If you’re looking for some ideas and inspiration for 2014, here are my 10 favorite family adventures at The Big Outside (another list that will keep growing and evolving), as well as a bonus 11th trip that made this list last year but saw its spot usurped this year.
Yosemite National Park
The path-breaking beginning of America’s national parks in Yosemite is the subject of these two anniversary-related books. For Dayton Duncan, in Seed of the Future, the Yosemite Grant remains the story of a national triumph. For Jen Huntley, in The Making of Yosemite, the act of June 30, 1864, bears irrefutable evidence of a national theft.
What can we do to show Congress that national parks are important? Writing to your legislators is important, but not the only way to raise the visibility of our parks to Washington.
Among the functions performed by the National Park Service, few can top "fire management" in terms of costs, public safety, and impacts on both park and adjacent property and activities. That said, you may wish to take advantage of the opportunity to review and comment on the agency's new Wildland Fire Strategic Plan: 2014-2019.
Outdoors, in the majesty of the national parks, masterpieces are created by artists drawn to nature's beauty.
Winter is on its way, and has already arrived in some parts of the country, but vestiges of fall remain elsewhere. Take a few minutes to enjoy the fleeting colors of fall in Yosemite National Park via this video produced by Steven Bumgardner as part of his Yosemite Nature Notes series made possible by the Yosemite Conservancy.
What will climate change bring to the national park landscapes, places like Everglades National Park or Kenai Fjords National Park or Sequoia National Park? That is one of the questions now being asked to help park interpreters better explain climate change to visitors.
Visit Mesa Verde National Park in December and you can experience cliff dwellings by the soft glow of luminarias. Head to Yosemite National Park later in the month and you can feast at The Ahwahnee. But what other winter events are there that interest you?
Pine cones the size of bread loaves. Trees that climb 20 stories into the sky. These are some of the wonders of the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias at Yosemite National Park.
With the 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant that set aside the Yosemite Valley for preservation within reach, Yosemite National Park officials are working with gateway communities to celebrate the anniversary and the season.