Celebrate our national parks

The National Park Service turns 100 today. Check out the centennial page and find your park.

I am a national parks conservative.

I love the idea of preserving our natural and historical treasures for public benefit. Our national parks instill pride and foster community. I’m glad that we have the parks, and I would support even more funding to expand the museums, displays, and preservation efforts of our National Park Service. The federal government does all sorts of silly and harmful things, but spending money on national parks is not one them.

All of my favorite vacations involve a trip to a national park.

After I completed eighth grade, my dad gave me the opportunity to  plan a few visits to Civil War battlefields, including Gettysburg, Fredericksburg, and Antietam, as part of our summer family vacation. We ended up stopping at nearly ten national parks. I dutifully stamped my “National Parks Passport” at each stop.

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My sister has never forgiven me.

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The national parks even have a Grand Rapids connection. Our own Charles Belknap was on the commission to create the first National Military Park at the Battlefield of Chickamauga.

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I have visited the Chickamauga-Chattanooga park each of the last two years, and I could go back every year. It’s an amazing place. Oh, and don’t forget Gettysburg. It’s massive, and you can’t top it in terms of historical significance. I mean other than Independence Hall in Philadelphia. The Second Continental Congress, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitutional Convention. That’s amazing. Oh and . . . .

Here’s to another 100 years for the National Park Service.

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