National Park Week: How to bask in nature’s glory from home
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This coming week is a big one for Mother Earth.
For one, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is coming up on April 22. This milestone also happens to coincide with National Park Week, which runs April 18 – 26. While this year’s celebrations will look a bit different with many parks and campgrounds closed and social distancing rules in places, the celebrations aren’t completely called off — they’re just more digitally focused.
So while you may not be able to pay a visit to your favorite park in person just yet, here’s a round up of a few other ways you can celebrate from home.
Visit a park virtually
There are a few virtual tour options when it comes to the National Parks.
For an interactive learning experience, take a Park Ranger led tour through Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. This tour is hosted by country singer, Dierks Bently. The cool part about this experience is that you can actually get a 360-degree view of the park thanks to the use of a 360 camera.
If you just want to sit back and admire a National Park site, tune into one of the many live webcams. For instance, you can check out the cherry blossoms on the National Mall’s bloom cam, watch Old Faithful erupt at Yellowstone or see what’s happening under the sea on the Channel Islands’ live cam.
Plan for a future trip
Just because travel is on a temporary hold doesn’t mean that you can’t dream and plan for a future trip. If you’re thinking of exploring a national park once this is all over but can’t decide which one take this quiz to get park recommendations based off your preferences and location.
Related: 5 epic road trips across America
If you’re planning a road trip with the family, be sure to read our guide to family-friendly national parks. And if you want to check more than one off your list this year, you’ll definitely want to consider the annual park pass.
Share your favorite National Park memory
The NPS is encouraging visitors to share their favorite national park memories, experiences and goals on social media using one of these hashtags: #NationalParkWeek, #FindYourVirtualPark, and #FindYourPark.
After all, we could all use some outdoor inspiration on lighten our timelines.
Donate to the National Park Service
There are a few different ways you can help the National Park Service. The most obvious is donating directly to the National Park Foundation, where donations will go toward protecting and up keep of the parks. This can be done as a one-time donation or you can opt to do it monthly. Regardless of which option you choose, Nature Valley will match donations until April 30, up to $250,000.
To learn about more ways you can help, check out the NPS donations page.
Celebrate Earth Day
Be sure to carve some time to spend outside and get some fresh air on Wednesday, April 22 in celebration of Earth Day. The holiday is meant “for everyone to discover and enjoy the physical and psychological benefits that come with spending time outdoors,” according to the NPS. And I think it’s safe to say that we all have a much greater appreciation for the outdoors after spending so much time indoors.
If you are able to visit a national park, be aware that staffing is limited so practice being a steward and follow the NPS principle of “Leave No Trace.”
Create your own outdoor experience
For some this may mean creating a living room fort and for others heading out to the backyard for a bonfire with the family — or even backyard camping. Either way, this can be a fun activity to do, especially for families.
Featured photo by Matt Dirksen/Getty Images
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