If you like any National Parks on Facebook (if you don’t, you should), you’ve probably seen some posts challenging the public to “find their park.” Up until recently, the National Park Service was a little behind the curve when it came to social media. Fortunately, parks are getting caught up in the Facebook, Instagram, Twitter social media biosphere–this is the way people communicate, collaborate, and connect. It seems a little silly but if something doesn’t have an Internet presence, people probably don’t know it exists!
Quickly, I’d like to say: National Parks, monuments, historical sites, etc are more accessible than ever before! Parks are developing education curriculums to involve local schools, interactive programming, creative interpretations, offering a wide variety of diverse activities, and doing community outreach. Everyone should have at least 5 sites in the National Park system they want to check out. Whenever you’re driving around, if you see that iconic arrowhead, just STOP and take a look around! You might be surprised at what you find.
Hey, and guess what? If you’re looking for a job that is way better than any job you’ve ever had ever, apply on usajobs.gov for a seasonal job in the National Park Service. It’s competitive and it’s a challenge, but the experience will be one you remember for a lifetime.
OKAY, with that in mind, I’m excited to see the Find Your Park initiative. Resembling something from Buzzfeed, you can take a quick quiz that will narrow down some of the 400 sites to a few perfect options based on your interests, location, and lifestyle. The results are not far off from perfect; I got Acadia National Park, which happens to be in my top 5 list (along with Glacier, Olympic, Isle Royale, and Gates of the Arctic.)
The National Park Service is, in my opinion, America’s greatest and purest endeavor. Recognizing the intrinsic value of our natural resources, America decided to set aside places of natural beauty, historical importance, and ecological necessity. It hasn’t always been perfectly operated, but if America is the Great Experiment, there is room for trial and error. Nowadays, the Park Service is getting it right. As strange as it seems, they’re getting Instagram accounts to entice young people with amazing pictures of the vistas and the wildlife–and guess what! You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get there–some of them are LITERALLY in your backyard.
I’m excited about Find Your Park. According to an Alaska National Park Facebook post, “Find Your Park is a public awareness and education campaign celebrating the milestone centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016 and setting the stage for its second century of service.” It reminds us that there is A LOT of America we take for granted, we leave (personally) unexplored, and pass up for contrived (and expensive) trips to exotic locales. Partnered with the National Park Foundation, American Express, Budweiser, Subaru, REI, Humana, and Disney, it seems the National Park Service is looking to break some records in 2016. And I hope it does! We all deserve to remember the past, live in the present, take a break from reality, and explore what has been hiding in plain sight all along!
Take the quiz and poke around findyourpark.com! Let us know what park you want to visit!