From the Inbox - Park Lines: Your National Park News September 2011

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Park Lines September 2011


Big Thicket National Preserve, Texas

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With approximately 100,000 acres of dense vegetation and diverse wildlife in Southeast Texas, Big Thicket National Preserve is the perfect destination for the wild at heart. The preserve features an unusual mix of ecosystems spread across 15 park units in seven counties. Its diverse habitats, which range from sand hills to swamps, host a wide array of wildlife, including 60 mammals, 90 reptiles and amphibians, and more than 170 birds. Big Thicket's resources are particularly vulnerable to adjacent development because most of the preserve's units are small and isolated from one another. But one recently acquired section of the park helps extend and protect critical habitat: The new 6,600-acre Lower Cypress Tract of the Beaumont Unit is the only coastal wetlands environment in the preserve and serves as a crucial filtration system and breeding ground for many native animals, such as the American alligator, blue crab, and roseate spoonbill. It also provides a necessary buffer zone against flooding and erosion. NPCA is currently working with Lamar University to provide educational field trips to the new tract for students.

If you go

The preserve only has eight official hiking trails, varying from half a mile to 18 miles long, and some of these trails close for hunting season (October 1 to February 1). Paddling on rivers and creeks can be another exciting way to explore areas of the park that are too wild for footpaths.

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100,000+ Strong to Stop Cuts to Our Parks

National Parks Protection ProjectWe did it! NPCA and national park supporters have come together like never before to protect national park funding. Last month, we exceeded 100,000 signatures on our current petition that tells Congress "NO WAY" to more cuts in national parks funding.

This is by far the most successful petition drive we've ever had in our nearly 100-year history. If you haven't signed the petition yet, there's still time! Add your voice to the 100,000+ national park supporters.

Thank you for standing with NPCA to tell Congress that our national parks have already seen their share of budget cuts—more than $140 million in the last year alone. In the coming weeks, we will distribute the petition to key decision makers in Congress. Your action will help protect hundreds of our nation’s most special places, from the awe-inspiring stillness of the Everglades at sunrise to the emotional power of the monuments on the National Mall, for all of us and future generations to come.

Take action


Victory: Celebrate the Elwha River Restoration!

ElwhaOn September 17, the Park Service will kick off the biggest dam removal project in U.S. history, restoring the Elwha River in Washington State to a free-flowing waterway. NPCA has spent years leading efforts to fund the removal of the Elwha and Glines Canyon Dams and to raise awareness on the importance of this massive restoration in the Olympic National Park region. The project will restore habitat to five native salmon populations, support other wildlife and plants that depend on the salmon, increase recreational tourism, and aid in rebuilding wetlands, beaches, and the estuary at the river's mouth. Learn more about this important victory and how you can join NPCA on September 17 at celebrations in Port Angeles and Seattle.

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Victory: Wrangell-St. Elias on the Trail to Recovery

Biscayne BayDamaged off-road vehicle trails in Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve are finally getting an upgrade. Five years ago an NPCA lawsuit challenged the Park Service's illegal permitting of recreational off-road vehicle use, which shredded park wetlands and left behind a muddy mess. Now, plans for a sustainable trail system are complete. Soon, we'll see new hiking routes and stable access for qualified local residents, property owners, and recreational trail users. Learn more about this great development for park users on our website by reading our press releases from 2007 (detailing the settlement) and last month (describing the new plan). Please join us in thanking the Park Service for their commitment to protect and enhance our national parks for future generations!

Thank the Park Service


New Memorial on the National Mall Honors Martin Luther King, Jr.

ManassasDespite a major hurricane postponing the official dedication ceremony, thousands of people still flocked to Washington, DC, last month to witness the long-awaited memorial to honor the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. on the National Mall. The memorial, which opened to the public on August 22, features a 450-foot crescent-shaped granite wall facing the tidal basin, inscribed with 17 quotations by King. The centerpiece of the memorial is a 30-foot statue of the revered civil rights leader, known as the "Stone of Hope," shown emerging from a larger sculpture symbolizing a "Mountain of Despair"—both references to King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech, given on the steps of the nearby Lincoln Memorial as part of his historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. The new addition is the first major memorial on the National Mall to honor an African American and a leader who was not an American president. NPCA will post information on the new date for the dedication ceremony on our website when details are released.

