For the Love of National Parks

by Kate Elling
For many of us, summer vacation equals finding a special place to visit out-of-doors!

Whether it’s a national park, historical reserve, historic site, historical park, recreation area, wildlife refuge or historic trail, we are fortunate to have so many options. And let’s remember the state, county and city parks that also provide opportunities to enjoy a green space - even a backyard oasis counts. According to many scientific studies, being outdoors can help us relax, sleep better, improve our mood and be more creative.

For those newbies to the area (myself included), here’s a bit of historical information about the three national parks located in Washington State:

Olympic National Park is the largest with 922,649 acres from the Pacific Coast to the Puget Sound. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the bill creating the park in 1938; then in 1976, UNESCO named it an International Biosphere Reserve and due to “its immense diversity, scenic views, and variety of flora and fauna,” it was declared a World Heritage site in 1981.

The North Cascades National Park Complex includes a national park made up of northern and southern units and two national recreation areas (Ross Lake and Lake Chelan). The North Cascades mountain range has been called the “American Alps” with its jagged ridges, spires and pinnacles. It’s a rather young national park as it joined its cohorts in 1968, providing scenic, scientific and recreational opportunities in a wilderness environment.

And then there’s Mount Rainier National Park, one of the most visited national parks in the country with almost 2.5 million visitors in 2021! Perhaps you were one of them! It is the oldest (1899) and smallest (236,381 acres) of Washington’s national parks. Mount Rainier is the tallest volcano in the lower 48 and the fifth tallest peak. It is a place for family recreation, hiking, camping, climbing or studying nature.

If you need more information in order to decide where your next visit will be, please check out the following books available in the shop:
Day Hike! North Cascades by Mike McQuaide
There are so many places waiting to show you the natural beauty of Washington State!

Other options to honor and celebrate the great outdoors of the U.S. are available in the shop, too. Look for the “no bug repellent needed” options of postcards, note cards, puzzles, notebooks, stickers, magnets, and pencils! Shop HERE.

The Great Outdoors is calling! Let’s gather our sunscreen, water bottle, good shoes (and other necessities), and head out.
Make it a splendid day,