Monday, January 12, 2009

National Parks Meme

One of the ways to tell that your blogging has hit a flat spot is that you actually welcome a meme. Chris Clarke just tagged me with his US National Park Meme, and, rather than cursing him repeatedly for the tap, I only did so once, so I guess SherWords is at least approaching a flat spot.

Chris cut-n-pasted a list of US National Parks and bold-faced the ones he has visited in his lifetime, and invited others to do the same. The meme has a bonus question: "what’s the next National Park you’d like to visit?"

First, the list:

Acadia National Park (Maine)
National Park of American Samoa (American Samoa)
Arches National Park (Utah)
Badlands National Park (South Dakota)
Big Bend National Park (Texas)
Biscayne National Park (Florida)
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (Colorado)
Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)
Canyonlands National Park (Utah)
Capitol Reef National Park (Utah)
Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)
Channel Islands National Park (California)
Congaree National Park (South Carolina)
Crater Lake National Park (Oregon)
Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)
Death Valley National Park (California, Nevada)
Denali National Park and Preserve (Alaska)
Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida)
Everglades National Park (Florida)
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve (Alaska)
Glacier National Park (part of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park) (Montana/Alberta)
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (Alaska)
Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona)
Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)
Great Basin National Park (Nevada)
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (Colorado)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina, Tennessee)
Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Texas)
Haleakala National Park (Hawaii)
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)
Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas)
Isle Royale National Park (Michigan)
Joshua Tree National Park (California)
Katmai National Park and Preserve (Alaska)
Kenai Fjords National Park (Alaska)
Kings Canyon National Park (California)
Kobuk Valley National Park (Alaska)
Lake Clark National Park and Preserve (Alaska)
Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)
Mammoth Cave National Park (Kentucky)
Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)
Mount Rainier National Park (Washington)
North Cascades National Park (Washington)
Olympic National Park (Washington)
Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona)
Redwood National Park (California)
Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)
Saguaro National Park (Arizona)
Sequoia National Park (California)
Shenandoah National Park (Virginia)
Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)
Virgin Islands National Park (U.S. Virgin Islands)
Voyageurs National Park (Minnesota)
Wind Cave National Park (South Dakota)
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve (Alaska)
Yellowstone National Park (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming)
Yosemite National Park (California)
Zion National Park (Utah)

If you check Chris's list against mine, I think you'll be struck by the similarities. Each of ours shows surprising omissions for those who are familiar with us or our writing: his doesn't include Kings Canyon or Sequoia, for example, and Crater Lake is absent from mine despite numerous wanderings close to it. But overall, the similarities are remarkable.

As for the "bonus question" concerning the next national park I'd like to visit (and note the technicality that it doesn't specify US national park!), what Diane and I are actually planning to do is to make the following list all bold-faced instead of only two-thirds:

The Burren
Wicklow Mountains

The list is the complete roster of National Parks in the Republic of Ireland. (We almost got to Ballycroy in our 2006 visit, but didn't quite get there -- we hustled through Co. Mayo to get to Clifden from Sligo for the pony show, and didn't quite have the time we would have liked, but we'll fix that next time.) That there are only six national parks in the country seems a bit strange at first for a land so fabled for its beauty (as Diane just said to me, "The whole place is a national park!"). It's less strange when you consider that a) the whole country is almost exactly the same size as South Carolina, which has only one national park (Congaree), and b) the Republic adheres strictly to the IUCN's 1969 criteria for "national parks":

In 1969, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recommended that all governments agree to reserve the term 'National Park' to areas sharing the following characteristics:

  • Where one or several ecosystems are not materially altered by human exploitation and occupation; where plant and animal species, geomorphological sites and habitats are of special scientific, educational and recreational interest or which contain a natural landscape of great beauty;
  • Where the highest competent authority of the country has taken steps to prevent or eliminate as soon as possible exploitation or occupation in the whole area and to enforce effectively the respect of ecological, geomorphological or aesthetic features which have led to its establishment;
  • Where visitors are allowed to enter, under special conditions, for inspirational, educational, cultural and recreational purposes.
It is the policy of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, endorsed by successive governments, to abide by the criteria and standards for National Parks as set by the IUCN.

(Quote from the Republic's National Parks and Wildlife Service website. It's a shame, though, that the Service doesn't also abide by the proper use of serial commas.)

I actually had thought that I would do a similar bold- and not-bold list for national parks I've visited and not visited in Australia... until I did a little googling and found that the Ozzies have a staggering 516 of them. Nobody's going to read to the end of that list, and precious few of them would be bolded.

Of course, this wouldn't be a SherWords post without some bandwidth-hogging images, so here's this post's quota: my favorites from the four Irish national parks we have visited:

Connemara: the admonition to stay on the trail is familiar in US national parks; the stern "DO NOT INTERFERE WITH PONIES" is not.

Killarney: enjoying the vista from Ladies' View with one of the locals.

The Burren: Karst, karst all around, and caves beneath our feet. Also Galway Bay in the background.

Wicklow Mountains: heather and a clear, pure brook by St. Kevin's Way.

