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Reader Participation Day: Do You Send National Park Postcards?

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Once upon a time, sending postcards from national parks was a way to let friends and family back home know what a great time you were having in such gorgeous settings. But is that still a time-honored tradition?

While park gift shops still have racks and racks of postcards, sending text messages and emailing shots you took with your cellphone are more immediate. But have those methods replaced your search for the perfect postcard and the time spent jotting down thoughts to those you left behind?

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park gift shops still have racks and racks of postcards, sending text messages and emailing shots you took with your cellphone are more immediate. But have those methods replaced your search for the perfect postcard and the time spent jotting down thoughts to those you left.


I used to send a lot-not so much anymore-mainly because I don't even know the mailing addresses of many of my friends or relatives anymore-contact is via email, social media or occasionall phone.


That was quite thoughtful of your mother, Stormy. Sounds like a wonderful present of memories!


yes, we love to send postcards. One Christmas my mother (who had saved up the cards from various places) gave them back to us in a lovely album. We had such fun re-reading them & remembering our trips.


murphy:
I send postcards that I print myself. I take photos and make them into postcards of the NP. I've looked at many postcards and the pictures just don't look like what I've seen in the park so I make my own. You can't really tell the difference, at least thats what I'm told.

Where do you get them printed? Do you bring some sort of color printer with you on trips? Or perhaps you're talking about sending them to a service to have printed either on the road or at home?

Personally I have a hard time getting the right conditions for a postcard perfect picture. A place like the Grand Canyon only has blue skies for a few days a year. All the photos I took had this purplish cast to the background. It can be difficult to get an ideal waterfall photo of Yosemite (the last few times I visited were in winter or late summer when the water flow was low). Some of the best postcards I've seen were aerial shots or of wildlife. I've never been in an aircraft over an NPS site that was close enough to take a decent postcard-style photo, and getting a great wildlife shot is often about persistence. Those pro photographers can spend weeks trying to get the ideal shot of a bear or elk.


Since I work in the parks, I always send postcards from the park I'm currently working at. My family loves to see where I'm currently working and it's always a big thrill for my grandmother who doesn't do anything electronically.


I send postcards that I print myself. I take photos and make them into postcards of the NP. I've looked at many postcards and the pictures just don't look like what I've seen in the park so I make my own. You can't really tell the difference, at least thats what I'm told.


The postmark can be important too. It adds to the effect. I remember sending postcards of Arches NP from Moab. I probably should have had them hand-cancelled if possible. When I saw some of them I sent to friends (and myself) I was a little bit shocked that they were postmarked with Provo, UT on them. The same thing went for postcards of Zion NP I sent from Springdale. Mail from all over Utah gets sent to a bulk mail facility in Provo for cancellation.

Yellowstone goes as far as to have a different cancellation depending on where it was mailed. I remember seeing cancellations for "Canyon Station" and "Old Faithful Station" in addition to the standard mark of Yellowstone NP, WY. If it goes through the main post office at Mammoth, it doesn't have any additional mark.

I actually got a postcard of Bryce Canyon, stamped it with a Bryce Canyon stamp (from an international air mail series), and asked the clerk at the Bryce contract post office (at Ruby's Inn) if it could be hand-cancelled without sending it; she said no problem and made the best effort to make a clean cancellation with the "Bryce, UT" cancellation stamp. I tried the same thing with a Yosemite stamp in the same series, but mailed that one instead from the Yosemite post office (the window was closed at the time so I dropped it in a mailbox).

By the way, has anyone here heard of the old trick used to get into some national parks without paying the entrance fee? I've heard that some would claim that they were going to the post office. I don't believe it works any more. I think it might also have been tried to evade the entrance fee at the 17 Mile Drive at Pebble Beach, CA.


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