From the Inbox - NPCA Park Lines August 2011

Park Lines
August 2011


Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
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If you want to feel like you're on top of the world, Rocky Mountain National Park is the place to go. At 7,500 feet above sea level, the park offers dramatic peaks and valleys, with 60 mountains over 12,000 feet high, and the tallest, Longs Peak, reaching a staggering 14,259 feet. With meadows, lakes, streams, waterfalls, forests, alpine tundra, and even glaciers, the park is home to astounding ecological diversity. Visitors can hike 359 miles of trails, camp in more than 200 backcountry campsites, and see a wide variety of plant and animal life.

If you go

Rocky Mountain is home to bats, bighorn sheep, marmots, moose, pikas, and some 280 documented bird species—but as autumn approaches, the area is best known for its 3,000-plus elk as they get ready to mate. Learn more about elk romance, or "rutting," in our slideshow.

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National Park Service, NPCA Commemorate American Civil War Anniversary

ManassasJuly 21 marked the 150th anniversary of the first major battle of the American Civil War. Fifteen decades ago, spectators traveled for miles with parasols and opera glasses to witness the first battle at Manassas, also known as the Battle of Bull Run--a conflict most believed would be the only big battle of the war. It turned instead into four of the bloodiest years of American history. National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis commemorated the day by giving a moving speech at Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia, promising that the Park Service would be there "every day of every year watching over this place, to keep it and protect it; to pass its story on to future generations of Americans." Read about must-see national parks and visit first-hand the places that shaped history.

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Are Your Members of Congress Friends of the Parks?

FONP AwardsLast month, NPCA recognized 57 senators and 179 representatives for their voting records in Congress with Friend of the National Parks Awards. NPCA established the award in 1999 to track and publicize the votes that matter most on significant national park issues. This year, NPCA examined six key senate votes and 12 key House votes from the 111th Congress to determine which of our elected officials truly represent the best interests of our parks, monuments, and historical and cultural sites. A complete list of the winning members of Congress and their voting records is available online; see how your officials stack up.

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Lower New River State of the Watershed

New River ReportNPCA, the West Virginia Professional River Outfitters, the National Park Service, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, and other local and regional conservation groups recently forged a partnership to assess the health of the Lower New River watershed of southern West Virginia. Home to a diverse array of plants, endangered animals, rare birds, and amphibians, the river is also a major tourist destination for bird-watchers and other nature lovers and an economic engine for the region. The report, released last week, documents many of the reasons the river is so important to the area, an analysis of its current state of health (considered impaired by the state and regularly below minimum water quality standards), and a basic road map to help citizens of the watershed get involved in clean-water efforts that help sustain the river's environmental, cultural, recreational, and economic benefits for all.

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NPCA and Partner Groups Help Restore Florida Hardwoods

Biscayne BayThis month, NPCA is partnering with Nature Valley, Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resource Management, Oleta River State Park, and the Overtown Youth Center in a volunteer effort to restore six acres of tropical hardwood trees in Miami-Dade County adjacent to Biscayne National Park. Miami youth will be clearing exotic vegetation, spreading mulch, and planting native species. The effort will focus on dense tree stands known as "hammocks," which are important to the general health of the coastal ecosystem. This hammock restoration project will also improve habitat for birds and wildlife, including federally protected species within the Biscayne Bay area, and provide additional stewardship and environmental education opportunities in the community.


NPCA Engages Students in Wetlands Restoration at Indiana Dunes

Indiana DunesThis summer, NPCA engaged more than 20 college students from the Great Lakes states of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin in a hands-on workshop to restore wetlands at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Students heard from a range of professionals working in conservation policy and advocacy and worked alongside Park Service staff to plant native species at the national lakeshore's Cowles Bog. This activity is part of the park's larger effort to improve Lake Michigan's water quality by restoring degraded wetlands. "We are pleased to work with NPCA in providing this opportunity for students," said Costa Dillon, superintendent of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. "National parks belong to everyone, and helping to restore park lands is one way people can assure that these parks will be here for their children."

New App Puts Tree Smarts in Your Phone

Leafsnap AppEver wonder about the trees you pass on your hikes? Thanks to a new smartphone app by the Smithsonian, nature lovers can learn more about their local trees without having to lug field guides into the woods with them. With Leafsnap, users will be able to simply take a picture of a leaf and get a response in seconds that matches the image against a growing database of trees, identifies the likely species, and provides high-resolution photos and additional information. Developers released Leafsnap in May with information on a variety of East Coast trees. The company plans to expand their database to include all tree species in the Northeast and, eventually, all the trees of North America.

