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Our National Parks

Wilderness. The word itself is music. Edward Abbey

It's become one of my goals to visit all of our National Parks within my lifetime. I've always had a deep love for the natural world, and began backpacking as a Boy Scout at a young age. After graduating from college, I adventured around America for a year, living out of a van, meditating and exploring wild places, including a number of our National Parks. I've traveled through several other countries too, from the highlands of New Zealand to the Himalayas of Nepal, and though these remarkable places are all unforgettable, I've learned that my heart belongs to the American wilderness. There are conserved lands across the country, all unique and significant, but I think it's fair to say that this country's essential character, in its incredible diversity and unparalleled beauty, is best preserved in our National Parks. I want to experience them all, in at least some small measure, before I die, and I suspect that aligning myself with this intention will set in motion other journeys that I can't now anticipate, further excursions into the wondrous wilds of the world. Excluding numerous national monuments and historic sites, there are now 58 National Parks in the United States and its territories. Below is a list of those I've visited so far.

Austin R. Pick Chicago, 2009

2013 Update: In January, central California's Pinnacles was redesignated from national monument to full park status, making it our 59th National Park.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. The whole wilderness in unity and inter-relation is alive and familiar. The very stones seem talkative, sympathetic, brotherly. Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike. This natural beauty hunger is made manifest in our magnificent National Parks, nature's sublime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the world. John Muir

National Park Service

Wikipedia: Full List of US National Parks by State
Ken Burns' The National Parks: America's Best Idea

  National Park State When Visited Photos?
1. Great Smoky Mountains North Carolina Summer 2000  
2. Black Canyon of the Gunnison Colorado Spring 2005  
3. Mesa Verde Colorado Spring 2005 PHOTOS
4. Arches Utah Spring 2005  
5. Canyonlands Utah Spring 2005  
6. Capitol Reef Utah Spring 2005  
7. Bryce Canyon Utah Spring 2005  
8. Zion Utah Spring 2005 PHOTOS
9. Grand Canyon Arizona Summer 2005  
10. Joshua Tree California Summer 2005 PHOTOS
Yosemite (South) California Summer 2005  
11. Olympic Washington June 2009 PHOTOS
12. Badlands South Dakota July 2010 PHOTOS
13. Wind Cave South Dakota July 2010
14. Virgin Islands St. John, USVI February 2011 PHOTOS
15. Cuyahoga Valley Ohio June 2011  
16. Yosemite California Summer 2012 JMT PHOTOS PT. 1
17. Kings Canyon California Summer 2012 · JMT
18. Sequoia California Summer 2012 · JMT
Grand Canyon Arizona Spring 2013 PHOTOS
19. Great Sand Dunes Colorado Summer 2014  
20. Saguaro Arizona Spring 2015 PHOTOS
21. Grand Teton Wyoming Summer 2015 PHOTOS
Grand Staircase-Escalante* Utah Spring 2016  
22. Congaree South Carolina Winter 2016  

Last updated: January 2017

*Though not yet classified as a National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante conserves a remarkable wilderness roughly the size of Delaware, encompassing the largest land area of all U.S. National Monuments. It certainly seems worthy of mention. Go there, if you can.

The Grand Canyon, Summer 2005

I am here not only to evade for a while the clamor and filth and confusion of the cultural apparatus but also to confront, immediately and directly if it's possible, the bare bones of existence, the elemental and fundamental, the bedrock which sustains us. Edward Abbey

Chilnualna Falls, Yosemite, Summer 2005


Sierra Club: National Parks Subway Map

National Parks Links:

National Parks Conservation Association
To the Best of Our Knowledge (NPR): National Parks
National Geographic: National Parks Photos & Guides
National Geographic: 20 Best Hikes in the National Parks
WPA Historic National Parks Poster Reproductions
Creative Action Network's See America Project
Photographer QT Luong: U.S. National Parks
National Park Experience: A Film Series Most Beautiful National Parks as Seen From Space

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