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The National Parks System : Celebrate The Majesty of Nature

Updated on August 29, 2012
My old friend Mt. Rainier
My old friend Mt. Rainier | Source
Old Faithful, Yellowstone
Old Faithful, Yellowstone | Source
The Yellowstone River
The Yellowstone River | Source
Denali National Park
Denali National Park | Source
Preservation and conservation.
Preservation and conservation. | Source
The always lovely Puget Sound.
The always lovely Puget Sound. | Source
More from Yellowstone.
More from Yellowstone. | Source
Yellowstone
Yellowstone | Source

This first section is purely informational in nature; the rest is purely emotional in nature.

For those of you who missed the announcement, this coming week, April 21-29, is National Park Week in the United States. Free admission is being offered at the 397 sites managed by the National Park Service and there will be many special events held throughout the week.

The National Park Service was established in 1916 to manage and protect designated areas so that they may be preserved for all-time. The NPS manages 58 National Parks as well as National Monuments and they do so with 22,000 employees under the management of the Department of the Interior. The first national park established, the grand-daddy of them all, was Yellowstone National Park and it was opened in 1872.

During this special week of celebration there are several opportunities to become involved on a personal level in the maintenance of our parks. April 21st has been designated Volunteer Day; roll up your sleeves and sign up for one of the many clean-up and maintenance jobs that will be available to the public. On Sunday, April 22nd, there will be celebrations across the country for Earth Day and on April 28th they are having National Junior Ranger Day, giving kids a chance to attend special activities and become honorary park rangers.

TIME FOR SOME INTROSPECTION

Truth be told, if I had my way all construction would stop as of this moment. A ban would be in place and the unstoppable bludgeoning of this land or ours would come to a halt. There would be no more new housing communities, no new shopping malls and certainly no more mining or deforestation. We would wake up one day and look out over the despoiled landscape and as one we would rise up in celebration for the termination of the insanity.

Those are dreams of the foolish, however, and this writer has been called many things but foolish is not one of them. I have a firm grasp on reality and the reality we face in the year 2012 is that the population is growing rapidly and more of Mother Earth is needed to accommodate the rising tides of humanity. I find it profoundly sad and in a strange twist of fate I now understand what the Native Americans must have felt in the 18th and 19th Centuries as they watched the flood of immigrants move further and further west, a relentless swarm of greed and need, construction and destruction, constantly pushing aside the wilderness to claim their own legacy and destiny.

So my thoughts turn to this special week; what should be a reason for celebration is somehow tinged with regret and melancholy as I peer into the future and wonder about the outcome of this gluttony and insensitivity, this constant need to have more despite the consequences, for we truly are a short-sighted nation seemingly incapable of seeing beyond our own daily demands. Yes, that saddens me and what saddens me more is knowing that I am part of the problem. Despite my best intentions, despite my efforts to educate my students about the environment, I could be doing more and have chosen not to because I am…..busy living my life!

ON A PERSONAL LEVEL

My parents came from the Midwest; Iowa and Missouri to be precise and when they arrived in Washington State they were in awe of the natural beauty of the area. They chose to live in Tacoma which sits along the shoreline of the Puget Sound, a beautiful inland sea dotted with islands. From their neighborhood they could see the Cascade Mountains, dominated by Mt. Rainier, as lovely a sentinel of nature as one could ever hope to see, and to the west the cragged Olympic Mountains rose above the waters of Puget Sound, offering food for the soul of anyone willing to embrace their rugged beauty.

In that setting I was born and some of my earliest memories are of family picnics in the state parks and the occasional trip to Mt. Rainier where Douglas Firs reached for the heavens and served as a constant reminder of our miniscule stature in the grand scheme of things. It all seemed so unreal to me, so breathtaking, so……humbling! In those mountains, in that National Park, I found a kinship, a home away from home where I was instantly accepted, where the firs and the pines reached out to me, spoke to me and allowed me to just be.

My love affair with nature and the National Parks began when I was five years of age and it has continued for almost six decades. I have walked countless trails, climbed peaks, camped under the stars and tried to capture as much of the beauty as I possibly could through photography. I have stood atop Mt. Rainier, watched as a moose jumped over my car in Yellowstone, caught my breath as the sun set over Yosemite and bowed my head in stunned silence upon first seeing The Grand Tetons. I have watched as bighorn sheep scrambled up rocky ledges in The Badlands, gaped at the sight of thousands of caribou in Denali, felt dwarfed by those ancient guardians in The Redwoods and contemplated the existence of God while hiking through Glacier.

