Happy birthday to the Antiquities Act!

Today is the anniversary of Antiquities Act of 1906. Not many people know much about this law, even though it probably ranks as the most important conservation tool in our nation’s history. Not only did it, for the first time, protect historical and prehistoric structures and artifacts, but it gave the President the authority to designate national monuments, helping to effectively preserve so much of our natural and cultural heritage. Many of these places have since been incorporated into larger national monuments or national parks, and many of them form the basis for the National Conservation Lands.

Continue reading

Goodbye Lovebug and Shadow

Lovebug & Shadow in moving boxLast month, my two cats, Lovebug and Shadow, were unexpectedly pulled out of my life. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. The circumstances surrounding it made it hurt even worse. While I haven’t been able to live with them for awhile now, they were still very important to me and important parts of the only family I’ve had a hand in choosing.

Today is Lovebug’s birthday, and so I am remembering him and Shadow with this post. Continue reading

My #BattlefieldsandBeginnings road trip

15 days. 2,486 miles. 31 new national parks.

In March 2013, I had one of my most productive national park road trips. I called it my #BattlefieldsandBeginnings trip, and it primarily focused on as-yet-unvisited national parks in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland. I also snuck in a quick jaunt over the Pennsylvania border to hit Gettysburg and the adjacent Eisenhower National Historic Site.

Continue reading

Following the life of Abraham Lincoln

This August, I made it to the last two major national park sites dedicated to President Abraham Lincoln. After watching the movie Lincoln last month, I thought back on all of the Lincoln-related places I’ve been.

  • Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park
  • Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site
  • Lincoln-Herndon Law Office (Springfield, IL)
  • The White House
  • Ford’s Theater National Historic Site
  • The Petersen House (where Lincoln died)
  • Lincoln Tomb (Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL)
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Mt Rushmore National Memorial

It’s not a complete list—I suppose you could argue that Gettysburg should be on the list—but it’s not an inconsequential one either. Oh, and add Lincoln, Illinois to the list as well—the site of the strangest Lincoln story I’ve heard and home to the largest Lincoln statute on a covered wagon.

Edit:  I visited Gettysburg in April, so I think that probably completes the list.

2012 was among my best trip years yet

2012 planned trips map

It didn’t quite turn out this way, but it was an ambitious travel year nonetheless.

While I’ve had some amazing travel years, 2012 surprisingly ranks near the top. I made it to 39 national park units I had not yet visited, took my first big solo national park road trip, visited a few new states and two new parts of the country, made it to the first Graham family reunion in several decades, marked off a few straggling park units that had dogged me for years, rafted and backpacked in some amazing places, gained a nickname for visiting all three specimens competing for the title of the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, started a new quest to hit all of the highest points of relatively flat states, and stopped by over one hundred roadside oddities and attractions. And, of course, created some fabulous memories. Continue reading