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America's National Parks Podcast
RV Miles Network
This weekly story-based show takes you behind the events, people, and nature that have shaped our National Parks, and the 421 units managed by the National Park Service.
22 hours ago
When you ask Americans to list some of our country's most famous poets and short story tellers, you’ll rarely hear mention of one of the most well-known authors of all time. Perhaps it’s because most think he was British, or perhaps it’s because most of his macabre stories seem a genre all of their own. Today on America’s National Parks, Philadelphia’s Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, and his masterpiece, "The Raven," just in time for Halloween.
Oct 19, 2020
National Park sites, even the natural ones, have seen many uses over the history of America, often due to the unique features that make them worth preserving in the first place. From its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands and expansive sand beaches to its open grasslands, brushy hillsides, and forested ridges, Point Reyes offers visitors over 1500 species of plants and animals to discover. Today on America’s National Parks, the historic RCA/Marconi wireless stations that sent morse code across the pacific during one of the most difficult times in American history.
Oct 12, 2020
Second Century Camping
On last week’s episode, we took a look at early road planning and design in the parks, and we’re continuing with the theme this week, by looking at the history of National Park Campgrounds. You might not realize it, but so much of modern campground design, whether it be state and federal parks or privately ran facilities, was developed through the National Park Service throughout the 20th century. And now, the park service is taking a fresh look at campground design. Not to re-invent them, or turn them into gaudy spaces for glamping. The new national park service second century campground strategy is all about making camping spaces more user friendly, efficient, and inclusive, all while respecting the natural resources of the given park. You can comment on the Second Century strategy here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=415&projectID=97629&documentID=106910
Oct 4, 2020
A Tale of Two Roads
As the National Park idea began to inspire Americans far and wide, a major problem arose: how to provide safe access to these often wild and dangerous places, especially as the automobile began to make cross-country travel easier and more affordable. Today on America’s National Parks, two roads that taught the National Park Service some of the major lessons that have been applied to park design over the past century: Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Sep 27, 2020
New NPS Units, Bears, Rescues, and Fires | National Park News
It's time month’s News from the Parks episode of the America’s National Parks Podcast, where we round up the latest happenings at America’s Greatest Treasures. On this episode, we have 2 new National Park Service units, bear attacks, fire & hurricanes, a terrible vandalism to a cave, news from National Parks in other countries, and so much more!
Sep 20, 2020
Leave No Trace (or...How to Poop in the Woods)
This week we learn about reducing impact on the environment when visiting National Parks and other public lands, along with a lesson on what to do when nature calls out on the trail from rangers at Yosemite National Park.
Sep 15, 2020
The Million Dollar Room
In Yellowstone National Park's Upper Geyser Basin sits an unassuming store, one that's lasted for nearly all the park's human history. It's famed owner wallpapered his office in the most unusual way—with hundreds of cancelled checks. This week, the Million Dollar Room in the Lower Hamilton's Store at Yellowstone National Park
Aug 29, 2020
Wolverines, an Overturned Tanker, and a $500,000 Fine | National Park News
A man gets jail and a $500,000 fine for sneaking into Canada’s National Parks during the coronavirus, a tanker truck overturns in Yellowstone, a veritable novel is graffitied onto a popular lighthouse, and Wolverines have been spotted in one National Park for the first time in over a century. It’s time for the latest in National Park News.
Aug 25, 2020
Parks During a Pandemic
It's now clear we’re dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic for the long haul, and instead of just staying inside, many Americans are wanting to figure out how to recreate responsibly. And what could be a better place to socially distance than a National Park, right? Well, it’s not so simple. This week, we’re sharing with you an episode of a different podcast: "Everybody’s National Parks." Hosts Danielle and Bryan do an excellent job taking us on deep dives into parks through their trip reports as well as interviews from expert to help us get the best out of their visits. Jason sat down virtually with Danielle to chat about visiting the parks during the virus, and Joining was Brad from the new "Hello, Ranger podcast." Brad and Matt Kirouac formerly hosted the "Parklandia" podcast, and now, they’ve started a whole community of park lovers that includes a great app and Park Ambassadors to help you navigate your National Park experience.
Aug 17, 2020
90 Years in the West
On the border of utah and colorado sits a place where the wild rugged land has been used for centuries to carve out a modern human existence, long before it was found to contain the world’s greatest collection of dinosaur bones. Here one woman lived for nearly a century, as the world modernized, she kept this place as a link to the past.
Aug 10, 2020
News From the Parks: New NPS Funding, Strange Blue Squares at Zion, Cuyahoga Dams Removed
It's time for another "News from the Parks" edition of the podcast. This week, we'll learn about how the funds from the Great American Outdoors Act will be used, how the Cuyahoga River is flowing more free than ever, and some strange blue-square graffiti that has rangers puzzled and cleaning at Zion.
Aug 2, 2020
The Complexities of Climate Change
Today on America’s National Parks, we travel to California’s Sequoia and Kings Canyon, where decades of research show us how the world is changing, and help us to figure out what to expect next.
Jul 26, 2020
Perhaps no city in the United States exceeds Chicago in the number, breadth, intensity, and national importance of labor upheavals. One of our most recent national park service sites celebrates and remembers the contributions to American society of an ingenious entrepreneur, but more importantly, the workers who made his dreams happen, and their battle for fair pay. Today on America's National Parks, The Pullman National Monument.
Jul 11, 2020
As far as atrocities against Native Americans by westerners, it’s hard to pick the worst. But there’s one that certainly ranks up there. Surely the horrific, predawn mass murder of at least 150 unarmed people, mostly women and children, who were flying the American flag fits the bill. Today on America’s National Parks, we revisit the dedication of Colorado’s Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site.
Jul 4, 2020
News from the Parks | Big Bend Closes, Yosemite Cancels Reservations
On this month's "News from the Parks" episode, we talk about new closures, even as most parks have reopened. Plus, a new, 6-year celebration of America's 250th birthday kicks off in the parks.
Jun 27, 2020
On average, there are only one or two non-lethal bear "incidents" in a given year at Glacier National Park. And there have only been 10 bear-related fatalities in the history of the park (all of those have occurred since 1967). Only three of those fatalities involved hikers. Still, human-bear encounters can end in death and injury, no doubt, and the attacking bear is often euthanized. So, bear safety is incredibly important. Today on America’s National Parks, we head to Glacier for a lesson in bear safety.
Jun 21, 2020
The Green Table
About 1,400 years ago, long before Europeans explored North America, a group of people living in the Four Corners region - where today Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet - chose what is now called Mesa Verde for their home. For more than 700 years they and their descendants lived and flourished here, eventually building elaborate stone communities in the sheltered alcoves of the canyon walls. Then, in the late A.D. 1200s, in the span of a generation or two, they disappeared. Today on America’s National Parks, Mesa Verde, a spectacular reminder of this ancient culture - and so much more.
Jun 14, 2020
The Great American Outdoors Act
On today's episode, we explore the pending legislation entitled the "Great American Outdoors Act" with Pew Charitable Trusts' Marcia Argust. The act promises to reduce the $12 billion maintenance backlog in the National Park Service.
Jun 7, 2020
On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that segregation in the public schools of the nation was unconstitutional. One of the first big tests of that decision came in Little Rock, Arkansas. Nine Black children attempted to enroll in the all-white Central High School. They would become known as the "Little Rock Nine.” Several segregationist councils threatened to hold protests at Central High and physically block the black students from entering the school. Governor Orval Faubus deployed the Arkansas National Guard to support the segregationists on September 4, 1957. The sight of a line of soldiers blocking out the students made national headlines and polarized the nation. On September 24, President Eisenhower ordered the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army—without its black soldiers—to Little Rock and federalized the entire 10,000-member Arkansas National Guard. As much as it was a momentous occasion i…
Jun 1, 2020
News from the Parks | National Parks Adjust to a New Normal
As summer begins, the National Park Service is instituting phased reopenings at many parks across the country, allowing visitors various levels of access to amenities. Meanwhile, park officials, concessionaires, and, gateway communities are figuring out how to manage the influx of new travelers amidst a pandemic that is far from over.
