A transplanted Southern Californian living in North Dakota Idaho, with some insights on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Passport to Your National Parks, Part 2

Alycia here again.  There was such a resounding level of interest in my first posting on the national parks passport program, I thought I would continue to give you more information on the program.

One of the first things you should know if you want to do this, is that many of the big parks actually have more than one stamping cancellation spot - and each spot has a separate cancellation stamp. This means that you could get 2, or three, or even more different stamps at one park. For example, when we were in Yosemite earlier this year, I got stamps at the main visitors center in Yosemite Valley, Big Oak Flat, Wawona Hotel, and Happy Isles Nature Center. We didn't get to Hetch Hetchy, and we couldn't find the Tuolumne Meadows spot.

Another thing to keep in mind if you do the passport program is that only the national parks, monuments, etc. operated by the National Park Service (NPS) are officially part of this program. I found this out because as we were driving through Montana, I saw a National Landmark sign for Pompeys Pillar. I made John make a split-second decision to exit the freeway and stop.

It actually was a nice place and they did have a stamp, but it wasn't the same stamp as the NPS stops - it was just a picture of the pillar, no cancellation with a date, etc. And then I realized that Pompeys Pillar is operated by the Bureau of Land Management - not the NPS. So, long story short, just because you see a highway/freeway sign for a National Monument, etc., it might not actually be a part of the passport program.

On our mammoth two-week road trip in May 2012, I was able to get stamps at four different NPS sites, as well as Pompeys Pillar. Again, as I've mentioned before, I got my four stamps at Yosemite and one stamp at Devils Tower. I also got the stamp at the John Muir Historical Site.

This was a really neat place hidden in the midst of the freeways of the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. I lived in the Bay Area for 6 years and had never heard of this place - it was John Muir's home, when he wasn't wandering around Yosemite.

It is still a working farm/fruit orchard and if you go at the right time of year, visitors can eat the fruit from the trees. In addition, there is a giant sequoia that John Muir brought from Yosemite and is continuing to grow.

And the other place that I got a stamp was at the Painted Canyon site in Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP) in western North Dakota. There are other stamp sites in TRNP and I'm hoping to get those on another trip.

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