What This New Englander Has Learned about Our National Parks and Nature.
Growing up in a small, rural, New Hampshire town, I was born loving the outdoors. Being raised in a log cabin situated in the middle of a forest gives you a unique perspective on nature and wildlife. My sister and I would spend our days climbing huge glacial rock formations behind our house, using the roots of trees growing on the rocks as our rope. We’d pretend we were pioneers in the winter and hike through the snow covered woods. We got tips at a young age on what to do if we crossed paths with a black bear on our walks. And thunderstorms were always a little scary because we worried a tree would fall on our house.
I saw my first black bear at the age of six, my first moose by eight (in our yard) and a fisher cat by 10. I caught my first trout by seven and learned how to spot animal markings on trees around the same time. I collected beaver teeth and chewed up logs near dams. I learned how to tap trees for sap and visited sugar shacks regularly in late winter and early spring.
School trips involved apple picking, “sugar on snow” and visits to our community garden. My parents took us on trips to the White Mountains regularly and when the Old Man on the Mountain fell, my mom and I visited the ceremony commemorating its legacy to the state.
When I was a teenager we moved from the cabin in the woods to a town 30 minutes away. A move that still tugs at my heartstrings.
Growing up in the middle of the forest taught me how powerful trees were. I’d watch them sway in the wind and listen to them crack in the night. I’d see how they were home to so many creatures and sheltered many more from harm. I loved watching the sun come over the trees in the morning and watching it leave in the evening.
You didn’t have to grow up in the woods though to appreciate our National Parks. Ranging from forests to desert conditions, our parks are as diverse as the people in our country. Celebrating 100 years today, our National Parks are more important than ever.
They allow much needed escapes from the hustle and bustle of city life, they provide wildlife sanctuaries and they help clean our atmosphere and give us clean air to breathe. Our National Parks give us adventures in hiking, kayaking, swimming, camping and learning experiences we’ll never forget.
To celebrate, all parks have free admission today but you can still enjoy them year round. Here’s a directory to find the park closest to you!
What’s your experience with our National Parks or nature? I’d to hear! Let me know in the comments!
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