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Reader Participation Day: If Cost Were No Object, Which National Park Would You Visit?


If cost weren't an issue, would you head to Crystal Lake in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve? Photo copyright QT Luoug,, used with permission.

We all harbor pipe dreams, ambitions that are so far out there they can best be described as dreams. With 392 units in the National Park System, it certainly can be considered a pipe dream to visit each one. But let's turn dreams to realities. If you could visit only one, which would it be?

That's right. If someone were willing to pay all your expenses, which unit of the National Park System would you choose to visit? I've long had a trip to Alaska on my to-do list, with a visit to either Wrangell-St. Elias or Lake Clark national parks. But then, visiting Hawaii Volcanoes would be nice, too, as would a canoe trip in Voyageurs National Park.

So, where would you head and why?


I am going to Alaska this August and going to Denali so I would have to choose Katmai which at this time I will not be able to fit into my trip.

Denali would be first on my bucket list, but I would jump at the chance to climb Katahdin again. It was a spiritual experience.

I've worked for the NPS for 30 years now and have visited many of the different park units throughout the system. Theodore Roosevelt, Great Smokies, and Big Bend are some of my favorites. But if I had a shot at an all expenses paid trip I would have to go for a motorcycle tour of Ireland's six National Parks - with a visit to Glenveagh NP and the Derryveagh Mountains the #1 stop. I know it's not in "The National Park system", but it's in a national park system and would make a great retirement gift.

Great Falls Park is the northernmost site of the George Washington Memorial Parkway which is made up of more than 20 sites along the Potomac River. This is one of those National Park units that make it complicated when talking about how many total units there are to visit. I'm not a passport stamp collector but those people really get into stuff like this. You can find more info here

I have been to every national park unit in Alaska and a lesser number in the Lower 48 and Hawaii. All have something special that makes them memorable. However, if I had to choose one it would be Katmai National Park and Preserve in southwestern Alaska. No other park equals it in terms of a dramatic combination of dramatic mega fauna, volcanism, spawning ground for billions of anadromous fish, pure wilderness and major cultural sites. It is not a convenient park to visit, but there is none other so rewarding of those who make the effort to see and experience it.

I'll have to go with the majority here and throw my vote in for Gates of the Arctic. American Samoa would be my second choice, but the costs could be defrayed by the Home Stay program, which is to me the best reason for visiting. Third choice would be Theodore Roosevelt National Park, only because it's so far removed from anything else in the National Park system. If you go there, you definitely plan on going *there*.

However, after seeing the Ken Burns documentary, I'm *dying* to go rafting through Dinosaur National Monument. Can someone pay my way? Thanks. :-)

P.S. Off the subject, but just what the heck is Great Falls? Is it actually a new National Park, or simply a "Park" as it's listed on the NPS website? I don't know of anyplace else in the system that is just a "Park," as opposed to a National Park, National Historical Park and/or Site, etc. I'm confused.

I like your style, ranger!

Well I've done Hawai'i, and the Alaska parks are my first inclination but instead I'm going to say Dry Tortugas! Gotta mix it up a little bit.

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