July 19, 2019
Being a National Park Service Ranger is a multifaceted job, one that requires you to call on all your skills to bring a park to life. Whether it be through music, research, education, conservation, or day to day administrative work, Rangers give their all to the places they have sworn to protect, which is why every year the International Ranger Foundation sets aside July 31st as World Ranger Day. If you’ve listened to past episodes, you know our “Rangers Make the Difference” series began in part to celebrate World Ranger Day and to highlight National Park Service rangers who have gone above and beyond. Today’s episode, while unique in its focus, is no different.
On this episode of America’s National Parks, the role that the art of music has played in helping our rangers bring the parks to life.
July 12, 2019
For more than 100 years, no national memorial had been contemplated for any president except George Washington, yet talk of building one to honor the monumental legacy left by Abraham Lincoln began even as he lingered on his deathbed. There was an obvious appropriateness to the concept that Lincoln, the preserver of the Union, should join Washington, the founder of that Union, in being honored on the National Mall.
On this episode of America’s National Parks, the Lincoln Memorial, part of the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington D.C.
July 6, 2019
50 years ago, in 1969, NASA sent astronauts to a remote location in southern Idaho. Their goal? To learn basic geology and study the local, relatively recent volcanic features located there in preparation for potential missions to the moon. On this episode, Craters of the Moon National Monument.
June 29, 2019
Rising high above the prairies west of the Blackhills stands a tower of astounding geological feature. Considered sacred by indigenous people, it's an impressive and striking monument against the flatlands of Northeastern Wyoming. Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest climbing areas in North America, and for decades this remarkable wonder has drawn daredevils and thrill seekers alike, all hoping to stand atop the tower's flat summit.
One person, though, took a very different approach, one that hasn't been attempted since.
On this episode of America's National Parks Podcast, the man who spent six days trapped atop Devils Tower National Monument and the attempt to bring hm back to Earth.
June 23, 2019
The Emancipation Proclamation has been called one of the two most important American contributions to the world by Martin Luther King, Jr., yet was said to possess "all the moral grandeur of a bill of lading" by historian Richard Hofstadter. Its force and form have been the subject of countless books and papers. Was it a meaningless document? Or did it drastically change America? On this episode, a lecture from ranger Dan Vermilya at Gettysburg National Historical Park breaks through the soundbites to shed light on the real significance of this important piece of history.
June 14, 2019
Nestled at the top of Wisconsin sits a cluster of islands on Lake Superior that is home to what some call the finest collection of lighthouses in the country. Guiding the way for ships on Lake Superior, Nine light stations were tended by keepers. Those that chose to face the winter on their island homes faced unimaginable trials.
One woman faced one such trial when her husband left to go fishing and didn't return for days. On this episode of America's National Parks, the Apostle Islands National Seashore.
June 10, 2019
The first covered wagons would carve a trail towards Oregon Country in 1836. Among them was a missionary party headed by Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. Narcissa kept a journal at the suggestion of her mother, whom she would never see again. In it, she writes to her family of life on the trail, of the oppressive heat, the difficult terrain, the joys, and her faith. On this episode of the America's National Parks Podcast, the Whitman National Historic Site and our slightly edited version of the August 1836 journal entries from a woman who would hold many "firsts" as she made her way on foot towards the Pacific Northwest.
May 30, 2019
During the Cold War, a vast arsenal of nuclear missiles was placed across the Great Plains. Hidden in plain sight, for thirty years 1,000 missiles were kept on constant alert; hundreds remain today. The Minuteman Missile remains an iconic weapon in the American nuclear arsenal. It holds the power to destroy civilization, but is meant as a nuclear deterrent to maintain peace and prevent war. Today on America's National Parks, the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site near Wall, South Dakota.
May 24, 2019
Nestled among some of the most rugged mountains in the southeastern United States is an isolated valley that was home to 1200 people in 1910, who made their living first at farming, and then, as tourism developed, by welcoming weary travelers to the Smoky Mountains. On today’s episode - the Cataloochee Valley in Great Smoky Mountains National Park as told through the people who lived there. The audio for today’s episode is from the short film Cataloochee - The Center of the World, which you can watch on our show notes page at nationalparkpodcast.com.
May 17, 2019
Barbecued meat has played a surprisingly important role in United States presidential politics over the years. George Washington was a Virginia-style barbecue enthusiast. Recently, archaeologists discovered a barbecue pit on the south lawn of Montpelier that was in use during Madison’s lifetime. After the civil war, and before television, when many Americans weren't guaranteed three solid meals a day, a free barbecue dinner was a compelling incentive to listen to a politician pitch for votes. But one President made barbecue an art form. On today's episode, the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park.