You may not have heard, but Saturday kicked off the first National Park Week, a Presidentially-endorsed celebration of our many natural and historic national parks. National Park Week runs through Sunday, April 27. From the mouth of President Bush himself:
“Our National Parks belong to each of us, and they are natural places to learn, exercise, volunteer, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy the magnificent beauty of our great land. During National Park Week and throughout the year, Americans of all ages can pledge to help maintain and enhance America’s national treasures for future generations.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 19 through April 27, 2008, as National Park Week. I invite all my fellow citizens to join me in celebrating America’s national parks by visiting these wonderful spaces, discovering all they have to offer, and becoming active participants in park conservation.”
That sounds serious — we better get out there. Several national parks have scheduled official events for National Park Week, including outdoor skills schools, nature walks, and Junior Ranger days. And, in another bit of auspicious timing, the first roads have opened up in both Yellowstone and Glacier. The holiday seems a bit early, considering that summer remains the busiest season for most national parks, but maybe even the Fed prefers to avoid bear jams on Going-to-the-Sun road.
Considering Bush’s wildlife/conservation record, this isn’t much more than a nice gesture, but if he can take out some time this week to bail out the park service with some much-needed cash for acquisitions, then we’ll be talkin’ ’bout some serious steps toward redemption.
(Note to self: Ask the Boss if we can make National Park Week a company holiday…)
— Ted Alvarez
National Park Week (White House)
Some Yellowstone Park Roads Reopen (Salt Lake Tribune)