Coda: As Chris notes, "it’s not a meme unless you tap people for it," so I guess I should burden some readers by name to do their own list. But I won't. I will, though, invite any regular SherWords reader to follow up on his or her own blog, or in the comments here, to the National Park Meme: what US National Parks have you visited? What national park would you like to visit next? (And feel free to add Canada's national parks to the list, too -- or even instead of!)

Post-Coda: As Chris also rightly notes, "yes, this list reflects a certain amount of assumption of privilege in that travel costs money and time, and if you’ve been unable to do the Parks Tour thing, feel free to tell us about a local place you like, NP, National Monument, State Park, or otherwise."


Dann said...

Define "visit"....

Sherwood Harrington said...

If you're asking because you might have participated in the invasion of one, Dann, I think that would probably count.

Dann said...

Not invasion. Liberation.

You really do need to get current with the terminology, Sherwood.

Although I was thinking more along the lines of "just passing through".

Sherwood Harrington said...

I think "just passing through" would qualify as long as you were on the ground and not flying over.

Ronnie said...

You asked for it:
Acadia, Black Canyon of the Gunnison,Bryce Canyon, Channel Islands,Crater Lake, Denali, Grand Canyon (at age 4), Great Smokey Mts.,Hawaii Volcanoes, Mesa Verde, Mt. Rainier, Sequoia (at 4), Shenandoah (passing thru), Virgin Islands, Yosemite, Zion.

Favorite: Mesa Verde. Still wished for: Yellowstone.

You really must get to Crater - that first sight as you come up over the edge is breath-taking!

Adam said...

Are there ANY trees in Ireland? You must have felt somewhat out of your element. From your photos, one might gather that there is more lumber in your backyard than the whole of the emerald isle!

Sherwood Harrington said...

Ronnie, I won't be so rude as to ask what year it was when you visited Sequoia and the Grand Canyon national parks, but that must have been quite a trip in order to be remembered now. Are there any photos? And, yes, I really, really should get to Crater Lake for a number of reasons, both personal and professional.

Sherwood Harrington said...

Oh, yes, Adam, there are trees in Ireland. Not so many as there were before the island became a rugby-pitch for the various invading sides, from Vikings to Brits, and not so many as there were before wood as a building resource became precious in mass quantities. But they are there, and they're coming back.

Not only are there trees in Ireland, but the world's finest private tree museum* is in Ireland -- in the Birr Castle Demesne, our once and future temporary home in the Midlands. It was collected and is nurtured by our host, Brendan Parsons, the 7th Earl of Rosse, and is a marvel, part of why we are returning to that particular spot as a base in 2010 instead of somewhere else. (The astronomical history has even more to do with that choice, of course.)

Lord Rosse has a lot of pithy things to say about the current government's reforestation efforts, by the way -- and he has some gravitas in the matter, having worked with the UN for 35 years in reforestation and forest care in third world countries, including Bangladesh and Iran.

This is beginning to look like a topic for a full-on blog post, isn't it? I'll put it in the queue.

*the referenced slide set over on was a little project I undertook in relaxation times during our 2006 stay in Ireland: photos to accompany a guide book that the Castle's shop sells for "The Red Tree Trail," a self-guided tour of 50 of the most noteworthy trees in the Rosses' demesne. The guidebook is not illustrated, and I've been pleased with the response to my photos on the web in the past couple of years. Lady Rosse herself calls them "lovely and useful," and all or part of the set has been viewed since March, 2007, by people from 1,867 cities in 80 countries.

You, Adam, will get a chuckle out of the detailed entry for tree #27 on the trail -- a sequoia sempervirens! -- if you scroll down to the last photo.

Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

I'm looking forward to writing about this when i get an adequate stretch of time! I've been to very few, but have some other parks and sites to share. My brother the biologist used to take groups of kids on "Eco-Travels" tours and saw many of these places, including Crater Lake, which possibly edges out the Grand Canyon as the one i want most to see. I was scheduled to go along the year they, of course, cancelled (argh!).

Ronnie said...

We moved to Glendale in 1925 and hit Catalina and the San Fernando Mission in July, Santa Barbara in August to see the earthquake damage, and Sequoia in Sept. on my first birthday.

1926 - Mt. Baldy and San Diego.

1927 - Mt. Lowe and "Tia Juana" in July, Lake Arrowhead in August, and then a huge trip in September that included Mt. Rainier, Vancouver BC, Lake Washington, Cascade Lakes, Multnomah Falls, Oneonta Falls, Mt Hood, and Yosemite.

1928/1929 on our relocation trip to new home in NY, we visited my Dad's cousin who was manager of the gift shop at El Tovar, the hotel at Grand Canyon.

I do have pictures but they are mostly of the baby and whichever set of grandparents were visiting from Chicago. The 1929 pictures are of Niagara Falls and Yankee Stadium.

In late '45 my soldier husband, our firstborn and I lived in Pismo Beach (really!) about 40 miles from where he was stationed at what became Vanderbilt AFB, very near Lompoc, the reason for my earlier residence in California. And then there were later trips out there (some visiting the children who lived in Phoenix and Colorado) so many of those places were visited again. More pictures.

None the quality of yours, however.