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NPCA's National Park Field Guide App Hits 20K Downloads

NPCA AppNPCA's National Park Field Guide app (for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad) has recently reached more than 20,000 downloads. Unlike any other mobile app on the market today, the guide provides a comprehensive ecosystem review of 50 national parks. Users can access bird portraits, bird-call recordings, information about endangered and poisonous species, range maps, and a complete overview of park wildlife. Plus, it's free! Download today!

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Free Admission to All National Parks on National Public Lands Day, September 24

Public Lands DayEntrance fees at all national parks across the country will be waived for National Public Lands Day on Saturday, September 24. Whether you join the thousands of volunteers helping to clean up parks around the nation or just want to spend a nice fall day outside, be sure to find a park near you and mark your calendar to enjoy your visit for free!

Reminder: Cumberland Island National Seashore field trip, High Tides Women's Weekend

Public Lands DayThere is still space to join NPCA's Cumberland Island field trip, Kingsley Plantation tour, and ladies' luncheon that will take place as part of the 2nd Annual High Tides Women's Weekend from September 23-25. These special 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, enjoy 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. Make reservations for all three of these events by calling Southeast Regional Program Manager Emily Jones at 865.329.2424, ext. 26.

New Book Shares New Visions for Urban Parks

GatewayReleased last month at Princeton Architecture press, Gateway: Visions for an Urban National Park is a beautiful book that will appeal to park aficionados, landscape architects, academics, and those who wonder about the future of open space in our urban areas. Edited by Jamie Hand, Kate Orff, and NPCA's own Alexander Brash, the book follows the process of conceptualizing what an urban national park might be, how private ideas might be brought into the public realm, and the debates surrounding urban park planning. Park managers, advocates, park friends' groups, landscape architects, academics, and planners will find valuable insights here.

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East Coast Recovers from Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene

Last weekend, many national parks and communities along the East Coast sustained damage from Hurricane Irene. We hope the families who live in and around the affected areas are safe and that recovery efforts can happen quickly. Although most parks have reopened, several are dealing with serious issues. If you plan to travel between New York and North Carolina, be safe and check the individual park listings on the Park Service website for updates.

Protect the Parks

Grand Teton

Spending your long weekend at a national park? Labor Day offers the perfect opportunity to explore America’s history, culture, and iconic landscapes. As you do, please remember that NPCA, the foremost advocate for our national parks, needs your support to protect our national treasures for generations to come.

Donate now

Nature Valley Increases Donations When You Enter Your UPCs Online!

Nature Valley

America's national parks are facing huge challenges. Let's help ensure they are preserved for generations to come. Nature Valley is committed to protecting these special places where memories are made and family legends are born, and that's why they are partnering with the NPCA on six projects to help preserve our national parks for future generations. Nature Valley is donating $400,000 to NPCA, and you can help raise even more! For a short time, Nature Valley is increasing the donation to NPCA from 10¢ to $1 for every UPC entered (maximum donation: $100,000). Visit now to learn more about how you can make a difference!

Boston’s National Parks Lead Visitors Back in Time to Our Nation’s Beginnings, from National Parks Magazine

toad research

You probably read about them in grade-school history books—Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, James Otis, and other famous figures who helped free our nation in the Revolutionary War. But nothing brings their stories to life like the very staging grounds where the fight for independence occurred: Boston, Massachusetts, now a modern and bustling city that has stayed true to its historical roots, thanks to a little help from the National Park Service. Just outside the city is Cape Cod National Seashore—the perfect place to kick back and reflect on just how far our country has come in the last two centuries.

Read more

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



Springtime in Yosemite

May 20 -25, 2012


Snow melts over delicate waterfalls, dogwoods bloom in the famed Yosemite Valley, and giant sequoias stand witness to it all. Yosemite has captured the hearts of millions, but only a privileged few experience this legendary landscape bursting into life each spring. Start your journey at the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias. At Pioneer Yosemite History Center, you'll learn about people who played important roles in this park's protection. Then you'll head deeper into the park, descending into Yosemite Valley and retracing favorite locations of renowned naturalist John Muir—excerpts from his journal allow you to almost transcend time at Glacier Point, El Capitan, and Bridalveil Fall.

Tour pricing starts at $3,095 per person double occupancy. For more information or to reserve your space, call us at 800.628.7375, email, or visit us online at

Feedback? Story ideas? Email us at

Are you having trouble making a donation online? Call us at 1.800.628.7275 Monday - Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time and one of our representatives will be able to assist you.

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).

To learn more, visit us at

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"I've been here for ten years and every day reveals a new aspect of its beauty."

--Dusty Shultz, park superintendent for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, voted the Most Beautiful Place in America by the viewers of Good Morning America last month


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