ENP 20: Revisiting A Year Of National Parks Highlights And Our Top Destinations For 2020
01/06/2020Sunrise over Flamingo Bay at Everglades National Park
Hello, brand new year! Since hindsight is 20/20, Danielle, Bryan, and the girls take this episode to reminisce on their 2019 park travels and look ahead to what they’ve planned for 2020. They add to their already extensive bucket list and answer a listener’s question about budget planning for a national park visit. And, of course, this wouldn’t be a family episode if it didn’t end with a joke or two.
National Parks Visits During the Government ShutdownShark Valley Tram Tours employees stepped up to help out at Everglades National Park during the government shutdown in January 20192019 was filled with amazing NPS (National Park Service) experiences, most of which were planned. Then there were the unplanned moments, opportunities that lead to discoveries about the parks as well as the people who love them. Case and point: the now almost-annual government shutdown had the potential to derail an early-in-the-year trip to Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park. When the government closes, technically, so do the parks. During this shutdown (December 22, 2018-January 25, 2019) most park employees were furloughed. The national parks remained opened this time, with only law enforcement rangers permitted to report to work. Several key South Florida non-profits stepped in. Volunteers filled the void left by government employees, including park rangers, who were not allowed to work during the shutdown. As a result, these subtropical, watery wildernesses remained open. Listen to the entire Florida trip series here (episodes 11.1 - 11.5).
Arizona Historic Snowstorm Forces Change of PlansSnowman at Saguaro National Park, February 2019With the shut-down behind them, a visit in February to Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona should’ve gone off without a hitch, except… A historic record-breaking snowstorm closed down most of northern Arizona and forced a change in plans and a change of venue. If you have to relocate, Saguaro National Park isn’t a bad place to sit out the storm. This gem sits 250 miles southwest of Petrified Forest and couldn’t have been a more magical environment. From once-in-a-decade waterfalls to a snowman in cactus country, Saguaro was anything but second-best. “The lesson there,” says Bryan, “you can plan out a trip and you should plan out a trip. But, sometimes, the best trips are the ones that are spontaneous because of circumstances.” The Saguaro trip series begins here (episodes 15.1 - 15.5).
Find Your Park: Shenandoah, YosemiteLittle Pink Junior Rangers taking in the view from the Bearfence trail at Shenandoah National Park
Most people have a “home” park. For our family, Everybody’s National Parks, that’s Shenandoah National Park. Home not so much due to its proximity to the family address rather, home because the place holds so many special “first time” memories. Check out the Shenandoah episodes here (episodes 2.1 - 2.4.2). The highlight of the year, however, was the West Coast adventure, which began in the San Francisco Bay area with plenty of historic site visits. Learn more about that leg of the trip here (episodes 18.1 - 18.2). The headliner, of course, was a visit to Yosemite National Park. The park’s natural majesty truly stole the show. But Yosemite is also populated with a scholarly, talented supporting cast of park rangers. Their passion for stewardship was so infectious that they’ve recruited two future members. “Our kids loved Yosemite so much...both want to be park rangers,” says Danielle. “And they said that they want to be park rangers at Yosemite.” Get to know this beautiful park by starting here (episodes 19.1 - 19.8).
Summer National Park Service Site Visits in New York and Isle RoyaleFire Island LighthouseSummer on the East Coast featured trips to some of the country’s best-loved historic sites. Fire Island National Seashore also made the trip list this year. You’d expect the park sitting nearest Everybody’s National Parks’ headquarters to be a routine stop but most of us are guilty of overlooking what’s right under our noses for a chance to explore what’s further afield. Sticking closer to home also allowed for visits to Saratoga and Albany, NY, as well as Springfield, MA. Who knows where Bryan and his buddies found time for a camping excursion to Isle Royale National Park but they did! And you’ll hear all about that trip in 2020.
Special Podcast Interviews Including Ken BurnsBike riding in Yosemite ValleyThis was also the year of special conversations with a diverse group of national park champions. Author Becky Lomax chatted with Danielle and Bryan about her guidebook and offered travel tips to lesser-known parks. Ranger Shelton Johnson introduced listeners to the Buffalo Soldiers of Yosemite National Park while historian and entertainer Tom Bopp delighted everyone with a song. But the highlight of the year was a visit with acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns. The filmmaker took time out of his busy schedule to discuss the creation and legacy of the National Park Service and celebrate the tenth anniversary of his series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.