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Cumberland Island National Seashore Field Trip, High Tides Women's Weekend

Cumberland Island National SeashoreNPCA is proud to be a part of the 2nd Annual High Tides Women's Weekend, September 23-25. This series of events and activities for and about women will focus on Amelia Island, Florida, and surrounding national parks.

On Friday, September 23, NPCA will offer a unique trip to Cumberland Island National Seashore. Traveling on board the Cumberland Princess, the group will depart from Fernandina Beach, explore the Dungeness Mansion ruins, have lunch, tour the Greyfield Inn, and visit the historic Plum Orchard mansion. A limited number of tickets are available at a cost of $150 per person. On Saturday morning, September 24, NPCA will offer a free tour of the nearby Kingsley Plantation, owned in the 19th century by Anna Kingsley, a former slave turned slave-holder. Following the tour on Saturday afternoon, NPCA Executive Vice President Theresa Pierno will be featured as a guest speaker at a ladies' luncheon. Reservations may be made for all three of these events by calling Southeast Regional Program Manager Emily Jones at 865.329.2424, ext. 26.

Call for Submissions

Have you ever worked at or lived in a national park east of the Mississippi? You can share true stories of your experiences with the editors of Bona Fide Books for the opportunity to be part of one of their smart, engaging Permanent Vacation essay collections.

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America's National Parks Are National Treasures

Big Bend

Won't you please help us ensure that our national parks are well-protected, well-funded, and well-managed for our children and grandchildren?

Give a tax-deductible gift today.

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Go Paperless and Support NPCA

Consumer Cellular

Consumer Cellular is committed to supporting the National Parks Conservation Association in our mission to preserve and protect America's national parks.

For every new and existing customer who signs up for e-billing before June 2012, Consumer Cellular will donate $5* to NPCA. Contributions will fund NPCA's ongoing efforts to help ensure our parks will be enjoyed for generations to come. Visit Consumer Cellular online to learn more about this Consumer Cellular opportunity and to sign up for their free e-billing program.

*Guaranteed maximum donation of $150,000.

At the Water's Edge in Rocky Mountain National Park:
A Web Exclusive by National Parks Magazine

toad research

While rutting elk compete for the spotlight in Rocky Mountain National Park this fall, another park resident will be working just as hard to survive: the boreal toad. Once a thriving population in a remote, alpine lake, these amphibians have been declining at an alarming rate in the last couple of decades. Learn more about the challenges they face, and what the Park Service is doing to help them, in this visually stunning photo essay by photographer David Herasimtschuk.

National Parks MagazineNational Parks, our award-winning quarterly magazine, is an exclusive benefit of NPCA membership.SUBSCRIBE TODAY


Costa Rica: Off the Beaten Path
March 14-20, 2012

Costa Rica

In the spirit of examining national parks from a global perspective, we are pleased to offer a "comparative-studies" tour to Costa Rica in 2012. With over a quarter of its land under protection, Costa Rica boasts distinctive landscapes, as well as the "Pura Vida" culture. This unique journey will take you from the biodiverse Osa Peninsula to the rainforest of central Costa Rica. You will have the opportunity to walk through the rainforest with local guides, spend time on beautiful beaches, snorkel in the clear waters off the Osa, and raft down the Pacuare River. Add to your adventure with a pre-trip extension (March 10-14) to Corcovado National Park and/or a post-trip experience (March 20-25) in Arenal Volcano National Park and the cloud forests of both Monteverde and Santa Elena.

Main tour pricing starts at $3,295 per person double occupancy; extension pricing starts at $2,245 additional (pre-tour) and at $1,945 additional (post-tour) per person. For more information or to reserve your space, call us at 800.628.7375, email, or visit us online at

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From All the Staff at NPCA,

Thank you for your time and dedication in helping to enhance and protect our national parks for present and future generations.
NPCA's park-protection work is made possible by the generous support of people like you. Membership is just $25, and includes a subscription to our award-winning National Parks magazine, recently recognized for excellence in coverage of environmental tourism by the Society of American Travel Writers. Join Us Today!
Park Lines is a publication of the National Parks Conservation Association. E-mail us at, write to us at 777 6th Street, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20001, or call us at 800.NAT.PARK (800.628.7275).

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