Golden Spike National Historic Site (Utah)

… came under National Park Service administration on this date in 1965. It had been set aside in 1957.

May 10, 1869 the Union and Central Pacific Railroads joined their rails at Promontory Summit, Utah Territory and forged the destiny of a nation. Golden Spike National Historic Site shares the stories of the people and settings that define the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad.

Golden Spike National Historic Site

Pictured, The Jupiter, one of the replica steam engines at Golden Spike NHS
NewMexiKen photo, 2005

The Santa Fe Trail

The Santa Fe National Historic Trail was established on May 8th in 1987.

Santa Fe Trail

Between 1821 and 1880, the Santa Fe Trail was primarily a commercial highway connecting Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. From 1821 until 1846, it was an international commercial highway used by Mexican and American traders. In 1846, the Mexican-American War began. The Army of the West followed the Santa Fe Trail to invade New Mexico. When the Treaty of Guadalupe ended the war in 1848, the Santa Fe Trail became a national road connecting the United States to the new southwest territories. Commercial freighting along the trail continued, including considerable military freight hauling to supply the southwestern forts. The trail was also used by stagecoach lines, thousands of gold seekers heading to the California and Colorado gold fields, adventurers, fur trappers, and emigrants. In 1880 the railroad reached Santa Fe and the trail faded into history.

National Park Service


Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

… was established as Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park on April 25, 1947. It became a National Park in 1978.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

When Theodore Roosevelt came to Dakota Territory to hunt bison in 1883, he was a skinny, young, spectacled dude from New York. He could not have imagined how his adventure in this remote and unfamiliar place would forever alter the course of the nation. The rugged landscape and strenuous life that TR experienced here would help shape a conservation policy that we still benefit from today.


A wide diversity of animals make their home in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. An abundance of native grasses provide sustenance for grazing animals both large and small while the tapestry of different habitats attracts a great number of birds. The terrain of the badlands creates microclimates of warm, dry slopes, relatively cool and wet juniper woodlands, and riverbottoms.


“I grow very fond of this place, and it certainly has a desolate, grim beauty of its own, that has a curious fascination for me.” Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt National Park is located in the badlands of western North Dakota. The park is comprised of three areas: South Unit, North Unit and Elkhorn Ranch Unit.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

I have just one digitized photo from Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It’s of a visitor to our campsite in 1998.

Campground Visitor


Organ Pipe National Monument (Arizona)

… was established on this date in 1937.

Organ Pipe

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument celebrates the life and landscape of the Sonoran Desert. Here, in this desert wilderness of plants and animals and dramatic mountains and plains scenery, you can drive a lonely road, hike a backcountry trail, camp beneath a clear desert sky, or just soak in the warmth and beauty of the Southwest. The Monument exhibits an extraordinary collection of plants of the Sonoran Desert, including the organ pipe cactus, a large cactus rarely found in the United States. There are also many creatures that have been able to adapt themselves to extreme temperatures, intense sunlight and little rainfall.


Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument exhibits an extraordinary collection of plants and animals of the Sonoran Desert. This is a showcase for creatures who have adapted themselves to the extreme temperatures, intense sunlight, and little rainfall that characterize this Southwest region. Twenty-six species of cactus have mastered the art of living in this place, including the park’s namesake and the giant saguaro.


National Parks and National Monuments are both administered by the National Park Service, and are identical in their function and purpose. Both are types of federally protected lands, and share the common goal of preserving and protecting significant natural and cultural resources.

The major difference between a national park and a national monument is the manner in which they are created. A national park is established through an Act of Congress, and the land may originate from a variety of sources, including public and private land. A national monument is established by Presidential proclamation, and this land is to be taken only from existing public (federal) ownership.

Organ Pipe National Monument


Arches National Park (Utah)

… was proclaimed Arches National Monument on this date in 1929. It became a national park in 1971.

Arches

Visit Arches and discover a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures unlike any other in the world. The park has over 2,000 natural stone arches, in addition to hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins and giant balanced rocks. This red rock wonderland will amaze you with its formations, refresh you with its trails, and inspire you with its sunsets.


The forces of nature have acted in concert to create the landscape of Arches, which contains the greatest density of natural arches in the world. Throughout the park, rock layers tell a story of millions of years of deposition, erosion and other geologic events. These layers continue to shape life in Arches today, as their erosion influences elemental features like soil chemistry and where water flows when it rains.

Arches is located in a “high desert,” with elevations ranging from 4,085 to 5,653 feet above sea level. The climate is one of very hot summers, cold winters and very little rainfall. Even on a daily basis, temperatures may fluctuate as much as 50 degrees.

Arches National Park


Little Bighorn Battlefield Montana

… was designated a national monument on this date in 1946.

Little Bighorn Battlefield

This area memorializes the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry and the Sioux and Cheyenne in one of the Indians last armed efforts to preserve their way of life. Here on June 25 and 26 of 1876, 263 soldiers, including Lt. Col. George A. Custer and attached personnel of the U.S. Army, died fighting several thousand Lakota, and Cheyenne warriors.


More than half of the 7th Cavalry survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn. About 350 soldiers under the command of Major Reno and Captian Benteen survived five miles south of where Custer and five companies were annihilated.


The Battle of the Little Bighorn did not end on top of Last Stand Hill as been traditionally suggusted. According to warrior accounts the fight ended in a ravine, 300-400 yards below the hill today, known as Deep Ravine.

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument


Navajo National Monument (Arizona)

… was proclaimed on March 20, 1909.

Navajo National Monument

Navajo National Monument preserves three intact cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloan people. A visitor center, museum, three short self-guided trails, two small campgrounds, and a picnic area provide service to travelers.


Descendants of the Hopi people who built these places are called Hisatsinom. Zuni, also pueblo builders, know that several of their clans began in this area. Later, San Juan Southern Paiute, famous for their baskets, moved into this area and lived near the cliff dwellings. Today, this place is surrounded by the Navajo Nation, as it has been for hundreds of years.

Navajo National Monument