Thirty-eight of the fifty-eight I have seen, inhaling each fragrance, listening to the subtle sounds spoken to me and each time I have been saddened when the time to leave arrived. The lessons my parents taught me, lessons of respect for nature and appreciation for the wonder that surrounds me, have only grown stronger as the years have marched on. And yet that nagging fear that it will all one day disappear continues to deeply concern me.

WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS?

I have a natural distrust of the government. All too often I have been discouraged and disenchanted as politicians took the easier route in making decisions, influenced more often than not by campaign donations that spell trouble for nature. However, the people who work in these parks, who have been entrusted with their care and preservation, are some of the most dedicated people I have met. It is quite obvious that theirs is a labor of love, that they completely comprehend the sacred trust that they have been given, and for that I am grateful and encouraged. It is not enough, though, if this legacy of preservation is to be continued and in fact multiplied.

Those of you reading this today will be gone soon, as will I, and then the responsibility will pass on to our children. What will they do? Will they accept the stewardship that is passed down to them or will they turn their backs on a job that must be done if the National Parks are to survive and flourish? For all of the aforementioned reasons I believe this week, National Parks Week, is so important. What a wonderful opportunity to take children to parks and let them feel the very heartbeat of nature. What a wonderful opportunity to teach them about lessons that have been passed down since 1872. What a wonderful opportunity to guarantee that a legacy handed down to us will survive and thrive.

If we do not accept this challenge then one day in the not-so-distant future we will become less than what we could have been. We will have been given a glimpse of heaven and instead accepted the instant gratification of fast food, condos and convenience for the sake of convenience. Instead of standing on the shoulders of the giants who came before us we will root around foraging with the other scavengers who were once below us.

The choice is ours as a civilization. National Parks Week….so much more than a celebration….it is a call to action.

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

http://danateresa.hubpages.com/hub/Flagship-Species-Defined-and-Their-Role-in-Conservation

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/My-Love-Affair-With-Mount-Rainier

http://billybuc.hubpages.com/hub/Yellowstone-National-Park-A-Lust-Affair

http://thougtforce.hubpages.com/hub/Man-A-very-small-part-of-an-infinitely-larger-context-Yet-we-behave-as-if-we-are-the-greatest

http://ttoombs08.hubpages.com/hub/take-a-hike-to-celebrate

http://prairieprincess.hubpages.com/hub/Oh-Earth-A-Poem-For-Earth-Day

Do you have some activities planned for National Parks Week?

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    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Bravo. (Insert standing ovation here)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you TT...I thought you might appreciate it! Have a lovely weekend in North Dakota!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 5 years ago from United States

      Beautiful writeup Bill.

      With this hustle bustle of TO-DO lists to finish..we will be gone tomorrow but what action will be taken towards the preservation of our nature? I think the government ought to make something mandatory towards nature just as filing taxes is mandatory. This will make us pay attention to the majestic greenary around us.

      My kid's spring break is done so, visiting a national park will not be possible :(

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruchira! This is a subject that has always been important to me and I'm happy that you feel the same. Have a blessed and peaceful weekend my friend.

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Here in Canada I don't believe we have the same event, but I will be getting out on the trails anyway :) A great way to celebrate nature and the week starts with reading your well-written hub!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww, thanks Christy! Can you tell that I feel pretty strongly about this subject? Have a great time on the trails as I will.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

      Beautiful sentiments beautifully expressed. Sadly, I won't be able to visit any of your National Parks, but I hope they are preserved for all our sakes.

      Voted up etc.

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 5 years ago

      Hello Billybuc,

      I loved your hub, I have so many of your sentiments too. I was in Seattle a couple years ago and it was beautiful up there. So different than Texas. What a wonderful way for many to visit the parks and take the time to appreciate their beauty. I just wrote an article for yahoo but it is not published yet on Arbor day. We should constantly be replanting as we as a society like you said are outgrowing the Earths gifts. We have to make a conscious choice to do better. Thank you for a great hub!

      Sunnie

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Judy! Nice to see you once again. Thank you for visiting and I wish you peace and happiness this weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sunnie, your comments are timely and very appropriate. Thank you for visiting and blessings to you and yours.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Gorgeous photos and details! I'm hopping on my broom now and coming for a visit! Excellent hub!!

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 5 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Awesome Bill, I wish I could get out to the Redwoods State Park in Felton, but I have no car and there is no bus system where I am. So I will have to dream about it.

      I too wish I had the skills to be a part of the solution rather than just watching this destruction happening!