May 23, 2020
The Life of a Canine Ranger
Every fall in one of the largest national parks in America, visitation slows to a near halt by the end of September. The ground is already covered with golden aspen leaves and the mountaintops are powdered with snow called “termination dust”. The skies lose up to 9 minutes of sunlight every day and the northern lights dance over the crisp landscape at night. While so much of the park and landscape slows into the winter, there is one group of individuals that eagerly await the snow: the sled dogs of Denali.
May 18, 2020
How a National Park Becomes a World Heritage Site
While exploring National Parks, Monuments and historic sites across the country, you may have noticed gigantic plaques in a few of the visitor centers, designating them as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Today on America's National Parks, we explore what makes these sites special, and what it takes for an exceptional place to become a World Heritage Site.
May 10, 2020
The Great Humanitarian
Herbert Hoover had been president for less than a year when the stock market crashed. At the next election, he was swept out out the white house and out of public life as a scapegoat that would forever be saddled with a legacy of a presidential disaster. It's time to set the record straight. Today on America's National Parks, the Herbert Hoover that maybe you didn't know, and his National Park legacy.
May 2, 2020
White Nose Syndrome
The National Park Service manages 84 million acres, in 419 parks, 1 in 4 of which have caves, and 1 in 3 of which have mines. Many of these caves and mines provide habitat for hibernating bats. Bats are an essential part of many American ecosystems, but they're under threat from a hidden illness called white-nose syndrome. Since 2006, this fungal disease has killed millions of bats in North America. In some caves and mines, 90-100% of bat populations have died. Parks in more than half of the United States are affected by the presence of White Nose Syndrom. Losing an important predator so quickly may have a drastic effect on the ecology of a given park. As the disease spreads, scientists consider the impact and potential for impact on national parks to be very high. Today on America's National Parks, Bats of the Greater Yellowstone area - and how National Park Service scientists are working to learn how to protect them.
Apr 23, 2020
National Park Week Throwback Thursday: Other Great National Park Podcasts
This week, we're doing something a little different. It's National Park Week, and we're teaming up with other National Park podcasters, authors, bloggers, and other content creators to celebrate. The theme for Today, Thursday, April 23rd is "Throwback Thursday," so a few of us podcasts decided to band together for a "best-of" sort of episode. We're going to play you a clip each from, Gaze at the National Parks, Everybody's National Parks, Parklandia, and America's National Parks. These throwback episodes are some of our favorites. We hope you enjoy.
Apr 18, 2020
Dust of the Earth
Known as "John of the Mountains" and "Father of the National Parks," legendary naturalist John Muir was far ahead of his time, holding ideals that many are just coming around to. Muir undertook a daring adventure in 1867 that led him to the path of natural enlightenment. He decided that he wanted to explore the world. He left his life in Indiana and walked one thousand miles to Florida. Muir trekked south through Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida with little more than a map, a compass, a brush, soap, and a change of underclothes. Muir later penned his adventure in "A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf," which has become a classic naturalist text set against the backdrop of the post-civil war south. In it, he makes loads of prescient observations, but none more arresting than his denunciation of the idea that God mad nature as man's personal resource factory. That perhaps, the creator mad nature for nature's sake, and the lives and feelings of every plant and anima…
Apr 11, 2020
Angel of the Battlefield
In this difficult time in the world, we look to heroes from our past as inspiration to help us find the resolution to possess even a small fraction of their helping spirit. Clara Barton's life's work has rippled through the generations, and, in fact, the response to today's pandemic crisis might have been very different were she never born. Today, one of the most decorated women in American history, and the Clara Barton National Historic Site.
Apr 5, 2020
The Return of the Wolves
In the battle for conservation and the protection and reinvigoration of endangered species, one animal serves as a symbol to remind us of what we've done as a human race, and how we have the responsibility to fix our mistakes. And it all played out in America's first and most famous National Park. Today on America's National Parks, Yellowstone, and the 25th anniversary of the return of the Grey Wolf.
Mar 28, 2020
Just 75 miles from the bustle of Washington, D.C., is an escape to recreation and re-creation. Cascading waterfalls, spectacular vistas, and quiet wooded hollows - 200,000 acres of protected lands are a haven to deer, songbirds, and the night sky. But the history of this land is also the history of the people who gave up their homes for a great national park in the East. Today on America's National Parks, Shenandoah, and the livelihood of the people who called the mountains their home.
Mar 23, 2020
News from the Parks | March 2020
As travel restrictions, shelter-in-place orders, and closures to all but the most essential services sweep the country, the National Park Service has been caught in the middle of wanting to protect people and places, while providing recreational opportunities for Americans to get out and free their minds in nature.
Mar 14, 2020
Going to the Sun
Only a few miles of rough wagon roads existed within Glacier National Park when Congress established the park on May 11, 1910. Many people, including the first Park Superintendent, William R. Logan, wanted to build a transmountain road across the park. Supporters argued that a good road system would enable people to reach the interior of the park even if they could not afford the rates of the Great Northern Railroad and its chalets. And enthusiasm for good roads and automobiling had infected National Park Service officials as much as the rest of the country. But sheer cliffs, short construction seasons, sixty foot snow-drifts, and tons of solid rock made the idea of building a road across the Continental Divide a unique challenge. Today on America's National Parks, Glacier's Going to the Sun Road.
Mar 9, 2020
Wilderness of Rock
337,598 acres of colorful canyons, mesas, buttes, fins, arches, and spires in the heart of southeast Utah's high desert. A land where water and gravity are the prime architects, sculpting layers of rock into the rugged landscape we see today in Canyonlands National Park.
Mar 5, 2020
In the far west, you can find one of the oldest living organisms in the world. A tree that can live for thousands of years due to its ability to survive whatever is thrown at it. 56 years ago, the oldest tree ever was found, containing nearly 5000 years of growth rings. It germinated before the Egyptian Pyramids were built. Unfortunately, nobody knew it was the oldest known tree until it was gone. Today, Great Basin National Park, the Bristlecone Pine, and how one man accidentally killed the oldest tree in the world.
Mar 2, 2020
News from the Parks | February 2020
This month's news round-up features the temporary closing of Mount Rainier, annual visitation numbers in the park system, and concerns about the coronavirus affecting businesses in and around Yellowstone.
Feb 15, 2020
101 Years Apart
This past Wednesday, Grand Canyon National Park's Interpretive Rangers lowered the flag in honor of one of their own. A ranger who lived and worked at Grand Canyon National Park for the past 20 years, and became a favorite of visitors from far and wide. Ron Brown. After forty-eight jobs in five states, Ron Brown found his calling as an interpretive park ranger. He passed peacefully in his sleep at his home in Grand Canyon Village. Ranger Ron's popularity among Grand Canyon visitors was undeniable. One of the programs he was best known for was his portrayal of the tall-tale spinning "Captain" John Hance.
Feb 8, 2020
A Lasting Impact
The contributions of immigrants to our great nation are undeniable. Some of our greatest institutions were literally built on the backs of immigrants of all stripes. Our national parks are no exception. In the west, some of the most significant contributions came from the Chinese. Today, Yosemite National Park, and the incredible contributions to it by Chinese Americans.
Feb 2, 2020
News from the Parks | January 2020
Welcome to January's "News From the Parks" episode of the America's National Parks Podcast, our monthly show where we round up for you the latest info about happenings at America's Greatest treasures. On this episode, shark fossils in Mammoth Cave, a massive increase in visitation at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the 25th anniversary of the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone.
Jan 26, 2020
What Makes a National Park?
The National Park designation has become one of the most prestigious terms in the English language. National parks have stirred the imagination of Americans ever since they were dreamed up, and a recent focus has been sparked by the confluence of social sharing like YouTube and Instagram, the park service's recent 100th anniversary celebrated in 2016, and incredible documentaries like Ken Burns' "America's Best Idea." But the structure of the National Park System remains a mystery to many casual visitors — some of it's even confusing to the National Park expert. What exactly makes a National Park?
Jan 18, 2020
National Park Passes Explained
It's the time of year where people around the world are planning their adventures to America's National Parks, and we thought this would be the perfect time to explain one of the things we most commonly get questions about - Annual Park Passes.
