Originally home to native tribes, these massive woods soon became an economic engine for the early European explorers of the region. The wealth coming first from furs then from logging and eventually from gold rush brought more and more settlers of European-descent into the region, pushing out the native inhabitants and bringing in modern industry. By the time the various booms and busts of these industries had run their course, the region had become a popular summer resort area. Those who spent their summers here soon found the need to preserve the natural beauty they enjoyed. Sometimes called the heart of the continent, this region of the North Woods stretches up into Canada. It is the only national park in Minnesota: Voyageurs.
While hiking is the activity associated with the bulk of the national parks, most believe that Voyageurs is best seen from the water. Rivers, lakes and islands can be explored via canoes, kayaks and motorboats with some interior areas of the park only accessible by boat - that is unless the water is frozen over in the winter. The majority of the hiking trails in the park are located in this area only accessible by water. Tours through the park bring to life not only the history of the North Woods region but Minnesota itself. Voyageurs National Park truly fits in with the state’s legacy as being the land of 10,000 lakes.
Preservation of Redwood National Park wouldn’t be complete without the three California state parks that join it. Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks all date from the 1920s and all help preserve the old-growth forests the national park is famous for. Today, both the three state parks and the national park are jointly administered to help preserve the various natural resources found here, including various endangered and threatened plants and animals. Together, these parks preserve one of the most biologically diverse and archaeologically significant sites in all of northern California.
Efforts to create a national park here were a long time coming. Residents expressed a desire to preserve the area nearly 125 years ago, but conflicts between those with vested interests in the park’s resources as well as infighting in the government would take up more than 25 years before a national park was officially located here. Oddly enough, the park only draws 12 percent of the visitors attracted to the nearby Ross Lake National recreation Area and just over half of the amount of visitors who stop by the adjoining Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. All three areas are managed by the park. Today, North Cascades remains an undiscovered gem of Washington’s wilderness.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is not only located on the Texas-New Mexico border but is also across that border from another national park some 62 miles away: Carlsbad Caverns. The Guadalupe Mountains are the same range Carlsbad Caverns are located under and one of the most iconic ranges in this area of the American southwest. Guadalupe Mountains also shares the border with New Mexico’s Brokeoff Mountains Wilderness Study Area. Local ranchers and those who would exploit the minerals and other natural resources beyond the park still oppose it, but conservationists, archaeologists and scientists have shown again and again the importance of this park.
Dedicated to all things travel, places I have been and places I want to go.