      Well Done!

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 5 years ago from Sweden

      Wonderful hub and I agree on everything you say about the way we treat this planet. But just like you, I find it hard to see a solution as long as our only goal is,more, bigger, better without considering the cost to nature. I would really want to visit one of your fantastic National Parks but since it is a bit difficult I will have to celebrate from here! Excellent hub and wonderful photos!

      Voted up, up, and across!

      Tina

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Beautifully written hub, Billybuc! Our National Parks are indeed a national treasure that should be preserved at all cost. In our travels, we've visited many National Parks and Monuments, and each one is a gem! I've ofen wondered if our grandchildren will be lucky enough to enjoy them as we did. Your photographs are fantastic!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda...LOL...I don't think you really have a broom! Come any time and we'll have lunch and I'll give you a tour. Thank you so much my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Mark, we have to find a way to liberate you...perhaps a motor scooter is in order? Thank you my friend; I always appreciate you stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tina, let me know if you ever make it over here and we will celebrate nature together. Until then have a wonderful weekend and thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Stephanie, thank you! I felt good after writing this one; I just wish it had someone to reach thousands and make an impact. Best wishes this weekend and blessings always.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Well done. I spent four of the best years of my life at Ft. Lewis, WA, living on American Lake with a view of Mt. Ranier. Such beautiful country.

      I read once that national parks were first established to protect such places from the commercialism that almost ruined Niagra Falls.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathleen, if I'm not mistaken you are correct. I seem to have heard that same thing. Thank you for reading a labor of love!

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 5 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Thanks Billy for telling it like it is! What a wonderful piece for earth day! Wonderful pictures, that mountain will always have a piece of my heart. Thanks for letting all of us know about it being National Parks week. We really do live in such a beautiful state!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is indeed, Ruby, it is indeed! Have a wonderful weekend my friend and thank you for the kind words.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Thank you, billy. Hope you have a lovely weekend as well, and get a chance to visit one of your beloved parks. I'm going to try to squeeze in a visit to the wild horses and buffalo. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      TT, I think I'm jealous. :)

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Beautiful hub! My soul suffers a bit when I am away from nature too long. This is a great reminder of Earth Day as well. Well done!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      We do need to visit our National Parks more often. The ones we have here in South Florida are quite interesting, just watch out for the gators. Truly a written masterpiece here!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Tammy! I like your description...your soul suffers...mine too.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Teaches; kind words for sure. I've never been to Florida so those are still on my bucket list. Have a wonderful weekend my friend.

    • By His Way profile image

      By His Way 5 years ago from TEXAS: That's right - in all caps.

      Beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      I'm going to link this one with the one I wrote about Take a Hike....if it's OK with you, of course. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are very welcome By His Way, thank you for taking the time to read it.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      TT, it sounds like a plan; I'll do the same on this hub.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Works for me...I used this one and your lusty one. ;)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you...aren't you up rather late? Have a great weekend TT.

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      No way, Dad, it's not even 10pm! :) lol Actually, I was just getting ready to head off to bed. You too! And sweet dreams!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL Sweet dreams to you too!

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      ....well I am all for celebrating nature as I live myself but 100 feet or so from lake erie here in Ontario, Canada and it literally looks like a vast ocean as far as the naked eye can see ..... and I also enjoy 'celebrating' your many fine hub selections and topics as well - sending you warm wishes and good energy at 12:09pm

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Colin, I have only driven by Lake Erie and I can say I was astonished at the size of it; it was like looking at an ocean for sure. It would be an astonishing thing to wake up each day to that view.

      Thank you sir and may you have a peaceful day on the shoreline.

      bill

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Oh yes yes yes Billy what a gem and my sentiments exactly.

      I second each and every word of yours from beginning to end!!

      Oh how I owe so much to our Earth Mother;not concious of the lesso ns I was learning from her as I explored evert single inch of the 'commins' in the small seaside town where I grew up.

      Again I re-taught these lessons to my children;maybe they didn't have the strong attatchment that I had with Nature but it was so certainly there nonetheless.

      I hope that you enjoy your day Billy(I know you will) and say Hi from me from to Bev.

      An Up up and away here my dear friend/

      Take care

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, it was nature that gave me a place of peace when I could find it nowhere else and it will always be nature that is my true home.

      Thank you my dear; may your day be filled with love and happiness. Send my best wishes to Dai and I offer a toast to you and I; may we spend many years sharing the joys of friendship.

      bill

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      I forgot to tell you Billy that I have also linked this hub to mine.

