big Cypress National Preserve – May 2014
The spring of 2014 found me travelling across south Florida from Miami to Naples with my family on the Tamiani Trail.  Along the way, Big Cypress National Preserve proved to be the perfect place to stop for a picnic lunch.  Right outside the picnic area, there is a boardwalk running alongside a canal that was also the perfect place to look for alligators with my then three-year old son.   I can still hear him saying, “Dad, there’s another one!”

You don't have to look hard to find alligators at Big Cypress National Preserve.
You don’t have to look hard to find alligators at Big Cypress National Preserve.  There are at least six in this photograph.

#26) Cajun Culture at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve – May 2004

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve in southeast Louisiana is something of a grab-bag of a national park, covering New Orleans’ French Quarter, the Barataria Nature Preserve just west of New Orleans,  the Chalmette Battlefield from the War of 1812 just east of New Orleans, and then three Acadian Cultural Centers in the nearby cities of Eunice, Lafayette, and Thibodaux.  Back in 2004, I was heading out to the Prairie Acadian Culture Center in Eunice, some 2.5 hours west of New Orleans, to try and catch a scheduled demonstration of cajun music.  Unfortunately, as sometimes happens, I was running late getting out there, and ended up missing it.  As it turned out, though, I had no worries.  The Ranger on duty that day said that she was in a cajun music band herself, and that her band was playing a gig that evening at a nearby restaurant called Bubba Frey’s.  Arriving there, the special that evening was “boulet” – a dish that reminded me of a hush puppy, only with seafood mixed in.  Acadian Cultural experiences rarely get more authentic than that!

#25) Looking Up at the World’s Biggest Trees in Redwood National Park – March 2001
In 2001, I was only two years out of college and making my first trip to the State of California.  While visiting two of my friends in the San Francisco Bay Area, we decided, almost son the spur of the moment, to make the long day trip up the Pacific Coast Highway to Redwood National Park.  This was my first encounter with the Pacific Coast Rainforest and with the giant trees.  There’s a reason why these giants have inspired generations of conservationists.  Standing under some of the tallest living things anywhere on the face of the Earth is always awe-inspiring.

Its hard for a photograph to do justice to the towering heights of some of the world's tallest trees, which are found in Redwood National Park.
Its hard for a photograph to do justice to the towering heights of some of the world’s tallest trees, which are found in Redwood National Park.

#24) Sailing to Dry Tortugas National Park – December 2002
Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the harder-to-reach places in the U.S. National Park System.  Its location says it all – 70 miles west of Key West.  The centerpiece of the park is historic Fort Jefferson, which straddles the tiny island of Garden Key like a behemoth – so much so that its walls seemingly stretch right over the edges of the key and plunge into the ocean.   The Fort was built in the early 19th Century to protect the shipping passage around the Florida Keys into New Orleans, and was later used as an Alcatraz-style prison. Today, on a day trip out of Key West, not only do you get to tour this impressive historic fort, but the boat operators also provide snorkeling gear to discover the coral reef that has grown up around the walls in the ocean below.  To top it all off, nearby Long Key, which is frequently connected to Garden Key by a sandbar, is a major seabird rookery.  From my vantage point standing on the walls of Fort Jefferson, Long Key looked like it was a scene out of Jurassic Park, surrounded as it was by a virtual cloud of nesting seabirds.

For those prone to seasickenss, Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park can also be visited by seaplane. Long Key can be seen in the far back of this image. Photo Credit: National Park Service
For those prone to seasickenss, Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park can also be visited by seaplane. Long Key can be seen in the far back of this image. Photo Credit: National Park Service

#23) Discovering Petroglyphs at Arches National Park – July 1999
I could probably fill a whole blog post with my stories from Arches National Park, a true gem of the National Park System.  On this trip, I was travelling by myself, on my way to Salt Lake City, and was camping on Bureau of Land Management Land along the Colorado River, just outside of the National Park.  While there, I ran into a young woman who was also travelling solo.  We agreed that it would be fun to go hiking together in the Park.   It turns out that she had heard that there was a “secret” petroglyph panel in Arches National Park.  Its “secret” because there is no marked trail to the panel, and the Park Rangers will not provide directions to it. This is due to the relatively small number of petroglyphs in the Park and the very high number of visitors that this “destination park” receives every year.  Nevertheless, her directions were good, and when we arrived at the location, we found this simple sign from the National Park Service, “You’ve Found Something Unique – Please Preserve It.”  Really – that sign could be placed almost anywhere in the National Park System, but it was particularly poignant here.  This was the very first time I had ever encountered petroglyphs, and I was enthralled.  Moreover, more than 15 years later, in an age when almost all information is available on the Internet, it seems amazing that a place with unpublished directions like this can still exist.  You can see some good photos of the Dark Angel Petroglyphs, including that sign, here.

#22) The World is Big and Small at Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve – September 2008
Since Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve is one of those odd national parks that “counts twice,” I’m going to cheat a little bit and include two moments from this trip.

The main visitor center for this Park, located in Copper Center, AK, is set up somewhat unusually. The theatre with the park movie is actually located in a separate out-building from the rest of the visitor center.  So after planning my hike in the main building, I went out to watch the move.  I was so floored by the stunning aerial photography in this film that I just had to go back into the main building and ask the Rangers about how the photography was done, and hopefully purchase a take-home copy – something I had never done before (or since!).  That ended up being a most-fortuitous decision.  While I was talking to the Rangers back in the main building, the phone rang.  A nearby flight-seeing operation had someone who was interested in going up for a tour, but they needed someone else to split the cost of the plane.  The Rangers said that this had never happened before all summer – so clearly this was “meant to be.”  The following hour spent flying above the glaciers in the Wrangell Mountains was one of the most memorable hours of my life.

Few experiences can compare to seeing the rugged peaks of the Wrangell Mountains up close from a flight-seeing tour.
Few experiences can compare to seeing the rugged peaks of the Wrangell Mountains up close from a flight-seeing tour.

Shortly after the flight-seeing tour ended, I proceeded to drive the rest of the way towards my planned hike.  Along the way, I stopped at an overlook like this one, with the aspens in full fall colors.   I checked my phone at one of these stops, and I had a text message with a picture of my new nephew, Aiden, who had been born just an hour or two earlier more than 3,800 miles away, on the other side of the continent, in Florida.  This day had shown that the world was both larger and smaller than I had imagined.

Even in the middle of the wilderness, modern technology meant that news of a birth on the side of the continent could still reach you.

#21) “She Said ‘Yes!'” at Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park – October 2007
As things were getting serious with my then-girlfriend, it only seemed natural given my second love for the national parks that I should ask the big question in a national park.  I was lucky to pick a beautiful fall colors day in West Virginia.  We began the day with a quiet picnic lunch away from the crowds on Bolivar Heights in the western end of the Park.  Then we headed to the historic downtown, where we discovered that the recently-rennovated Historic St. Peter’s Chapel was open for the first time that I had seen in my several years of having visited this Park.  Since we are both Catholics, that ended up being the perfect place to combine faith, hope, and love and to ask her to spend the rest of our lives together. I’ve felt a special connection to this national park ever since.

The author and the future Mrs. Parkasaurus capped off their big day by happily celebrating at the top of Maryland Heights in Harper’s Ferry National HIstorical Park.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, if you’d like to keep reading, here are links to Part II with #’s 11-20,  Part III with #’s 1-10, and the Honorable Mentions.

Stamp Collage 1-001

 

Edit: This post was updated after original publication to add the stamp collage image at the end.

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When Does a National Park Count Twice?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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