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US National Park 2016 Centennial
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Craig Burton

Locale: Smoky Mountains
US National Park 2016 Centennial on 08/03/2008 15:58:16 MDT Print View

This seemed to be the best forum for this announcement here, so I apologize in advance if it isn't.

Visitation to our National Parks has been diminishing since the 1980s, and the National Park Service is hoping to turn that around during the Centennial celebrating our National Parks in 2016. It may seem early, but most initiatives are already in place; and we should all expect to see some great, new things in our parks come 2016.

Looking over the granted, and proposed, initiatives, very few of them benefit those of us who spend the majority of our time in the backcountry. Bear in mind, however, that these initiatives are designed to increase visitation to the National Parks. For our own selfish reasons, we may not like the idea of potentially not finding the same solitude in the parks we do today; but there are more important reasons to support the Centennial initiative. With the dwindling attendance in the parks, it is apparent that many people are missing out on the great spectacle that is our National Park system.

Admission is now $25 per vehicle in most National Parks, and that is already enough to turn around many would-be visitors at the gates. With enough support for the Centennial, hopefully we can manage to keep this rate steady as inflation increases.

I just want to throw this out there as an announcement since I think many people here would be interested in giving back to the system that potentially got us started in this great hobby and keeps us coming back for more.

I would like to refer everyone to the following website for more information:

You can find out more about the programs and initiatives granted for our parks; and you might be interested in donating or volunteering at your local National Park.

Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: US National Park 2016 Centennial on 08/03/2008 17:43:35 MDT Print View

I'd be curious to hear from those who have volunteered for either US National Park Service/Dept Of Interior or state of residency.
I have tried to volunteer both in the Florida Park Service and at NPS/DOI. All it resulted in was a lot of wasted time in filling out paperwork and making phone calls that few returned. The ones who did call back basically pointed at someone else as the holdup.
Since my time away from Tha Man comes at a premium, I thought my time was better spent paying for admission and usage fees instead of trying to give my time away.
Ah yes, my tax dollars at work.

Brian UL

Locale: New England
Re: US National Park 2016 Centennial on 08/03/2008 17:50:24 MDT Print View

This may be a bit off topic, but I keep hearing that we need permit systems and parking fees because our Parks are overrun by visitors and the crowds have to be controlled and herded around to stop their destruction.
Then other places -like this, we are told nobody is showing up anymore?

Craig Burton

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Re: Re: US National Park 2016 Centennial on 08/03/2008 18:54:23 MDT Print View

I agree; but in all fairness, the difficulty in finding volunteer work for an individual goes beyond the NPS, federal government, and even non-profits that specialize in volunteer work. You would think such organizations would have someone that specializes in the logistics involved in getting individual and small-group volunteers to work; but the truth is, that they seem to only care about large groups of volunteers. With that said, many parks and services have "outsourced" their civic volunteer functions to larger organizations. The Friends of the Smokies is probably one such group that you are familiar with; for they are the pseudo-official branch for volunteering in the Smokies.

As for the remark about the parks being overrun; well I don't see that being the case from personal experience. I have been to many different national parks during many different peak seasons; and the closest one I've ever found to being congested was Yellowstone on a Labor Day Weekend. Even then, it still was not that bad. Great Smoky Mountain National Park is, supposedly, the busiest park in the system; and I've found it to very capable of handling the volume in the recent times I've visited over the years; including Memorial weekend, Independence weekend, and Labor weekend. I've never been to Yosemite, but based on pictures I've seen, it looks like the volume there can be incredible at times. Then again, it is also one of the very few national parks that is both uniquely amazing and yet so close to major population centers.

My guess is that the people saying such things are the ones that would prefer to see a year-round solitude like they are used to in the off-season.