      Enjoy!!

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eddy! Have a wonderful picnic tomorrow; many a time Bev and I have had picnics in the car and had a great time....enjoy!

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 5 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      This hub has beautiful pictures. It would be so sad if generations from now all the national parks are gone and people don't get to see and understand the beauty of nature. Thanks for bringing all this to light.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I love the sound of nature. There's nothing like walking through a wooded area, the feeling of serenity is wonderful. Thank you for sharing and reminding us..Cheers

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Truth, you are very welcome and thanks for the lovely comment. We do what we can to keep important issues in the light and this, to me, is an important issue.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, you are very welcome and thank you. I love the sounds of nature, and the scents, and the sights. It is a symphony for the senses. Have a wonderful Earth Day tomorrow!

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      wow billy what can I say you said it all my friend.. I wish we could preserve all parks our earth.. bless you for writing a beautiful;l hub.

      let's hope our children will be good stewards.sharing

      Debbie..

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Debbie, thank you! Coming from you that means a great deal to me. I hope for the same things you do my friend; not much you or I can do about it now other than keep writing and pray.

      Blessings and peace to you

      bill

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up and awesome. Love anything to do with nature and of course now living in Riga, Latvia I am far from the beauty of America's National Parks but I fully support them in any way I can. Meaning letting people know about them or signing petitions to protect them and so on. We in Latvia have one especially lovely and large national park called the Gauja National Park. We visit most every year.Thank you for sharing this most interesting and informative hub and passing it on.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Gypsy, I would love to hear more about your national park. Have you done a hub on it? We in the States know so little about foreign lands and I promise you we know next to nothing about Latvia!

      Thank you for your kind words; Happy Earth Day to you!

      bill

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      Billibuc,

      I can relate to the native americans, when they saw their mother land being taken over by the ancestors from our politicians... if you know what I mean. Earth is not a place to play with. There is a limit for everything, and nature has set our echo-system to... take justice with its own hands, if we don't stop salvaging our land. Your pictures are great! And Tacoma has been named in some songs. Your parents made a great choice, when they settled there. Voting this hub up!

      LORD

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lord, how right you are! The Earth can only take so much from us; we need to do our part to stop the pillaging before it is too late. Tacoma in songs..." I went from Phoenix, Arizona all the way to Tacoma..." Great comments..thank you!

    • Jason R. Manning profile image

      Jason R. Manning 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Excellent Hub Billy, I haven't heard of this till now. It's that time to take advantage of the beautiful weather in Washington. Time for Mountain Loop trail again. Cheers.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is that time Jason! Enjoy my friend as will I.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Yes if you take a look at my hubs I have some pieces on Latvia and one which includes the Gauja National Park called Sigulda - A Lovely Place to Visit.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Gypsy! I will do that.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      You gave me a lot to think about -- I too worry about whether what we're doing today will leave anything for future generations. Fortunately, we still have national parks that we can protect. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      True words Aurelio! We need to be the guardians of this land until someone else takes our place. They are too precious to lose. Thank you for stopping by.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Billy... loved this and what a great read and a wonderful tribute to nature and what has been set aside.

      I have spent many hours hiking into te far reaches of Denali National Park. I was under contract doing research at the time and was able to access some areas most will never see because of the isolation. For those who have never been I would highly recommend it. Great read and well done...

      Hugs from Canada

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rolly, I had no doubt that you would like this hub and thank you! When I lived in a small village on the tundra near Bethel, Alaska, I had those thoughts, that I may be the first white man to have walked along that path...humbling for sure.

    • Daisy Mariposa profile image

      Daisy Mariposa 5 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

      Bill,

      This is a beautiful Hub with fantastic photographs. I hope our national parks are preserved and no more are eliminated.

      Two of my favorites are Yosemite National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Have you visited either of those?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Daisy! I have been to Yosemite and it is a jewel of the park system; I have never traveled to Hawaii but it's on my to do list.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Great article and beautiful photos. I have not visited the National Parks out West and at that is something I want to do someday. Your photos are breathtaking!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzette, coming from Florida, right? You would be amazed if you ever make the trip out here. I hope you can some day. I'll be happy to give you a tour. :)

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 5 years ago from UK

      Great hub Bill, it shows your passion for nature and the desire to protect as much of it. The video and photographs greatly enhance the writing - the latter comes right from your heart and so you've got us all signed up to protect nature. Wonderful!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Doc, thank you for reading and sharing. You are a good man and I appreciate who you are.

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