National Park Visits in 2020So what’s on tap for 2020? Expect more trip reports and engaging conversations when our family visits Big Bend National Park in Texas and, drumroll please, Montana’s Glacier National Park this summer. A very happy new year to year. Thank you for listening and allowing Everybody’s National Parks to share our love for the national parks with you.
Discussion includes the following:Boca Chita Key at Biscayne National Park1:19 - South Florida Itinerary: Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park
2:15 - Government shutdown: what effect a shutdown can have on the NPS and how South Florida volunteers stepped in
4:41 - Bryan discovers the beauty, diversity, and chickee huts of Everglades National Park
5:47 - Biscayne National Park: from boat excursions to paddleboarding adventures in Jones Lagoon
6:25 - Saguaro National ParkBryan and the girls remembering their ancestor who fought alongside General George Washington at the Battle of Yorktownadventure (by of a snowstorm-thwarted Petrified Forest National Park visit) and bucket list items for the future
7:58 - Shenandoah National Park and Yorktown Battlefield
8:41 - San Francisco Bay, West Coast Adventure Part I: Muir Woods National Monument, The Presidio, Rosie The Riveter WWII historical site
9:03 - Yosemite National Park, West Coast Adventure, Part II: Ranger Shelton Johnson on Instagram, Glacier Point, High Sierra camping and site lottery
11:37 - East Coast Adventure, Part I: Boston Harbor, The Freedom Trail, USS Constitution, Fort McHenry National Monument
12:03 - East Coast Adventure, Part II: Fire Island National Seashore, the lighthouse, and the sunken forest plus Monarch butterfly migrationBirds at Everglades National Park13:37 - East Coast Adventure, Part III: Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt and Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
14:20 - East Coast Adventure, Part IV: Saratoga National Historical Park and Alexander Hamilton’s Schuyler House
15:27 - East Coast Adventure, Part V: Springfield, MA and Harpers Ferry Amory and Arsenal National Historic ParkDanielle and Bryan finishing up the Garwood Loop Trail in the eastern Rincon Mountain District at Saguaro National Park16:00 - Favorite Interviews, Part I: reminiscing with Ken Burns on the tenth anniversary of his documentary series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea
17:33 - Favorite Interviews, Part II: Park Ranger Shelton Johnson and the Buffalo Soldiers
17:56 - Favorite Interviews, Part III: Becky Lomax, author of the Moon Guide USA National Parks: A Guide To All 59 Parks
18:48 - Twitter Patter: a trip to the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site for a live meetup of #parkchat participants
19:04 - A question from a listener prompts a discussion about trip budgets
20:04 - Budget Tip #1: the cost benefits of shoulder season travel
21:04 - Budget Tip #2: getting comfortable with camping
22:32 - Budget Tip #3: accommodation ideas from AirBnB to gateway towns to KOA campgroundsView of Nevada Falls from the John Muir Trail23:02 - Budget Tip #4: the travelling (not-so) gourmet
24:11 - Budget Tip #5: you CAN take (most of) it with you if you fly Southwest Airlines (and even if you can’t, there are companies that can pack and deliver everything you need right to your campsite)
25:38 - Budget Tip #6: the Every Kid Outdoors program gets you in free with a fourth-grader (really!) or you can opt for an annual NPS pass
27:14 - Looking Ahead to 2020: Trips to Big Bend National Park in Texas and Montana’s Glacier National Park as well as an episode on Bryan’s guys-only trip to Isle Royale National Park
29:13 - Highlights from 2019, Part I: sunrises at Flamingo Campground, Everglades; hiking Saguaro’s Garwood Dam and Wildhorse Tank Loop Trail; walking Yosemite’s Vernal and Nevada Fall trails; seeing Tom Bopp, the singing historian of Yosemite, perform at Wawona Hotel
30:53 - Highlights (and a lowlight) from 2019, Part II: starlight and super crows in South Florida, the Fen Boardwalk at Happy Isles, Yosemite
32:05 - Yorktown Battlefield Historic Site: Bryan’s personal connection
33:44 - Gettysburg National Military Park and Matt Atkinson, park ranger extraordinaire
34:15 - Statue of Liberty National Monument
34:51 - A Second-Grader Reflects On Her 2019 Travels: fireplace fit for performances at Yosemite’s Ahwahnee, singing and storytime with Tom Bopp at the Wawona Hotel, Firefall history at Yosemite’s Curry Village, Vernal Falls hiking
41:26 - A Fifth-Grader Reflects on Her 2019 Travels: Snorkelling at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park invasive iguanas, a snowball fight along Yosemite’s John Muir Trail, and the Shark Valley Tram Tour in Southern Florida