Jan 11, 2020
The Black Canyon
The deep canyons of the west enchant us today as much as they did those who dared to explore them for the first time. They're all unique in their own ways, as nature seems to brag about the incredible might of its gem-cutting rivers. But one Colorado canyon, in particular, is like none of the rest. It exposes you to some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America. Over two million years, a river has sculpted this vertical wilderness of rock, water, and sky that, in parts, only receive 33 minutes of sunlight a day due to its steep, narrow split — giving it an ominous name, The Black Canyon. Today's episode of the America's National Parks Podcast, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
Jan 4, 2020
The Great Prairie Highway
It was an international road for American and Mexican traders, until 1848, when the Mexican-American War ended, and New Mexico joined the United States. It became a national road for commercial and military freighting, stagecoach travel, emigration, and mail service. On Today's Episode of America's National Parks, the Santa Fe National Historic Trail.
Dec 28, 2019
News from the Parks | December 2019
This month, there's a new national park in the system, fees are increasing at parks around the country, invasive species are threatening the park system, the Narrows trail at Zion will be protected forever, and a whole lot more.
Dec 21, 2019
Today on the America's National Parks Podcast, the vision of a D.C. socialite to develop and share a love of the arts with the community set to the backdrop of nature. Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts.
Dec 14, 2019
Treasure in the Sea
Today, Channel Islands National Park and the original 1982 "Treasures of the Sea" park film. Now in retirement, this version was replaced in 2011 with the currently running film featuring narration by Kevin Costner.
Dec 7, 2019
On December 19th, 1777, 12,000 weary revolutionary war soldiers and 400 women and children marched into what would be their winter encampment. They began to build what was essentially the fourth largest city in the United States, with 1,500 log huts and two miles of fortifications. Lasting six months, from December until June, the encampment was as diverse as any city, with people who were free and enslaved, wealthy and impoverished, speakers of several languages, and adherents of multiple religions. Concentrating the soldiers in one vast camp changed the face of the conflict, leading to the long-fought independence the colonies so desired. Today on America's National Parks, Pennsylvania's Valley Forge National Historical Park.
Nov 30, 2019
News from the Parks | November 2019
This month we have news of a cold case that's haunted the park service for over 40 years, an expansion of Rocky Mountain National Park, a National Park Service TV drama in development, and whole lot more!
Nov 23, 2019
Toward a Dark and Indefinite Shore
After the Civil War ended with the surrender at Appomattox, Abraham Lincoln waited two days to speak. He opened, "we meet this evening, not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart." Lincoln was looking ahead to the reconstruction of the nation, but it would take place without him. This week, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, at Ford's Theater in Washington D.C.
Nov 15, 2019
A Prescription for Fire
From a seed no bigger than one from a tomato, California's coast redwood may grow to a height of 367 feet and have a width of 22 feet at its base. Imagine a 35-story skyscraper and you have an inkling of the trees' ability to arouse humility. Fires are the lifeblood of a conifer forest, and human development creates the need for prescribed burns for the health and longevity of the forest. This is California's Redwood National Park.
Nov 9, 2019
The Legacy of 3 Million
If you've spent a decent amount of time in National or State parks in the U.S., you've probably been in a building built by a federal program that employed nearly 3 million people during the most difficult economic time in our country's history. Their work constructed trails and shelters in more than 800 state and national parks. They built wildlife refuges, fisheries, water storage basins and animal shelters. They built bridges and campground facilities, many of which are still in use today. Today on America's National Parks, the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Nov 2, 2019
The Sound of Geology
One of our most visited National Parks averages more than a half-million visitors per month in the summer, who flock to see massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar into a brilliant blue sky. It's main feature, a glorious canyon carved by an unassuming yet powerful river. Unlock the hidden geologic mysteries of Zion National Park on this latest episode of the episode.
Oct 30, 2019
National Geographic's Jon Waterman
Adventurer Jon Waterman is the award-winning author of several books on the American landscape, including several on the wilds of Alaska and the conflicts surrounding the Colorado River. His newest book, commissioned by National Geographic, is called "Atlas of the National Parks," and contrary to the name, it's no road map. Pre-order the Atlas to the National Parks here: https://amzn.to/2pphBZ0
Oct 26, 2019
News from the Parks | October 2019
Welcome to the October "News From the Parks Episode" of the America's National Parks Podcast, our new monthly series where we round up for you the latest info about happenings in America's Greatest treasures.
Oct 19, 2019
National Parks play roles in all kinds of American legends, and Yellowstone, our first park, is no exception. It's October, time to dust off the ghost stories and feast on three short pieces of Yellowstone lore, as retold by S.E. Schlosser for her book "Spooky Yellowstone."
Oct 12, 2019
The Great Unknown
In the summer of 1869, an expedition embarked from The Green River Station in the Wyoming Territory and traveled downstream through parts of the present-day states of Colorado, Utah, and Arizona before reaching the convergence of the Colorado and Virgin rivers in present-day Nevada. Despite a series of hardships, including losses of boats and supplies, near-drownings, and the eventual departures of several crew members, the voyage produced the first detailed descriptions of much of the previously unexplored canyon country of the Colorado Plateau. Today, American Naturalist John Wesley Powell, and the Grand Canyon National Park.
Oct 5, 2019
Gateway to the West
Halfway down the mighty Mississippi, a model of engineering greets the world to the Gateway to the West, St. Louis Missouri. The Gateway Arch is known worldwide; it's probably only second to the Statue of Liberty But how much do you actually know about its history? It's wild, and it parallels much of the 20th century. Today on America's National Parks, Gateway Arch National Park, and its namesake architectural wonder that is like no other on earth.
Sep 28, 2019
News from the Parks | September 2019
With over 420 sites in the NPS, every month offers a new opportunity to Find Your Park. And while we strive to focus on the stories that make these places so special, we also think keeping up-to-date can be useful to support and celebrate these special places. With that in mind, we’re rolling out a new series called "News from the Parks." The last episode of each month we’ll take a look at what is coming down the pipeline and some of the bigger news to come out of the National Park Service in the previous weeks. On this episode, a potential new National Park, grants to dozens of historic sites, new park superintendents, the anniversary of the Wilderness Act and more.
Sep 25, 2019
The Old Northwest
In the town of Vincennes, Indiana, stands the largest Beaux-Arts style monument on an American battlefield and outside of Washington, DC. It sits on the former site of Fort Sackville to commemorate a little known battle with tremendous stakes. A rarely told story that dramatically expanded our country. On this episode of America’s National Parks, the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park.
Sep 16, 2019
The Search for Dark Skies
80 percent of the world’s population lives under what’s called “skyglow.” In the United States and Europe, 99 percent of the public can’t experience a natural night. Light is helpful to people, of course, but it’s also one of our greatest pollutants. Artificial light brings disastrous consequences to wildlife, especially birds, bats, insects, and sea turtles. This episode is a little different than most of our shows. Today, we travel to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where for generations, the night sky helped the original Polynesian sailors find their way across the sea. The audio comes from the park’s Voices of Science audio series, hosted by Brittni Connell, who talks with experts about light pollution and how the park is working to eradicate it.
Sep 10, 2019
Who doesn't love a majestic National Park lodge? Splendid craftsmanship on a grand scale surrounded by the wonders of nature. Some lodges are full of just as many stories and secrets as the park that surrounds them. On this episode of America's National Parks, Yosemite's Ahwahnee hotel, and its service in World War 2.
Sep 2, 2019
Castle on the Coast
Situated along the shores of St. Augustine in northeastern Florida stands the only surviving 17th-century military construction in the United States, Castillo de san Marcos. On this episode, the many faces of Castillo de san Marcos National Monument, as told by Rangers who preserve and protect this historic fort.
Aug 22, 2019
10 Days, 1,800 Miles
For 18 short months, a group of riders carried letters from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California, and they did it in just 10 days. Crossing 1,800 miles of rough western terrain, at breakneck speeds, the Ponny Express tied the east to the west in ways that would become pivotal in the years to come. On today's episode of America's National Parks Podcast, the Pony Express National Historic Trail and the riders who have become synonymous with the American West.
