Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. Photo by Jeff Sambur (www.sharetheexperience.org)
April 15, 2017 - WASHINGTON – On Friday, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke kicked-off National Park Week early from America’s second national park - Sequoia National Park - known for its sky-scraping giant redwood trees. The annual celebration of America’s national parks runs from April 15 – 23 and includes a variety of events including fee-free days on April 15, 16, 22, and 23.
While at Sequoia, Zinke met with staff and leadership to discuss a variety of issues including infrastructure, active management, and increasing access to public lands while also participating in a wildfire mitigation exercise. Sequoia was the Secretary’s second California national park stop after meeting with employees at Yosemite National Park on Thursday.
“Meeting with the dedicated staff at two of our nation’s most iconic parks is a great way to get a head-start on National Park Week,” Zinke said. “Sequoia and Yosemite are the epitome of what our national parks mean to the American people—post-card worthy landscapes that bolster local economies while preserving our national heritage. While we celebrate these amazing places, we will continue to tackle challenges like deferred maintenance and access to ensure they are preserved for generations to come.”
A quote from President Teddy Roosevelt, “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People,” is etched into the stone of the historic arch at another renowned park—Yellowstone. It is a philosophy that Secretary Zinke fully embraces and perfectly sums up what National Park Week is all about.
“There are endless opportunities to enjoy amazing recreation, beautiful scenery, and inspiring stories,” Zinke said. “Last year 331 million people visited our national parks. I urge everyone to go and be a part of the hundreds of events and programs taking place this week throughout the country.”
Following is a sample itinerary of the great things in store for National Park Week:
Saturday, April 15 – Celebrate National Junior Ranger Day. Take part in kid-friendly, hands-on activities and earn a free badge at dozens of parks. At Fire Island National Seashore (New York), see seashells by the shore, shorebirds on the beach, and gemstones in the sand.
Sunday, April 16 – Head to Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Missouri) for a ranger-led astronomy talk. The park is one of dozens with a night sky program. Kids ages 5-12 and their families can earn a special Junior Ranger Night Explorer Patch.
Monday, April 17 – Commemorate the anniversary of the start of the Revolutionary War at Minute Man National Historical Park (Massachusetts). British and Colonial reenactors will commemorate the "Shot heard round the world" with a dramatic re-staging of the North Bridge fight featuring marching and musket fire. The Concord Parade will feature minute man companies, British reenactors, and music groups.
Tuesday, April 18 – Celebrate International World Heritage Day at one of the 20 national parks that are World Heritage Sites. Attend a cultural festival at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii) and learn skills in Hawaiian lau hala weaving, create simple and fun objects by weaving niu (coconut) leaves, be serenaded by Aloha Festival falsetto contest winner Kai Ho'opi'I, and make and play with your own toy top made of traditional materials.
Wednesday, April 19 - Help welcome a dozen new U.S. citizens as they are sworn in with the Painted Desert of Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona) as the backdrop. The National Park Service, in collaboration with the United States Citizen and Immigration Services, hosts naturalization ceremonies in national parks throughout the year.
Thursday, April 20 – Take the free hiker shuttle from Coronado National Memorial (Arizona) Visitor Center to Montezuma Pass. Hear a short orientation program at Montezuma Pass and take in the views then either hike the three mile Joes Canyon Trail or ride the shuttle back to the visitor center.
Friday, April 21 – Be one of the first to tour one of the country’s newest national parks. The National Park Service and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc.(ASALH) have been working cooperatively to restore the circa 1870's home of Dr. Carter S. Woodson. The Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site (Washington, D.C.) will open the doors for a three-day sneak preview. When completed, the site will provide a look at where Dr. Woodson lived and worked as he and ASALH brought African American history to life.
Saturday, April 22 – Celebrate Earth Day and John Muir’s birthday at John Muir National Historic Site (California). Meet “John Muir” and the giant sequoia he planted 130+ years ago. Tour his 1882 Victorian home and orchards. Enjoy live music and activities for all ages.
Sunday, April 23 – On Park Rx Day, a day that showcases the physical, mental, and psychological health benefits of time in nature, join a ranger at Congaree National Park (South Carolina) for a three-hour guided paddle. Canoe through the last remaining large section of old-growth bottomland forest remaining in the United States. Keep an eye out for white-tailed deer, otters, beavers, and other wildlife. Canoes, paddles, and life vests provided free of charge. The park will also host a Park Rx Day fair with free health screenings and family activities.
Visit www.nps.gov for more information and to plan your park visit. Use #FindYourPark, #EncuentraTuParque and #NPS101 on social media during National Park Week.
Source: Office of the Secretary