Arches National Park (Utah)

… was redesignated from national monument to national park on this date in 1971.

Delicate Arch

Arches National Park preserves over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, like the world-famous Delicate Arch, as well as many other unusual rock formations. In some areas, the forces of nature have exposed millions of years of geologic history. The extraordinary features of the park create a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures that is unlike any other in the world.

Arches National Park

For there is a cloud on my horizon. A small dark cloud no bigger than my hand. Its name is Progress.

The ease and relative freedom of this lovely job at Arches follow from the comparative absence of the motorized tourists, who stay away by the millions. And they stay away because of the unpaved entrance road, the unflushable toilets in the campgrounds, and the fact that most of them have never even heard of Arches National Monument.

The Master Plan has been fulfilled. Where once a few adventurous people came on weekends to camp for a night or two and enjoy a taste of the primitive and remote, you will now find serpentine streams of baroque automobiles pouring in and out, all through the spring and summer, in numbers that would have seemed fantastic when I worked there: from 3,000 to 30,000 to 300,000 per year, the “visitation,” as they call it, mounts ever upward.

Progress has come at last to Arches, after a million years of neglect. Industrial Tourism has arrived.

Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire (1968)

“In 2010, the park received over one million visitors.”

Arches is magnificent and should be on any list of must-see national parks.

NewMexiKen photo, 2010

Washita Battlefield National Historic Site (Oklahoma)

. . . was authorized on this date in 1996. It is one of three National Park Service sites in Oklahoma.

Washita

The site protects and interprets the setting along the Washita River where Lt. Col. George A. Custer led the 7th U.S. Cavalry on a surprise dawn attack against the Southern Cheyenne village of Peace Chief Black Kettle on November 27, 1868. The attack was an important event in the tragic clash of cultures of the Indian Wars era.

Washita Battlefield National Historic Site


Korean War Veterans Memorial (Washington, D.C.)

… was authorized 28 years ago today (October 28, 1986).

Korean War Veterans Memorial

“Freedom is not free.” Here, one finds the expression of American gratitude to those who restored freedom to South Korea. Nineteen stainless steel sculptures stand silently under the watchful eye of a sea of faces upon a granite wall—reminders of the human cost of defending freedom. These elements all bear witness to the patriotism, devotion to duty, and courage of Korean War veterans.

Korean War Veterans Memorial


Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument (New Mexico)

… began as Gran Quivara National Monument in 1909, but evolved over the years and was renamed Salinas Pueblo Missions 26 years ago today (October 28, 1988).

Salina Pueblo Missions

Tucked away in the middle of New Mexico you’ll find Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument. The three sites offer a glimpse into a unique time in history. A time entrenched with cultural borrowing, conflict, and struggles. The now abandoned sites stand as reminders of the Spanish and Pueblo People’s early encounters.


Salinas Pueblo Missions is a curious park in that it is a collection of three discontinuous units, each with distinct Spanish Missions, Native American Pueblos, and a variety of other historic buildings and ruins. The park started on November 1, 1909 with the preservation of the Gran Quivira unit. This first park, Gran Quivira National Monument was joined in 1980 by the Abo and Quarai Units which were transferred to the National Park Service from New Mexico State Monuments. The two new units were combined with Gran Quivira to create Salinas National Monument, which was renamed Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument in 1988.

Each of the three units would easily make an incredible National Monument on their own. For this reason it is difficult to briefly summarize the individual locations, staggering architecture, and historical significance of the three units. In light of this fact, in the following pages each unit is divided into its own section with additional pages for highlighted features, buildings, and structures.

Source: National Park Service


Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Taken Saturday, September 25, 2010, at sunset at Delicate Arch, Arches National Park.

Delicate Arch is Entrada sandstone. It’s 52 feet high. This vantage point is reached via 1½-mile trail with an elevation change of about 500 feet. There were approximately 200 people there Saturday, all with the courtesy to stay away from the arch during sunset (prime time for photographers). Six-, soon to be seven-, year-old Sofie made the trek with ease. Grandpa made the trek.


Wanderlist

The British-published Rough Guides lists these 30 places/events as things not to miss in USA. How many have you checked off?

Follow above link for photos.

