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2016: CELEBRATING AMERICA'S NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
 
(2016 - Winter/Spring Issue)

Writer: JOSEPHINE MATYAS



In 2016, the U.S. National Park Service is marking 100 years and it’s going to be a huge celebration across the country!

A century ago, the pristine landscapes were protected for eternity, for the people of the country, by an act of Congress. These days, more than 400 parks and historic sites are popular tourist destinations—together, they contain 29,000 kilometres of trails, 27,000 historic and prehistoric structures, 247 threatened and endangered species, and 167 million museum items. Last year, the parks hosted almost 293 million visitors. There’s something for everyone—all ages and interest levels.

In 2016, there are many highlights and ways to get the most from a National Park visit. This is the year to include one on your itinerary. Here are a few tips and suggestions:

•          2016 entrance fees will be waived on 16 specific days, including during April 16–24, National Park Week.

•          FindYourPark.com, a new, interactive search tool, lists special centennial events at parks across the country.

•          Throughout the year, guided nighttime desert walks are held at Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona.

•          In the Hawaiian Islands, Haleakala National Park protects the world’s largest dormant volcano surrounded by an otherworldly landscape of cinder desert.

•          In the month of June, astronomers guide visitors through star parties at Grand Canyon National Park. The canyon is famous for its geology: the walls and layers are snapshots of at least 10 large-scale geological events during the last two billion years.

•          Mesa Verde in Colorado is the only U.S. national park that is based primarily on human activity rather than natural features. The park protects the remains of thousands of cliff dwellings, pithouses, kivas and stone structures, all built 2,600 metres atop the flat-topped mesa.

•          Everglades National Park in Florida is the largest subtropical wilderness in the nation. The park is home to manatee, American crocodile and the Florida panther.

•          Glacier National Park borders Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park—together they became the world’s first International Peace Park. Glacier is known for backcountry wilderness experiences.

•          In New Mexico, the cliffs and archaeological ruins at Chaco Culture National Historic Park are a must-see stop for anyone interested in American Indian culture and history, archaeology and archaeoastronomy.

To light the candles on the year-long party, a new 3D film, National Parks Adventure, will be released for IMAX® and giant-screen theatres in mid-February 2016. Narrated by Academy Award-winner Robert Redford, the immersive 3D cinematography takes viewers on a front-row experience of America’s spectacular outdoor parks, wilderness and treasured landscapes. The film was shot in 30 national parks and includes time-lapse and aerial footage using special IMAX cameras to capture the best of the landscapes and wildlife across the four seasons.

Discover more information on travel to the USA at visittheusa.ca.

 
 
 
 
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