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National Park News: February 2022

Black History Month Events, Park Attendance Records, New Reservation Systems, and a Groundbreaking Moment Aboard the USS Constitution


Bison graze against a majestic backdrop of evergreens and snow dusted hills at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park, WY - Photo Credit: Abby Voce


 

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The mighty Colonel Young Great Sequoia stands tall and proud in front of it's far tinier neighbors in Sequoia National Park in California

The Colonel Young Tree, named for the first Black Superintendent of a National Park

Sequoia National Park, CA - Photo Credit: Kiel Maddox



National Park Service Commemorates Black History Month


In honor of Black History Month 2022, the National Park Service has arranged multiple events, both online and in-person, to celebrate the immense impact African Americans have had on our country's history as a whole and on outdoor preservation and conservation efforts in particular. Learn about Black History Month programs throughout the month, African American Heritage Parks, the African American Civil Rights Network, and more. The NPS has also recently created an interactive story map utilizing GIS software that allows users to explore the rich tradition of historical sites throughout the country.

 

sunset stains the mountains on the horizon blood red as a river winds its way through Big Bend National Park in Southern Texas

Big Bend National Park, TX - Photo Credit: Brett Stanton



Record Setting Year for National Park Visitation in 2021


Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic curtailing travel plans in 2020 for an exorbitant number of people within the United States - and the difficulty of navigating various international travel restrictions - the National Park System saw an enormous increase in visitation in the 2021 calendar year. Big Bend surpassed half a million visitors for the first time in the Park’s history. Grand Teton set individual monthly and overall annual records at over 3.8 million visitors in 2021. Throughout the country, National Parks set records for attendance - which unfortunately also exposed limitations in outdated park infrastructure ill-equipped to handle the influx of additional tourists. While park officials work to update their capabilities to take on an uptick that they expect to continue into the future, websites such as this one will continue to do what we can to identify less-traversed trails within the Parks, or nearby State Park alternatives, that may provide an equally fulfilling yet less crowded experience.


Related on the Pathloom Blog: Overcrowding in the Outdoors - How Tech Can Help

 

Majestic mountains dappled in snow even in the heat of June in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park, CO - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue



Rocky Mountain National Park Extends Timed Entry Reservation System into 2022, Introduces Backpacking Permit System


Again due to the influx in visitors throughout 2021, Rocky Mountain National Park has plans to maintain a timed-entry reservation system for access to the Park initially implemented in 2021. Visitors can sign up in advance to select a 2-hour entrance window on their desired date when they will be permitted entry to the park. This is designed to reduce drain on Park resources, alleviate traffic burdens on Park roads, and provide for a better overall experience for all.


The Park also announced the implementation of a 100% online-only overnight backpacking wilderness permit system via Recreation.gov. The system is designed to reduce overcrowding, enforce Leave No Trace regulations, and ensure visitors are properly educated on safety concerns such as bears or mountain weather.

 

The USS Constitution stands tall against a smoky pink sunset and the Boston Skyline in the Charlestown Navy Yard, part of Boston National Historical Park in MAssachusetts

USS Constitution, Boston National Historical Park, MA - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue



USS Constitution Appoints First Woman as Commanding Officer in 224-year History


In a historical (and long-overdue) change-of-command ceremony in January, Commander Billie Farrel was officially appointed the Commanding Officer of the USS Constitution, a 224-year old battleship that serves as one of the crown jewels of Boston National Historical Park. The ship is nicknamed “Old Ironsides” for being seemingly impervious to cannon fire throughout dozens of expeditions, dating back to its initial commission in 1797. Farrell’s appointment is well-deserved, as prior to serving on the ship’s crew she has a decorated naval history, including a stint as Executive Officer of the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Vicksburg. Old Ironsides may not see the same level of action these days as it has in the past, but still serves an important educational role for this country’s naval heritage.

 

Osprey Falls crashes down through a canyon into the river below in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park, WY - Photo Credit: Brett Stanton



Happy Birthday, Yellowstone National Park


On March 1st, 2022, Yellowstone National Park will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its establishment. The creation of the first official National Park in the world initiated a commitment to conservancy and environmentalism that continues to exist (to some extent) today, throughout this country and across the globe. In an effort to account for past inconsistencies in recognizing the millenia-long Native American connection to the region, Park authorities are actively integrating tribal customs and recommendations to establish the most respectful way of paying tribute to this incredible area of the country. As Covid-19 restrictions have had a serious impact on the planning of in-person celebratory events, it is recommended to check this website on a regular basis as news develops.


Related on the Pathloom Blog: 4 Epic Yellowstone Day Hikes to Beat the Crowds!


ice covers everything in a stepping stone pattern with icicles everywhere on a steppe in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone National Park, WY - Photo Credit: Abby Voce


 

Get exclusive stories, trail reports, National Park alternatives, recipes, and more delivered directly to your inbox from our growing team of experienced thru-hikers, former National Park employees, and fellow adventure lovers.



 

Check out these other articles by Pathloom which you may enjoy:

The Glory of Yosemite

Very Superstitious: Phoenix In The Fall

The Resilience of the Redwoods: Big Basin’s Rise from the Ashes

Leave No Trace Principles

Types of Camping

Where the West Begins



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