  1. Monument Valley, AZ • Massive sandstone monoliths stand sentinel in this iconic southwestern landscape.
  2. Redwood National Park, CA • Soak up the quiet majesty of the world’s biggest trees, wide enough to drive through and soaring upwards like skyscrapers.
  3. Skiing in the Rocky Mountains • The Rockies make for some of the best skiing anywhere, with their glitzy resorts and atmospheric mining towns.
  4. Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA • Piled high with salmon, lobster, clams and crabs, the oldest public market in the nation is also home to some great seafood restaurants.
  5. Savannah, GA • Mint juleps on wide verandas, horse-drawn carriages on cobbled streets and lush foliage draped with Spanish moss; this historic cotton port remains the South’s loveliest town.
  6. Ancestral Puebloan sites • Scattered through desert landscapes like New Mexico’s magnificent Bandelier National Monument, the dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloans afford glimpses of an ancient and mysterious world.
  7. Yellowstone National Park, WY • The national park that started it all has it all, from steaming fluorescent hot springs and spouting geysers to sheer canyons and meadows filled with wildflowers and assorted beasts.
  8. Going to a Baseball Game • America’s summer pastime is a treat to watch wherever you are, from Chicago’s ivy-clad Wrigley Field to Boston’s Fenway Park, the oldest in the country.
  9. Graceland, Memphis, TN • Pilgrims from all over the world pay homage to the King by visiting his gravesite and endearingly modest home.
  10. Sweet Auburn, Atlanta, GA • This historic district holds the birthplace of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and other spots honouring his legacy.
  11. Niagara Falls, NY • The sheer power of Niagara Falls is overwhelming, whichever angle you view the mighty cataracts from.
  12. Driving Highway 1, CA • The rugged Big Sur coastline, pounded by Pacific waves, makes an exhilarating route between San Francisco and LA.
  13. Crater Lake, OR • Formed from the blown-out shell of volcanic Mount Mazama, this is one of the deepest and bluest lakes in the world, and offers some of the most evocative scenery anywhere.
  14. Crazy Horse Memorial, SD • A staggering monument to the revered Sioux leader, this colossal statue continues to be etched into the Black Hills of South Dakota.
  15. Las Vegas, NV • From the Strip’s erupting volcanoes, Eiffel Tower and Egyptian pyramid to its many casinos, Las Vegas will blow your mind as well as your wallet.
  16. Hiking in the Grand Canyon, AZ • Explore the innermost secrets of this wondrous spot on many of its superb hiking trails at the heart of one of America’s best-loved parks.
  17. Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL • Though each of Orlando’s theme parks strives to outdo the rest, Walt Disney World remains the one to beat.
  18. Glacier National Park, MT • Montana’s loveliest park holds not only fifty glaciers, but also two thousand lakes, a thousand miles of rivers and the exhilarating Going-to-the-Sun road.
  19. San Francisco, CA • Enchanting, fog-bound San Francisco remains bohemian and individualistic at heart.
  20. Hawaii’s volcanoes • Hawaii’s Big Island grows bigger by the minute, as the world’s most active volcano pours molten lava into the ocean.
  21. The National Mall, Washington DC • From the Lincoln Memorial to the US Capitol by way of the towering Washington Monument – this grand parkway is an awesome showcase of American culture and history.
  22. Mardi Gras, New Orleans, LA • Crazy, colourful, debauched and historic – this is the carnival to end them all.
  23. New York City, NY • With world-class museums, restaurants, nightlife and shops aplenty, the Big Apple is in a league of its own.
  24. Yosemite Valley, CA • Enclosed by near-vertical, mile-high cliffs and laced with hiking trails and climbing routes, the dramatic geology of Yosemite Valley is among the country’s finest scenery.
  25. Miami’s Art Deco, FL • This flamboyant city is deservedly famed for the colourful pastel architecture of its restored South Beach district.
  26. Driving US-1 to Key West, FL • Travel one of America’s most tantalizing highways from sleepy Key Largo to heaving Key West, cruising over the sharks and rays on giant causeways and bridges.
  27. BBQ • Perhaps no other cuisine is as essentially American as BBQ – smoked ribs, pulled pork and brisket – with the Carolinas, Texas and Kansas fighting it out as the nation’s top pit masters.
  28. Venice Beach, LA, CA • Combines wacky LA culture with Muscle Beach, surfing, sand and good food, all a short drive from the glitz of Beverly Hills and Hollywood.
  29. South by Southwest, TX • This thriving ten-day festival in Austin is one of the nation’s best music festivals and plays host to bands from around the world – and Texas, too.
  30. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, OH • Housed inside this striking glass pyramid is an unparalleled collection of rock music’s finest mementoes, recordings, films and exhibitions.

Previously Rough Guides included —

  • Aurora borealis, AK • Winter visitors to Alaska just might see the skies ablaze with the shimmering veils of the Northern Lights.
  • Chicago’s modern architecture, IL • The history of modern architecture is writ large on Chicago’s skyline, site of the world’s first skyscraper.
  • Burning Man • Every summer a temporary community takes life in the middle of the Nevada desert and hosts an art and music festival wholly unlike any other.
  • Swamps • From the steamy Everglades of Florida to the ghostly bayous of Louisiana’s Cajun country, America’s swamplands are hauntingly beautiful.
  • New England in the fall • The Northeast’s breathtaking fall foliage presents an ever-changing palette of colour and light.
  • Rodeos • Relive the Old West with cowboys and cowgirls at rodeos like Cheyenne Frontier Days and countless smaller ones.

Padre Island National Seashore (Texas)

… was authorized by Congress on this date in 1962.

Padre Island

Padre Island National Seashore separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre, one of a few hypersaline lagoons in the world. The park protects 70 miles of coastline, dunes, prairies, and wind tidal flats teeming with life. It is a safe nesting ground for the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle and a haven for 380 bird species. It also has a rich history, including the Spanish shipwrecks of 1554.


Padre Island National Seashore is the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world. In addition to its 70 miles of protected coastline, other important ecosystems abound, including rare coastal prairie, a complex and dynamic dune system, wind tidal flats teeming with life, and the Laguna Madre, one of the few hypersaline lagoon environments left in the world. The National Seashore and surrounding waters provide important habitat for marine and terrestrial plants and animals, including a number of rare, threatened, and endangered species.

Situated along the Central Flyway, Padre Island is a globally important area for over 380 migratory, overwintering, and resident bird species (nearly half of all bird species documented in North America). Thirteen of these species are considered species of concern, threatened, or endangered.

National Park Service