The Stalwart




I have always enjoyed exploring National Parks, Monuments, Historical Sites, Trails & Battlefields. As children, our parents introduced us by taking us camping in the Smokies, and visits to U.S. National Forests, Monuments, Sites & Trails during summer vacations. Raising our own family, my husband and I also enjoyed visiting our National Park Systems. Hiking, exploring, staying in cabins, wildlife sightings, and enjoying the history and beauty of the area was a favorite family vacation. As a couple in later years, taking our motorcycle to National Parks, for scenic rides and experiencing wildlife and nature firsthand was one of our favorite past-times and a joy to do together.

In more recent years I look for fun and different ways, though I still love hiking, to experience our National Park systems. Train ride, kayak, rafting, zip-line, horseback, snowmobile tour, and biking are just some of the alternate ways I have enjoyed our park systems. Though winter months can limit access to certain parks, drives, and hiking trails, there remain many opportunities to enjoy and explore during these months that offer cold crisp air, snow-covered trails, no insects, and in many instances no other, or far less, visitors.

March 1872, Congress established Yellowstone National Park in the Territories of Montana and Wyoming and it was maintained as a “public park or pleasuring- ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people”. Additional parks and monuments were authorized after Yellowstone, especially federal lands located in the west. President Woodrow Wilson, in August 1916, signed the act creating the National Park Service, a
new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting, managing, and maintaining what was then 35 national parks and monuments.

In 1933 an Executive Order transferred 56 national monuments and military sites from the Forest Service and the War Department to the National Park Service. This action was a major step in the development of a park system that includes locations of historical, scenic, and scientific importance. In the General Authorities Act of 1970, Congress declared “that the National Park System, which began with the establishment of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, has since grown to include superlative natural, historic, and recreation areas in every region…”

Currently, the National Park System of the United States makes up more than 400 protected areas, covering more than 84 million acres in the 50 states, DC, and U.S. Territories. More than 20,000 employees and thousands upon thousands of volunteers and community partners care for our parks and work with communities to help preserve local history and create recreational opportunities. These established areas are safeguarded for the more than 318 million visitors that head to enjoy our National Parks and Monuments each year. National Park passes are convenient to have and a great way to support our National Parks. Before visiting, take the time to check out park locations for information on activities, open or closed areas, reservation requirements, and trails or sites. With well over a dozen locations within a day’s drive of Toledo in any direction, our National Parks and Monuments are waiting for you to engage and explore!

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