Aug 9, 2019
The Waving Girl of Savannah
The Savannah river twists and turns for 301 miles in the Southeastern United States, forming most of the border between Georgia and South Carolina, before it's divided into channels by several islands near Savannah Georgia, and then spills into the Atlantic. The last of those islands holds a storied past, having played a role in both the revolutionary and civil wars, as well as World War II. Today on America's National Parks, Cockspur Island, and Fort Pulaski National Monument.
Aug 2, 2019
The Voice of Wilderness in the Storm
In the early days of what is now Denali National Park and Preserve, one park scientist stood out among the rest. He was known for his tough, adventurous spirit, ground-breaking biological research, and inspiring communication. His name was Adolph Murie.
Jul 26, 2019
Restoring the Giants
Awe-inspiring giant sequoia trees are among the largest living things on earth, but the opportunity to experience them is rare. Approximately 75 groves exist, and only along the southern Sierra's western slope on moist sites between about 5,000 and 7,000 feet in elevation. Giant Forest, one of the largest groves, was saved from logging by the establishment of Sequoia National Park in 1890. But national park status did not fully protect the big trees. On this episode of America’s National Parks, the restoration of the Giant Forest at Sequoia National Park.
Jul 19, 2019
Rangers Make the Difference III
Being a National Park Service Ranger is a multifaceted job, one that requires you to call on all your skills to bring a park to life. Whether it be through music, research, education, conservation, or day to day administrative work, Rangers give their all to the places they have sworn to protect, which is why every year the International Ranger Foundation sets aside July 31st as World Ranger Day. If you’ve listened to past episodes, you know our “Rangers Make the Difference” series began in part to celebrate World Ranger Day and to highlight National Park Service rangers who have gone above and beyond. Today’s episode, while unique in its focus, is no different. On this episode of America’s National Parks, the role that the art of music has played in helping our rangers bring the parks to life.
Jul 12, 2019
For more than 100 years, no national memorial had been contemplated for any president except George Washington, yet talk of building one to honor the monumental legacy left by Abraham Lincoln began even as he lingered on his deathbed. There was an obvious appropriateness to the concept that Lincoln, the preserver of the Union, should join Washington, the founder of that Union, in being honored on the National Mall. On this episode of America’s National Parks, the Lincoln Memorial, part of the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington D.C.
Jul 6, 2019
238,900 Miles from Idaho
50 years ago, in 1969, NASA sent astronauts to a remote location in southern Idaho. Their goal? To learn basic geology and study the local, relatively recent volcanic features located there in preparation for potential missions to the moon. On this episode, Craters of the Moon National Monument.
Jun 29, 2019
A $50 Bet
Rising high above the prairies west of the Blackhills stands a tower of astounding geological feature. Considered sacred by indigenous people, it's an impressive and striking monument against the flatlands of Northeastern Wyoming. Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest climbing areas in North America, and for decades this remarkable wonder has drawn daredevils and thrill seekers alike, all hoping to stand atop the tower's flat summit. One person, though, took a very different approach, one that hasn't been attempted since. On this episode of America's National Parks Podcast, the man who spent six days trapped atop Devils Tower National Monument and the attempt to bring hm back to Earth.
Jun 24, 2019
Meaningless Without Sacrifice
The Emancipation Proclamation has been called one of the two most important American contributions to the world by Martin Luther King, Jr., yet was said to possess "all the moral grandeur of a bill of lading" by historian Richard Hofstadter. Its force and form have been the subject of countless books and papers. Was it a meaningless document? Or did it drastically change America? On this episode, a lecture from ranger Dan Vermilya at Gettysburg National Historical Park breaks through the soundbites to shed light on the real significance of this important piece of history.
Jun 14, 2019
Alone on a Winter's Island
Nestled at the top of Wisconsin sits a cluster of islands on Lake Superior that is home to what some call the finest collection of lighthouses in the country. Guiding the way for ships on Lake Superior, Nine light stations were tended by keepers. Those that chose to face the winter on their island homes faced unimaginable trials. One woman faced one such trial when her husband left to go fishing and didn't return for days. On this episode of America's National Parks, the Apostle Islands National Seashore.
Jun 10, 2019
On the Oregon Trail
The first covered wagons would carve a trail towards Oregon Country in 1836. Among them was a missionary party headed by Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. Narcissa kept a journal at the suggestion of her mother, whom she would never see again. In it, she writes to her family of life on the trail, of the oppressive heat, the difficult terrain, the joys, and her faith. On this episode of the America's National Parks Podcast, the Whitman National Historic Site and our slightly edited version of the August 1836 journal entries from a woman who would hold many "firsts" as she made her way on foot towards the Pacific Northwest.
May 31, 2019
"We were standing on Ground Zero of World War III"
During the Cold War, a vast arsenal of nuclear missiles was placed across the Great Plains. Hidden in plain sight, for thirty years 1,000 missiles were kept on constant alert; hundreds remain today. The Minuteman Missile remains an iconic weapon in the American nuclear arsenal. It holds the power to destroy civilization, but is meant as a nuclear deterrent to maintain peace and prevent war. Today on America's National Parks, the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site near Wall, South Dakota.
May 24, 2019
Cataloochee - The Center of the World
Nestled among some of the most rugged mountains in the southeastern United States is an isolated valley that was home to 1200 people in 1910, who made their living first at farming, and then, as tourism developed, by welcoming weary travelers to the Smoky Mountains. On today’s episode - the Cataloochee Valley in Great Smoky Mountains National Park as told through the people who lived there. The audio for today’s episode is from the short film Cataloochee - The Center of the World, which you can watch on our show notes page at nationalparkpodcast.com.
May 17, 2019
A Presidential Barbecue
Barbecued meat has played a surprisingly important role in United States presidential politics over the years. George Washington was a Virginia-style barbecue enthusiast. Recently, archaeologists discovered a barbecue pit on the south lawn of Montpelier that was in use during Madison’s lifetime. After the civil war, and before television, when many Americans weren't guaranteed three solid meals a day, a free barbecue dinner was a compelling incentive to listen to a politician pitch for votes. But one President made barbecue an art form. On today's episode, the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park.
May 10, 2019
River on Fire
In 2007, a young bald eagle took flight from its nest along the Cuyahoga River. It was the first successful nest in Cuyahoga County in more than 70 years. The eaglet grew up eating fish from the Cuyahoga River, where, throughout most of the 1900s, fish could not survive due to the pollution. Neither could the wildlife that depend on fish as a food source. On Today's Episode, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and the event that helped rally the world to the attention of polluted waterways.
May 3, 2019
Guardian of the Gulf
When we think of America’s National Parks, we often don’t think of the oceans or the Gulf of Mexico, but along our shores are some of the most incredible places our country has to offer. Seven barrier islands along the southern coast protect the mainland, nature, and mankind as they form a damper against ocean storms. They’re teaming with life - scurrying ghost crab, majestic osprey, and loggerhead sea turtles, facing their 1 in 1000 survival odds. But humans have made their mark on these places, too, and history is a big part of any visit to these islands on the Gulf shore. One particular historic site, on the end of Florida’s Santa Rosa Island, played its part in our nation’s great internal struggle. On this episode of America’s National Parks, the Guardian of the Gulf, Fort Pickens; part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Apr 26, 2019
A Race to a Tie
On May 10th, 1869, in Promontory Summit, Utah, two sets of ordinary railroad tracks met under extraordinary circumstances. Together the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroad companies, building from Sacramento, California, and Omaha, Nebraska, joined to revolutionize travel. Before that day, a single person would pay $1000 to travel from east to west in the United States. On a steam engine train, it only cost $150. More than 1700 miles of track were laid in just seven years, across deserts, over plains, and through mountains. Its completion was one of the most defining moments in our nation’s history. On today’s episode of America’s National Parks, the Golden Spike National Historical Park, and the nation’s first transcontinental railroad, celebrating its 150th anniversary this May.
