America’s “Best Idea”

big_21712e44_usa-tours-national-parks-homepage-2These days it seems that we are bombarded by reports of what America is doing wrong. It is discouraging and exhausting. Well, the good news is…it’s February and that means that Spring Break is just around the corner! Have you made a plan yet? If not, you may want to get away from the news for a while and discover, or rediscover, just how great and beautiful and vast is this country of ours.


Grand Canyon National Park

In 2016, the National Park Service celebrated its 100th birthday. After years of groups and individuals working for the preservation of our natural wonders, including the 1906 Antiquities Act signed by President Theodore Roosevelt which allowed presidents to protect national monuments, President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act” and The National Park Service was born. It has grown to include not only national parks such as Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Great Smoky Mountain, but also national heritage areas, forests, waterways and seashores, urban trails, and historic battlegrounds.


“Are we there yet?”


Big Bend National Park

If you do not have the time, energy, or resources to venture far afield, there are 16 national park sites in Texas and even more historic sites managed by the National Park Service: there are fossilized mammoths in Waco! You can go further and still be in Texas (I love Texas) and hike to the “top of Texas” or glory in the vast array of Texas wildflowers in beautiful Big Bend.


America’s national parks have something for everyone.

Visit and “Experience Your America.” (NPS)

Understand the words of historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Wallace Stegner:

“National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.”

All information taken from

National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, United States Government, 2017,

–Contributed by Robin Studdard, Librarian, Bowie and Graham Campuses

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