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Discover Your National Parks

52 Week Adventure Challenge

04.10.17

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Discover Your National Parks

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  • Mount Olympus (7,980 ft) and a herd of mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) from the summit of Hurricane Hill (5,757 ft) in Olympic National Park.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Mount Rainier (14,411 ft) from Sunrise Point.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Vibrant sunset from the Discovery Point Trail in Crater Lake National Park.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Nearby Subway Cave in Lassen Volcanic National Park, one of many underground lava tubes in the area, lies to the north of the park.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Damnation Creek Trail, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Joshua Tree National Park.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Under Delicate Arch's shadow in Arches National Park.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Zion National Park.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Bryce Canyon National Park.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Grand Canyon National Park.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Morning sunlight illuminating the south rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, seen from Chasm View.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Rocky Mountain National Park viewed from Sprague Lake.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Mount St. Helens (8,365 ft) from the Hummocks Trail.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Muir Woods National Monument along the Main Trail.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Spatter Cones and Big Cinder Butte in Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Hovenweep National Monument.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Colorado National Monument.- Discover Your National Parks
  • The Big Room in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.- Discover Your National Parks
  • With 150 rooms, Cliff Palace is the largest cliff dwelling in Mesa Verde National Park.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Along the Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Dry Tortugas National Park.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Cabrillo National Monument.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Cape Breton Highlands National Park.- Discover Your National Parks
  • Tikal National Park in Mexico.- Discover Your National Parks
Article
Contributor

Every great nation has endowed the international community with a new idea, a piece of greatness that enriches the cultural legacy of our collective histories, and the United States is certainly responsible for many—representative democracy and the balance of powers, the power of flight, central air conditioning and the Shamwow. The list is long.

The idea of Wilderness is an integral part of the United States and a formative force in its creation and development. Early Christian settlers who arrived on its northeastern shore were driven by the idea of religious freedom, and in the forests and mountains of Appalachia these men and women found a reflection of God’s Eden. Not without difficulty, they also found a thriving and resilient Native American population, cold and bitter winters, and a kind of life foreign to city dwellers on a largely developed European continent. This duality of ardor and exhaustion has fed the American ideal ever since. “The peculiarity of American institutions,” wrote Frederick Jackson Turner, “is the fact that they have been compelled to adapt to the change of an expanding people—to the changes involved in crossing a continent, in winning a wilderness, and in developing at each area of this progress out of the primitive economic and political conditions of the frontier into the complexity of city life.” The frontier, said Turner in words unrefined by the political correctness of our time, was “the outer edge of the wave—the meeting point between savagery and civilization.”

Though much softened now after years of progress, the wilderness of Yellowstone National Park was the first to enshrine in a park the idea and challenges of humanity immersed in a wild land, and the idea has grown well beyond its borders. The United States hosted the first World Parks Congress in 1962, and the National Park Service has been integral in expanding the conservation effort worldwide. Today, at least 772,000 square miles of the earth’s surface is under protected management as parks and preserves, and that number grows every year.

For this installment of the #52WeekAdventureChallenge, our national parks are an opportunity to appreciate the forces that shaped the United States from its incipience.

#52AdventureChallenge

We believe good things come from people spending time outside. We strive to provide inspiration and supporting information on incredible adventures to make it easy for you to get outdoors and explore new places. We understand that life is busy, but we strongly encourage you to make time for outdoor recreation on a weekly, if not daily, basis. To keep you inspired all year, we've put together a list of 52 geologic features and adventure themes. Check them out and join us in our #52AdventureChallenge!

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