Friday, March 1, 2013

National Park Passport

I love history.

A big impetus for getting an RV and taking to the road was to experience history in its many forms - whether a man-made site or geological wonder.  Our National Park System is a living classroom and I wanted a way to commemorate my long-term pursuit of visiting as many NP sites as possible. 

In 2003, I got my National Park Passport. 




Since then I have collected 82 stamps. 

First stamps. 
From the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains, GA

The stamps aren't of the paper variety, but rather cancellations made with a rubber stamp and ink found at National Park Visitors' Centers. 



IMO, stamps are ideal souvenirs because they 1) are free ! and 2) don't take up much room. 

If you are interested in learning more about collecting, the parkstamps.org website is for rabid stamp collectors.  It contains a very active forum and has comprehensive info about where and which stamps are available at the NP sites. 

Wikipedia has an informative article about the stamp program.

Some people chase after the stamps just to chase them, as an end in themselves.  They dash in and dash out before the ink is dry.  Many though, like me, have rules.  Rather than stamp and go, I spend time at the visitor center exhibits and view any film that is on offer.  That's the minimum.  Of course there is always far more to do; for example, touring the ruins of a Native American village, gawking at glaciers, or plunging into underworld caverns.  You can explore for one hour or one week.   

Traveling in the GDB makes these experiences even better.  For example, I had some time to kill at the LBJ Ranch recently so I made some coffee, sat back, and watched the cattle graze.  A simple thing - but I'll always remember it.


Not all NP sites hold equal interest for me.  Military sites such as forts and battlefields are not high on my list (with a few exceptions).  But I still visit those places because I know I'll not be disappointed.  There is always something to learn.  I've lived long enough to truly mean it when I say 'you never know'. 

I only wish the National Parks Passport had been around a lot earlier.  What great mementos to have from our family road trips in the 60's and 70's! 

20 comments:

  1. The National Wildlife System (Fish & Wildlife) also has a book you can take to the various National Wildlife Refuges in the USA and get stamped. Like the parks, the refuges are great places to visit... places to hike, see wildlife and use your photography skills. You can also get a season pass to the refuges at a discounted price (or, if you're 62 or older, get a lifetime pass). No matter whether you like the parks or the refuges they are both great places to visit.

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    1. Thanks for mentioning the NWR passport! I agree, they are great places to visit. Sometimes I think "I can't wait till I'm 62".

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  2. I have both passport books, and like you are not a stamp a run collector. :)

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  3. I wish I got the passport when we first went full-time. All those park stamps I would have gathered by now. But, I would run across it one day in one of my purge everything moods and out it would go. :)

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    1. I'm a habitual purger too but this is one item I would never chuck. When I think about how many times I've been to D.C. in my life and didn't have the book then. Gives me a good excuse to go back though.

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  4. I decided I would not start collectingthe stamps. just tossed a bag of pins I ad collected during our ski years.

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  5. Hiya Kim! Youmay want to check out fellow RTRer Linda's website, Markeroni

    http://www.markeroni.com/index.php

    Fun on the road! A bunch of history buffs run around the world documenting historical markers for posterity. Historical markers are disappearing and there is no budget to replace them


    Linda's husband is the one that installed my solar and tweeked a number of other things on my rig! AWESOME folks!

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    1. How cool is that website? Thanks for passing it on. Best to you and the Stumpmeister.

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  6. It's cool that you're doing the stamp book! They weren't around when I started visiting national parks, so I have the list printed out from the internet with a whole bunch of check marks.

    Even though I'm interested in all kinds of different sites when I travel, it's fun to have a goal like seeing all the parks to add a layer of structure.

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  7. Psssst Kim, those are Hereford Cattle, not longhorns. Unless there were longhorns there but not on the photo.
    Thanks for the info on the parks passport. I didn't know there was such a thing!

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    1. Ooops - I stand corrected. Thank you, you ole Texas gal, for pointing that out!

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    2. lol... I was going to point that out ... glad I read comments first... Longhorns have verrrrry long horns and not sweet fluffy white faces... ;)

      I thought about getting the Passport stamp book but then the pictures I took suffice. Just something else to keep up with!

      I bet I've taken five gazillion million pictures... glad they're digitized and not the old paper kind. jeeez picture taking used to be limiting.

      It still amazes me that we have instant pictures. I thought the Polaroid was just absolutely amazing...

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  8. I didn't realize there was a National Parks passport either. I think I want to get one, too! Maybe it would give me an incentive to travel farther instead of staying mostly in the Southeast.

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    1. It is a fine incentive. The more you see and the more stamps you collects, the more you want.

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  9. I have seen the books too. I will look at them again. They have them(I'm sure you know) at the Saguaro National Park West here in Tucson. I bet I missed a few stamps. Like you said good excuse to go back.

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    1. I should have mentioned that the passports can be found at any NP visitor center. And online.

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  10. Didn't know about these. But maybe I've seen them and not known what they were. Would have been cool when we were traveling as kids (same era you were)..but is still cool now. The cows look like they are grazing in a pecan orchard. Can't wait till you are traveling again...so I get to go along!

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  11. Also many of the large parks have multiple stamps. I.e. Grand Canyon, Yellowstone

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  12. we have the passport for national parks and one for state capitols. I wish we had more of the stamps.

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  13. I have a buddy from my old job (am now retired) and the two of us are stamp buddy fanatics. We both have much beloved National Park Passbooks. I turned her onto the National Wildlife Refuge Blue Goose Passbook, and she turned me onto the Lighthouse passbook sponsored by the National Lighthouse Society. YES! There are THREE different passbooks one can obsess over. Isn't life great?

    http://www.uslhs.org/passports.php

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