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Archive for national parks

Dinosaur Trees in Australia

By Linda Tancs

Just a couple of hours northwest of Sydney is Wollemi National Park, a national park and wilderness area in Australia. Bushwalking is a popular activity thanks to the pristine, rugged wilderness met with pagoda rock formations, sandstone escarpments and deep gorges, among other things. In fact, one of the most fascinating discoveries of all time, the last surviving grove of Wollemi pine, occurred in 1994 during a bushwalking expedition in the deep gorges. Once thought to be extinct, its link to the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods puts it squarely in the backyard of the dinosaurs, who no doubt looked to the trees as a food source. Despite this discovery, the scarcity of the tree makes it highly endangered, and its location in the park is a closely-guarded secret. No worries, though. There’s enough extraordinary landscape to keep you occupied, and the softer light of autumn provides a great backdrop for outstanding photography.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Stewards of Mount Rainier

By Linda Tancs

Washington’s Mount Rainier stands sentinel over the landscape at 14,410 feet. It’s not only an active volcano but also the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S., spawning five major rivers. The Cowlitz, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Puyallup, Squaxin Island and Yakama people are the original stewards of the land, with archaeological evidence tracing Native use of the area back 9,000 years. Now a bustling national park, 97% of its area has been designated as wilderness by Congress. Stretching for 378 square miles, the park has five developed areas, with three visitor centers, a museum and several wilderness and climbing centers and ranger stations. Its features include subalpine meadows, the temperate rainforest environment at Carbon River and Mowich Lake, the largest and deepest lake in the park. Wherever you roam, take advantage of the numerous day hikes offered along 260 miles of maintained trails.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Glaciers in Patagonia

By Linda Tancs

In the Patagonia region of Argentina there’s no shortage of glaciers. That’s why the area is named Los Glaciares National Park. Located in the southwest of Santa Cruz on the border with Chile, the park includes a large portion of the Andes practically under ice and snow to the west and arid Patagonian steppes to the east. Its name refers to the glaciers that are born on the ice caps – the largest continental ice extension after Antarctica – which occupies almost half its area. In this region you’ll also find some of the world’s richest fossil beds, highest mountains and biggest glacier-fed lakes found anywhere. The park can be accessed from different points of Route No. 40, by bus or by car.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Seclusion in Thailand

By Linda Tancs

Fans of Leonardo DiCaprio will remember the 2000 film The Beach. It was shot in the Phi Phi Archipelago, a secluded island chain in Thailand. Well, it wasn’t so secluded after word got out about its beauty. Many locales, like Maya Bay (the actual “beach”) were forced to close due to damage done by overzealous tourists. But 2021 promises a reopening of this lustrious location following the replanting of natural coral. The area is part of Hat Noppharat Thara-Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

America’s Largest Glacial System

By Linda Tancs

America’s largest glacial system exists within park boundaries of Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Covering 35 percent of the parklands, glaciers are the headwaters for many of the river systems that flow through the park. One of the most stunning features of this area is Bagley Icefield. Touted as the largest nonpolar icefield in North America, it encompasses multiple glaciers and is 127 miles long, 6 miles wide and up to 3,000 feet thick in some places. In fact, it feeds many glaciers, including the Bering Glacier, the largest in North America. Both public and private lands exist in the park. Public lands are open year round; enjoy snowmobiling this time of year provided there’s adequate snow cover (at least one foot) and frozen ground.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Chile’s Oldest Park

By Linda Tancs

Chile’s Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park is the oldest park in the country. Created in 1926, it’s located in Chile’s pristine Lake District, featuring Lago Todos los Santos (All Saints Lake). Its fabulous emerald-green color makes it one of the most popular attractions in the park. Boasting over 600,000 acres, the park also features the turquoise waters of the Petrohué Waterfalls as well as Osorno Volcano. Travel up the volcano to a ski resort for striking views of the Petrohué River Valley.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Spain’s First National Park

By Linda Tancs

Picos de Europa are a mountain range forming part of the Cantabrian Mountains in northern Spain comprising Picos de Europa National Park, Spain’s first such park. Because the park covers three massive massifs, the mountain views are extraordinary. Golden eagles and chamois are a common sight there, amply viewed along one of the many hiking routes in the park, which are touted as some of the best in the country. Also, the Fuente Dé cable car will have you soaring past the peaks in a matter of minutes. Open year round as weather permits, winter is especially devoid of summertime throngs.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Mountain of the Lychees

By Linda Tancs

Phnom Kulen (translated as “mountain of the lychees”) is a popular tourist destination in Cambodia and a spot favored by locals because it is a holy mountain. The birthplace of the ancient Khmer empire, its historical (and environmental) value led to its protection as a national park. Located in Siem Reap Province, it features two waterfalls that form the basis for most tours of the area. It’s also rich in archaeological sites, one of the most popular being the “river of a thousand lingas,” boasting lingas (representations of the Hindu god Shiva) and other stone carvings. The area comprises one of the few remaining tropical forests in northwest Cambodia.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The American Spa

By Linda Tancs

Thermal water has been used for thousands of years to treat arthritis, joint pain, burns and skin disorders. Some of the most famous thermal baths in the world are found in Europe—most notably, in Budapest, the so-called City of Spas. If an international jaunt is not in the budget, then look no further than Arkansas. That’s right: in the heart of the Ozarks a thriving city (named, of course, Hot Springs) was built around the thermal waters that attracted folks of all walks of life in the 1800s. In fact, the success of the bathing industry led to the city being touted as “the American Spa.” Hot Springs National Park surrounds the north end of the city. There you can tour a historic bathhouse, hike forested trails and, needless to say, take a nice, hot bath.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Serenity in Schiermonnikoog

By Linda Tancs

Car-free and carefree. Those might be the best attributes to describe Schiermonnikoog, the smallest inhabited island of the Dutch Wadden Sea islands. The entire locale is a national park, a place teeming with beaches, dunes, forests, tidal marshes, lakes and tidal flats along with hundreds of plant and bird species. It boasts the widest sandbar in Europe (the Rif) as well as the oldest house in the North Sea islands and a whale jaw over three feet high. It owes at least part of its tourism to Klozum, a costume festival that takes place on December 5 each year. You get there via ferry from the port of Lauwersoog in the Dutch province of Groningen.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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