Apr 19, 2019
The Strange World of National Park Gift Stores
When we think about the people that help keep the gears turning in National Parks, it’s easy for us to think about the wonderful rangers that keep us safe and help us interpret and protect these incredible places. But we often overlook the thousands and thousands of other workers that make our visits possible. The cleaning and maintenance staff, the campground hosts, the construction contractors, the trail crews, the lodge employees...On this episode of America’s National Parks, a personal story from author Becky Mandelbaum who served several stints in National Park gift stores, and the price she paid for temporary refuge, immense beauty, and some unforgettable experiences.
Apr 12, 2019
The Night the Mountain Fell
The Yellowstone Supervolcano snores through the geysers and mud pots, and restlessly tumbles as multiple earthquakes hit the region nearly every day. We don't hear a lot about Yellowstone earthquakes, but each year one to three thousand hit the park and surrounding area. Most can't even be felt, but there have already been four this year in the lower-3.0 magnitude range. Enough to shake pots and pans on the wall. And a 4.4 hit to the west of Yellowstone just a couple days before this recording—right near the center of the biggest Yellowstone earthquake in recent history, a 7.5. Today on America's National Parks, The Night The Mountain Fell — the story of the Montana-Yellowstone Earthquake of 1959, as told in the book with the same name by Edmund Christopherson.
Apr 5, 2019
A Rescue in the Grand Tetons
Mountain climbing is surely one of the most dangerous of the extreme sports. It’s a trial of wills that takes a clear head, teamwork, and unflappable trust in your climbing partners. The challenge is magnified ten-fold when the climb is a rescue operation. On this Episode of America’s National Parks, a harrowing rescue of a climber at Grand Teton National Park.
Mar 29, 2019
Apostle of the Cacti
If you're a National Park buff, and you probably are if you're listening to this podcast, you probably know of some of the famous people responsible for the very creation of many of our greatest parks. People like John Muir, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Teddy Roosevelt, and Stephan Mather. But we're guessing you haven't heard of Minerva Hamilton Hoyt. On today's episode of America's National Parks, Joshua Tree National Park, the California Desert, and the woman who made sure they were protected for many lifetimes to come.
Mar 22, 2019
24 years ago, a Ryder truck packed with nearly 5,000 pounds of explosives was parked in front of Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. In a matter of seconds, the blast destroyed most of the nine-story concrete and granite building, and the surrounding area looked like a war zone. Dozens of cars were incinerated, and more than 300 nearby buildings were damaged or destroyed. It killed 168 people, among them 19 children—most of whom were in the building’s daycare center. The youngest victim was 4 months old. On today's episode of America's National Parks, the Oklahoma City National Memorial, and one of the largest and most complex cases the FBI has ever undertaken.
Mar 15, 2019
On December 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his famous “Day Of Infamy Speech." The United States had entered World War II. That evening, his wife would call on all Americans to focus on the war effort and to support the nation’s leaders in the difficult days ahead. She had also entered the war. On Today's episode of America's National Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt—the only first lady to have a National Park Service Unit in her honor—and her critical role in World War II.
Mar 8, 2019
"Goodbye, Death Valley."
In 1848, gold was discovered in California and people from all over the United States packed their belongings and began to travel by wagon to what they hoped would be a new and better life. It was important to leave Salt Lake City and cross the desert before snow began to fall on the Sierra Nevada, making them impassible. A group of wagons began their journey in October of 1849, much too late to try to cross safely. It was then that they heard about the Old Spanish Trail, a route that would take them on a harrowing adventure that nearly killed them all. On today's episode of America's National Parks, the place that these prospectors would come to call Death Valley.
Mar 1, 2019
A Century of Progress
Surely if you listen to this podcast you've heard the news — America now boasts 61 National Parks. Buried within a massive spending bill protecting public lands signed by the President on February 15, 2019, was a provision that simply stated: Public Law 89-761 is amended by striking National Lakeshore each place it appears and replacing it with National Park. Today's episode—the new Indiana Dunes National Park. Like Joshua Tree, and Wind Cave, and Petrified Forest, Indiana Dunes National Park is much more than the singular characteristic it's named after. It features more than 1,100 native plants ranking it fourth in plant diversity among all National Park Service sites. It's full of mysterious wetlands, bright prairies, wandering rivers and tranquil forests. You can play on the massive sand dunes, but you can also harvest maple sugar from the park's historic farm. One of the most unique features of Indiana Dunes National Park has little to do with nature at all. It's a set of 5…
Feb 22, 2019
Four Voices, Four Missions
The Alamo is certainly San Antonio’s most famous landmark, perhaps even the most famous building in Texas, because of its pivotal role in the 1836 Texas Revolution. But the Alamo was built over a century prior as Mission San Antonio de Valero, by Spanish settlers on the banks of the San Antonio River. Beginning in 1690, Spanish friars established missions in what is now East Texas as a buffer against the threat of French incursion into Spanish territory from Louisiana. The Alamo is a Texas state historic site, but nearby, four sister missions, all still working Catholic churches, are protected by the National Park Service as the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. This episode follows four people connected to the Missions: a stonemason, a historian, a descendant, and a former church administrator. Their stories comprise Michael Nye's "Four Voices" exhibit on display at Mission Concepción.
Feb 15, 2019
A Great Obelisk
In 1833, a small organization formed with the purpose to fund and build a monument "unparalleled in the world," in honor of once commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the first President of the United States. Its completion, and its history, not unlike the Statue of Liberty, was fraught with funding issues, construction delays, and outside forces seemingly teamed against it. Today on America's National Parks, the Washington Monument, part of the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C.
Feb 9, 2019
Fighting on Arrival, Fighting for Survival
During the Indian conflicts on the western plains after the Civil War, Native Americans gave Black regiments of the U.S. Army the name Buffalo Soldiers, after their short, curly hair, which to them, looked like a bison. The soldiers took a liking to the name, and it stuck. The Buffalo Soldiers contributed to the U.S. in many ways over the course of nearly 90 years, but one of their most important was as the first caretakers of our national parks. Between 1891 and 1913, the Army was tasked with the protection of Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. Buffalo soldiers fought wildfires and poachers, ended illegal grazing of livestock on federal lands, and constructing roads, trails and other infrastructure. In 1903, Captain Charles Young led a company of Buffalo Soldiers in Sequoia and what is now Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks, becoming the first African American park superintendent.
Feb 1, 2019
The Chestnut Blight
At the turn of the 20th century, the eastern half of the American landscape looked very different than it does today. It was blanketed in 4 billion towering American Chestnut trees. Over the course of 50 years, they all vanished. Today on America’s National Parks, a tree disease that altered America and a chance at rebirth on the site of one of our nation’s greatest tragedies.
Jan 25, 2019
The Great Smoky Homestead
Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, where ancient mountains, covered in pine, glow in purple, pink and blue hues, as a smoky mist rises from their thick cloak of trees. World-renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, this is also a place to explore what remains of Southern Appalachian mountain culture. This is America's most visited national park — the Great Smoky Mountains. On today’s episode, the story of 6 sisters who lived off this great land, all on their own.
Jan 18, 2019
Rangers Make the Difference II
As we release this episode, the longest government shutdown in American history is still underway, and 800,000 government workers are on furlough, including rangers and other protectors of our wildlife and national treasures. Those that remain on the job, mainly law enforcement rangers, are working without paychecks, and are facing protecting federal lands that remain open to visitors with very little support. We thought this was an appropriate time to again highlight those rangers and other federal employees in the interior department.
Jan 11, 2019
A White House Burns
One of the very symbols of our nation is a residence for our highest elected official, designed by Irish-born architect James Hoban in the neoclassical style, using sandstone painted white. When Thomas Jefferson moved into the house in 1801, he and architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe added low colonnades on each wing that concealed stables and storage. Not long after, the house for our Nation's president would almost be obliterated. Today on America's National Parks, The White House, part of the National Park Service's Presidents Park, in Washington DC.
Jan 4, 2019
A Rocky Mountain Tragedy
There are a million conspiracy theories about people missing or turning up dead in National Parks and other public lands. But really, when you break down the numbers, the number of disappearances, murders, and accidental deaths are on par with the rest of the country. Still, a lot of those unfortunate events do happen. And many aren't what they seem. On today's episode of America's National Parks the tragic death of a hiker at Rocky Mountain National Park that shocked the nation, and the investigator that unraveled a mystery in service to her country.
