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Reader Participation Day: Are You Heading To A New Park This Year? Which One, And Why?

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Is anyone planning to head to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore this year for the very first time? Photo of Miner's Castle at Pictured Rocks by Craig Rademacher.

Many of us go to the same national park, or parks, year after year after year. Do you fall into that category, or are you someone who looks to a new park every year, or every few years? If you're planning to visit a park for the first time this year, which one, and why?

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While I've been to all the Utah parks growing up, we only just drove through on our way to somewhere else. So this year and for the next few years we will be visiting each of the Southern Utah parks. This year we are taking our family (kids 4 and 7) to Bryce Canyon to explore for a week. I'm already so excited and so are the kids. So nice to have so much within a days drive from our home.


Congaree (hope there's decent paddling in mid-April)
Shenandoah
Great Basin
Lassen Volcanic (hope there's only a little snow in early July)
Crater Lake (thanks for the recent article)
Redwood


Your timing couldn't be much better, Janet, as Saguaro's vegetation should be in full bloom. You can find a shot from last April at this page.


I am heading to Southern Arizona in late April to see some Saguaro cactus at Saguaro National Park! I've always wanted to see them and now I'm getting the chance. I plan to try to see Organ Pipe Cactus NM and a few other sites in that area.


I'm planning a spring visit to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Since moving to the Four Corners, I've explored a lot of the Ancestral Puebloan and southwest parks. Now I'm looking forward to some shifting sands, as opposed to all this sandstone. I enjoy learning about the cultural aspects of southwest parks, but I need to feed my constant interest in natural history, a pattern instilled in me back when I was a high-schooler attending week-long Yosemite Institute field seminars.


We're taking a spring break trip to the Everglades and looking forward to warmer weather! We're driving and hope to have time to visit other NPS sites along the way.


Lawrence J. Caldwell:
The past three years my family and I did three major grand west NP tours:

2008 - Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton
2009 - Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion

We managed to do five of those (Rocky Mountain wasn't in the plan) in three plus weeks, which also included Arches and Canyonlands, as well as brief passages through Death Valley (it was insanely hot) and Yosemite on the way home.

Lawrence J. Caldwell:
2010 - Yosemite, Muir Woods, Golden Gate

Interesting group. If I were to make a recommendation for someone looking to work around a Yosemite trip, it would be Sequoia and Kings Canyon. However - there are sequoia groves in Yosemite, although SEKI is great because the groves are generally bigger and the crowds are smaller. Still - I understand the draw of coming to the San Francisco Bay Area.


The past three years my family and I did three major grand west NP tours:

2008 - Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton
2009 - Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion
2010 - Yosemite, Muir Woods, Golden Gate

This year we are going closer to home. Even though gas prices are through the roof, it's still cheaper to drive than to fly out west again. So we'll do Great Smoky Mountain. Washington, D. C. we do every year so that will probably happen again in April, hopefully to catch the cherry blossoms again. We also plan to do a bunch of Civil War battlefields as part of the 150th Anniversary. Gettysburg and Antietam are on the roster. Of all the above, the only first-time spot for us will be Antietam.


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