Dec 28, 2018
A Gift from Tokyo
Each spring, an abundance of winter-weary locals and tourists flock to our nation's capital, hoping to see the blossoming beauty of the famed Japanese cherry trees. You may know that the original trees were a gift from Japan in 1912 symbolizing international friendship, but you may not know that they are also a testament to one woman's persistence and the value of never giving up on a dream. On this episode of America's National Parks, the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C.
Dec 21, 2018
Otto Lilienthal was a German pioneer of aviation who became known as the "flying man." He was the first person to make well-documented, repeated, successful flights with gliders. Photographs of his attempts were published worldwide, sparking a fever over the possibility of powered flight in many, including Orville and Wilber Wright. Capitalizing on the national bicycle craze, the Wright brothers had opened a repair and sales shop, and eventually began manufacturing their own brand. Wilbur, particularly, toiled day and night at the bike shop over the possibility of building a flying machine, and the brothers began putting the money from their successful business into a research project. On this episode of America's National Parks, the Wright Brothers, the invention that would change the way we travel, and the National Memorial that bears their name.
Dec 14, 2018
An Impossible Climb
In July of 1982, 5 men set out to conquer the highest peak in Texas, Guadalupe Peak at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Every day, many people take the 8.5-mile trip that summits the 8,749' peak, but this party was different—they were all in wheelchairs. For the next 5 days, they climbed their way to the top, building ramps from rocks and crawling up slopes, dragging their wheelchairs behind them.
Dec 7, 2018
77 Years Ago
The day this episode is released, December 7th, 2018, marks the 77th anniversary of the event that would send the United States into World War II, the devastating surprise attack on Hawaii's Pearl Harbor. The U.S.S. Arizona, a Pennsylvania class battleship had been moved from California to Pearl Harbor in an effort to ward off the Japanese from attacking the vulnerable island territory. On December 7th, 1941, the Arizona exploded violently and sank, with the loss of 1,177 officers and crewmen. Each year, thousands gather at a commemoration ceremony, including survivors of the attack and their families. 2,403 service members and civilians in total were killed during the attack, and 1,178 people were injured. As the years roll on, the ceremony is weighed by the fewer and fewer survivors who are able to attend. This year, only five men who were onboard the Arizona are still living, and none will be able to attend, due to age, health, and the stresses of travel. It's twilight for the su…
Dec 2, 2018
The Solitude of Self
On July 11, 1848, a local newspaper ran an advertisement announcing a meeting that would happen a week later at the Wesleyan Chapel in Seneca Falls, New York — the first American Women’s Rights Convention. Today on America's National Parks - The Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, New York. Despite the minimal publicity, an estimated 300 attendees filled co-organizer Elizabeth Cady Stanton's event. Stanton made her first public speech on the initial day of the convention, and read aloud the Declaration of Sentiments, which was then discussed at length. Stanton quickly became a leader in the crusade for women's rights, as well as for the abolition of slavery. She gave hundreds of speeches over the course of her life, but it was her final speech, before Congress, entitled The Solitude of Self, that left her with the most pride. Delivered in 1892, the speech declared that as no other person could face death for another, none could decide for them how to educate…
Nov 23, 2018
A Yellowstone Christmas
What could be more magical than Christmas at a National Park lodge? Grand log-beamed lobbies, decked out in real pine trimmings, the crackling of massive stone fireplaces, and decadent holiday feasts, while far away from civilization with the glories of snow-blanketed nature in every direction. On this episode of America's National Parks, we take you back nearly 100 years, to an impending Christmas emergency. Three 6-year-olds came to the rescue of Christmas at Yellowstone National Park.
Nov 16, 2018
The Lost Horse Mine
Even before the California Gold Rush of 1849, prospectors were finding gold in Southern California. As the rewards from the mines in the Sierras began to wither, miners headed toward the deserts, where hot summers, scarce water, limited wood sources, and the difficulty and high cost of transporting equipment and provisions created a challenging mining environment. But a few hardy adventurers endured, and about 300 mines were developed in what is now Joshua Tree National Park. Few of these mines produced much, but one certainly did — the Lost Horse Mine
Nov 9, 2018
Four Men on a Mountain
In the Black Hills of South Dakota, majestic figures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are said to tell the story of the birth, growth, development and preservation of this country. But how much do you know about Mount Rushmore National Memorial? Even if you think you know the basics, there's a whole lot more that may knock your socks off.
Nov 2, 2018
Before dawn on what would become a perfect October day in Utah, I set out to attempt a solo hike. It wasn't the type of hike that would have been a big deal to an avid hiker, but for me, it was bound to be. On this episode of America's National Parks, host Jason Epperson's ordinary journey up the side of a cliff at Zion National Park.
Oct 26, 2018
Hell, with the Fires Out
It’s that time of year. You’re getting pelted with the supernatural from every direction - on TV, at the Movie Theater, in the grocery store. Far be it from us to miss an opportunity for a themed episode. On today’s episode of America’s National Parks - Three stories of the supernatural. Myths from the distant past. Ancient gods of Mount Ranier, the evil Queen of Death Valley, and the banshee that haunts Badlands National Park to this day.
Oct 19, 2018
How National Parks Stop Thieves
If you listened to The Curse of the Petrified Forest, our episode on the strange happenings surrounding people who stole rocks from Petrified Forest National Park, you know that the park faced a major identity crisis - people thought all the petrified wood was gone. It isn't, of course, it's pretty much all still there - but theft of small stones is still a problem for the park, just as theft and vandalization are problems throughout the National Parks System. On this episode, we take a look at theft in another Arizona park, and how authorities are using old-fashioned detective work as well as 21st-century technology to catch would-be cactus thieves.
Oct 12, 2018
At Home with Harry and Bess
On this episode of America's National Parks, At Home With Harry & Bess, the multigenerational story of a home that would come to be known as the Summer White House, now a part of the Harry S Truman National Historic Site.
Oct 5, 2018
The Wonderful Wind Cave
In 1881, Jesse and Tom Bingham heard a whistling noise coming from a beach-ball-sized hole in a rock formation near Hot Springs, South Dakota. Wind was blowing out of the hole, just as it does today, with such force that it blew off Tom's hat. As the story goes, a few days later, when Jesse returned to show the phenomenon to some friends, the wind had switched directions and his hat was sucked in. The hole was the only natural entrance to a cave...a massive one. We now understand that the movement of the wind is caused by the difference in atmospheric pressure between the cave and the surface. The place was dubbed the Wonderful Wind Cave, before it became only our seventh National Park of the United States. On today's episode of America's National Parks: three eras of Wind Cave National Park: It's first explorer, the Lakota origin story, and a teenager lost for 37 hours. Show notes and more info at NationalParkPodcast.com/Wind-Cave
Sep 27, 2018
Corps of Discovery Part 2
When we left off last time Meriwether Lewis had just looked over the crest of the largest mountain range he had ever seen (or summited), hoping to see the Columbia River, and an easy path to the Pacific Ocean. Instead, there were mountains as far as the eye could see. Canoes were useless now, and the Corps of Discovery would need horses. It was Sacagawea's moment. Show notes and National Park Service resources at NationalParkPodcast.com/corps-of-discovery-2.
Sep 21, 2018
Corps of Discovery
In 2018, America is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the National Trails System Act as well as the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. The 1968 National Trails System Act created and protected trails that celebrate outdoor adventure, such as the Appalachian Trail and trails that allow us to walk through history, such as the Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail. To celebrate this anniversary, on the America’s National Parks Podcast we’re sharing with you a two-part episode following one of our National Historic Trails — The Journey of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery from 1804 to 1806 in their quest to explore the newly expanded United States, and search for a route to the Pacific Ocean. Show notes and more info at nationalparkpodcast.com/corps-of-discovery.
Sep 14, 2018
His Name Was Mudd
On a Sunday in November of 1864, John Wilkes Booth first made the acquaintance of Dr. Samuel Mudd. The men discussed a horse sale, and Booth was invited to spend the night at Mudd's home. On December 23, the two men met again, by accident, on a street in Washington, DC. Four months later, John Wilkes Booth shot and killed President Abraham Lincoln. He broke his left leg in the process, leaping to the stage at Ford's Theater. He and his getaway man David Harold knocked on the door of Dr. Mudd at four in the morning for assistance. Mudd set, splinted, and bandaged the broken leg. The two stayed with Mudd for about 12 hours, as the doctor's handyman made a pair of crutches. Within days Dr. Mudd was arrested and charged with conspiracy and with harboring Booth and Harold during their escape. Though he had met Booth on at least two prior occasions, Mudd told authorities he did not recognize his patient. He was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment, one vote shy of the death pena…
Sep 7, 2018
Stories from the Sands
One of the world's great natural wonders rises from the heart of New Mexico's Tularosa basin. Great wave-like dunes of baby powder-like gypsum sand engulf 275 square miles of desert. Towering mountains ring the spectacular white dunes, crowned with electric blue skies, prismatic sunsets, and mystic moonlit nights. Half a million visitors from all over the world enjoy this beautiful place each year. It's featured prominently in commercials, feature films, fashion catalogs, and music videos. And its neighboring military base has been host to some important events in American history. On this episode of America's National Parks, three short stories from the glistening dunes of White Sands National Monument: A spirit from the 16th century who roams the dunes after sunset, searching for her lost love, a legendary gunslinger of the southwest, and a daring record-setter who made high-altitude aviation safer. Show notes, music credits, a transcript and more are available at nationalparkpodca…
Aug 31, 2018
A Strenuous Holiday
In 1914, four influential men — Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs — loaded their automobiles with camping gear and embarked on the first of several historic road trips. They called themselves the “Vagabonds,” and they toured places like the Everglades, the California coast, and the forests of Vermont for two weeks nearly every summer for 10 years. The white-bearded Burroughs chronicled one such trip — the Vagabond journey to the Great Smoky Mountains — in a chapter of his book "Under the Maples." Show notes, music credits, and more at www.nationalparkpodcast.com/vagabonds.
Aug 24, 2018
In the mountains of western Arkansas, there's a place where rain waters are absorbed through crevices in the earth's surface, then warmed and enriched with minerals, percolating deep underground. The water then flows back to the surface in steaming hot springs, filling the cool mountain air with steam in the winter. It's a place that humans have been using for millennia for rest, relaxation, and healing. It's also our first piece of federally protected recreation land. On this episode of America's National Parks, the American Spa — Hot Springs National Park. Show notes and more info at nationalparkpodcast.com/hotsprings
Aug 17, 2018
The Sleeping Volcano
On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted — it was the "deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States," according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, generating “about 500 times the force that the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima,” it killed 57 people and thousands of animals and lopped 1,300 feet off the top of the mountain. Still, there's another volcano that is much more concerning to volcanologists. On this episode of America's National Parks, Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park, and its namesake volcano’s potential for mass destruction.
Aug 10, 2018
Ballads of Big Bend
The shape of the southwestern edge of Texas is carved by The Rio Grande river, as it tranquilly flows bringing life to some of the most remote regions of the country. Here, the Rio takes a giant turn north, a Big Bend creating the heel in Texas's shape. The Rio Grande represents something else, though, it's the border between the United States and Mexico, and at a border crossing, one man welcomed Americans to our southern neighbor through songs that floated among the canyon. On this episode of America's National Parks, Victor Valdez, the singing man of Boquillas, and Big Bend National Park. Show notes, music credits, and more at nationalparkpodcast.com/bigbend.
Aug 3, 2018
Rangers Make the Difference
July 31st of each year is set aside by the International Ranger Foundation as World Ranger Day to honor park rangers around the globe who are on the front line in the fight to protect our natural heritage. It's also an opportunity to pay tribute to rangers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. To honor this past Tuesday's World Ranger Day, on this episode of America's National Parks we're highlighting three stories of National Park Service rangers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
Jul 27, 2018
The 14th Colony
Everyone knows America's legendary origins — 13 colonies fighting off the tyranny of the British Empire to form our Union — but did you know there was, if only for a brief time, an extra-legal 14th colony? If that blows your mind, you'll be even more astounded to find out its name ... it was called Transylvania. It was made possible by a famous name, too, a man called Daniel Boone. On this episode of America's National Parks, The Transylvania Purchase, a land which laid its gateway at a gap in the Allegheny Mountains, now known as Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, where the borders of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee meet. More information, music credits, and a transcript are available at nationalparkpodcast.com/14thcolony
Jul 19, 2018
The Land That Made a President
On his 22nd birthday, in 1880, Theodore Roosevelt married Alice Hathaway Lee. Their daughter, Alice Lee Roosevelt, was born on February 12, 1884. Two days after his daughter was born, his wife and mother died on the same day in the same house. Distraught, he escaped to a cattle ranch in the Dakotas. On this episode of America's National Parks, the 26th President of the United States, and his time in North Dakota, in an area now known as Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Resources, music credits, and a transcript are available at nationalparkpodcast.com/roosevelt.
Jul 13, 2018
Unleashing a Tamed River
Over the past century, the United States has led the world in dam construction. There are at least 90,000 dams over six-feet tall in this country and over 2 million shorter than six feet. More than a quarter have passed their 50-year average life expectancy; by 2020, that figure will reach 85 percent. On average, we have constructed one dam over 6 feet tall every day since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. On this episode of America's National Parks, the removal of the dams on the Elwha River in Olympic National Park. And if you think it just takes a little dynamite, it doesn't. Show notes and music credits at nationalparkpodcast.com/elwha.
Jul 5, 2018
Acadia National Park and the Year Maine Burned
Strange weather patterns set in 1947 in the state of Maine, as a quick and early spring thaw preceded months of endless rain. Finally, at the end of June, the sun broke through the clouds as temperatures climbed bringing about a warm summer. Mother nature had apparently used up all the rain in the spring, as the state went through 108 days without any appreciable rain. Everything became exceedingly dry in the hot sun and water supply dwindled. Recognizing the dangers of the dry conditions, officials began implementing preventative measures. By the second week of October, a Class 4 state of danger was declared, and Fire watchtowers, normally closed at the end of September, were reopened by the State Forest Service. Mountain Desert Island, home to a glorious National Park, reported the worst drought conditions on record. On this episode of America's National Parks Podcast, Acadia National Park, and the year Maine burned. Show notes and music credits available at nationalparkpodcast.com…
Jun 28, 2018
The Gateway to Arizona
If there's one place in our travels that has seemed a nearly hidden gem -- a place where hardly anyone goes, yet is full of incredible beauty -- it's the confluence of the northern tip of Grand Canyon National Park, where miles of the Colorado River are protected before they enter the canyon, and the southern tip of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. It's a serene place called Lee's Ferry, where the Colorado gently winds through vermillion cliffs. Rafters hit the first rapid here to begin the 88-mile journey to Phantom Ranch, the historic camping oasis nestled nearly a mile below the rim of the Grand Canyon. Wild horses roam the hills and can be spotted frolicking in the riverbed. But alongside the glorious beauty of the red rock set against the dark river and blue skies, long before it was the launching point for Grand Canyon rafters this historic place was the gateway to Arizona. It's the only place along the river for 700 miles that the riverbanks are directly accessible by…
Jun 21, 2018
Alcatraz and the Civil War
In the late 1840s, the U.S. government seized control of California from the Republic of Mexico and immediately went to work on protecting the new land. Located in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, an island called Alcatraz was identified as a place of exceptional military utility. Nearly surrounded on all sides, it was ideally positioned to protect the entrance to the bay. You may know Alcatraz as the so-called inescapable prison which housed Al Capone and George "Machine-Gun" Kelly, and then was immortalized in the film Escape from Alcatraz, but its history began long before. On this episode, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area's Alcatraz Island, and its role during the civil war. More info and music credits at nationalparkpodcast.com/alcatraz.
Jun 13, 2018
The Curse of the Petrified Forest
In a small section of the painted desert of Arizona, you can find forests of crumbled trees, preserved as stone. Over 200 million years ago, these large conifers were uprooted by floods, then washed down from the highlands and buried by silt. Water seeping through the wood replaced decaying organic material cell by cell with multicolored silica. The land was lifted up by geological upheaval, and erosion began to expose the long-buried, now petrified wood. In the modern age, the trees have their own stories, having become one of the iconic road trip destinations along Route 66. On this episode of the America's National Parks Podcast, Petrified Forest National Park and the curse of the Petrified Forest. Show notes and more info at http://nationalparkpodcast.com/the-curse-of-the-petrified-forest/
Jun 6, 2018
Drunken Subterranian Terrorism
Elevators might seem like a strange topic for a National Park Podcast, but today we're going to talk about a special elevator. In 1931, the National Park constructed what was then the second highest (or shall we say deepest) elevator shaft in the world — descending tourists 754' into the wonders of Carlsbad Caverns National Park — and it's been at the center of some pretty wild incidents. National Park Service Resources related to this episode, music credits and more at nationalparkpodcast.com/drunken-subterranian-terrorism-carlsbad-caverns
May 31, 2018
Dred and Harriet Scott
On April 6th, 1846, Dred and Harriet Scott walked into the unfinished St. Louis Courthouse in downtown Saint Louis, Missouri, and in an act of bravery, filed separate petitions against Irene Emerson for their freedom. On that day, one of the most important lawsuits in American history, one that would ultimately hasten the start of the Civil War and divide an already divided country, began. It would take ten years and reach as far as the supreme court before it ended. On this episode of America's National Parks Podcast, the Dred Scott Case, and Gateway Arch National Park. A full transcript, resources for further study, and music credits are available at nationalparkpodcast.com/dred-and-harriet-scott.
May 24, 2018
Legends of Denali
In 1896, the highest summit in America was named by a gold prospector in support for then-presidential candidate William McKinley, who became president the following year. Of course, for centuries before, it had gone by a different name. On this week's episode of America's National Parks, Denali, the 20,310 Alaskan summit, and the six million acres of land that surround it in Denali National Park. Show notes, music credits, and more info at nationalparkpodcast.com/legendsofdenali.
May 17, 2018
The Statue of Liberty stands out in New York Harbor, bearing her torch, welcoming tourists and immigrants with the American spirit of Liberty. Her story is complicated, and many apocryphal tales abound of her sitting disassembled for years while Americans tried to figure out how to assemble it. The truth is much more interesting. Today on America's National Parks, The Statue of Liberty and the history of Liberty Island. Show notes, music credits, and more info at nationalparkpodcast.com/ladyliberty.
May 2, 2018
Delicate Arch, and the Strange 1950s Schemes to Reinforce It
There's one natural rock arch that's known better than all others in the US, in fact, it's on the state of Utah's license plate. It had its own postage stamp, and the 2002 Winter Olympics torch relay passed through it. On this episode of America's National Parks, Delicate Arch, and the strange history of attempts to protect it at Arches National Park. Show notes and more info at nationalparkpodcast.com.
Apr 25, 2018
Muir, Roosevelt, and Yosemite: A Camping Trip That Changed the World
In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt ditched his secret service detail to go camping in the woods of Yosemite with celebrated naturalist John Muir. Through his writings, Muir taught the importance of experiencing and protecting our natural world. That camping trip changed the face of conservation in the United States. Together, sleeping on the forest floor below the sequoias, they laid the foundation for the next century of federal land preservation. On this episode of America's National Parks, Yosemite, John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, and a man who was along for the ride, in their own words. Show notes at nationalparkpodcast.com.
Apr 18, 2018
How do you save a species of bird with a population of 22 living? A controversial plan hatched nearly three decades ago has condors soaring over Pinnacles National Park again. How they did it, and why there is still trouble ahead, on this episode of America's National Parks. More info, a full transcript, music credits, and other resources are available at nationalparkpodcast.com/condors-pinnacles-national-park.
Apr 10, 2018
An Island Prison
If you only know the name Geronimo from the call that paratroopers in old war movies and Bugs Bunny cartoons shout, it's a nickname bestowed upon a Native American hero by Mexican soldiers. During repeated conflicts, The Apache warrior attacked them with nothing but a knife, surviving each time despite being continually shot at. The soldiers would plead to Saint Jerome as they faced him. Geronimo is Spanish for “Jerome.” On this episode of America’s National Parks, Geronimo, and his imprisonment at Fort Pickens, now a part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Pensacola, Florida. Show notes and more info is available at http://nationalparkpodcast.com/island-prison-geronimo-gulf-islands-national-seashore/
Apr 4, 2018
On the northern shores of Minnesota lies a remote waterscape steeped in history, nature, and tradition. Named for the wild men who paddled its waterways in the Canadian fur trade, Voyageurs National Park is home to nesting bald eagles, moose, grey wolves, black bear, loons, owls, otter, and beaver. Most of its hidden waterways are untouched, pristine boreal forest, where on a cloudless pre-dawn morning under the northern lights, you can almost hear the songs of fur traders traveling in their massive canoes. On this episode of America's National Parks, the Voyageurs, the legendary wild and hearty men who traversed the waterways of the great north for two hundred years. Show notes and more info on Voyageurs National Park and Grand Portage National Monument at www.nationalparkpodcast.com/voyageurs
Mar 27, 2018
Pirates and Parks
Piracy, the act of seizing a ship or its cargo from its lawful owners, has been a plague since people first set sail on the high seas. By the Elizabethan Era, English piracy entered a Golden Age, as pirates plundered its coastal waters unchallenged. As Spain gradually increased its wealth through its own savagery in the New World, English pirates feasted on Spanish ships, eventually spreading piracy to the Carribean Sea. On this episode of America's National Parks, Pirates, and their role in the creation of America, immortalized at National Park Service units up and down the East Coast. In fact, there are so many stories of piracy and privateering in today's National Parks, that choosing just one was difficult, so we settled on two centered around Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site - with many more to touch on in a future episode. Show notes and more info at http://nationalparkpodcast.com/pirates-and-parks
Mar 22, 2018
37 Days in Yellowstone
Two years before the creation of our first National Park, Truman Everts got lost in Yellowstone. He lost not one, but two horses. He set not one, but two forest fires. He waited out a mountain lion in a tree. He slept in a bear's den. He fell through the crust of a hot spring and burnt his hip. He keeled over into his campfire while hallucinating. He spent 37 days making bad decision after worse, and he survived. On this episode of the America's National Parks Podcast, we present our abridged version of Everts' 10,000-word essay, which shocked the nation - complete with the sounds of Yellowstone from the National Park Service's archives. Show notes and more info are available at nationalparkpodcast.com/37-days-yellowstone.
Mar 13, 2018
The Grand Dame of the Everglades
At the southern tip of Florida lie the Everglades, a crucial ecosystem to America and the world. Everglades National Park has spent its entire life under siege, with Marjory Stoneman Douglas out front as its chief warrior. Show notes, a full transcript, and music credits for this episode can be found at http://nationalparkpodcast.com/
Mar 6, 2018
Grand, Gloomy, and Peculiar
Deep within Kentucky's Mammoth Cave National Park, one can find so much more than rock formations. The shale-capped mass of 400 known miles of caverns holds the history of America, told by the Black enslaved cave guides that made it one of the country's top tourist attractions, then and now. Useful Links: In Kentucky, a Family at the Center of the Earth A 2014 in-depth interview with Jerry Bransford and New York Times reporter Kenan Christiansen. bransfordmemorial.com Jerry Bransford’s dream is to build a memorial in the Bransford cemetery at Mammoth Cave as a tribute to all the past slave guides and the entire Bransford family, especially Mat and Nick. He also would like to pass on his stories and memories to his future descendants utilizing the cemetery and memorial. You can the website to contribute, and it's also full of much more detailed information on the Bransford family history at Mammoth. Ranger Lore: The Occupational Folklife of Parks – Jerry Bransford Discusses Fam…
Feb 27, 2018
From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf Stream Waters
Welcome to the America's National Parks Podcast. In the coming weeks, we'll begin to explore our nation's treasures, their history, their people, and their stories. Until then, listen to this, our "episode zero," a preview of sorts. Find America's National Parks Podcast on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and make sure to subscribe so you'll never miss an episode.