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“Traditionally, it was believed that the Saguaro [cactus] was a human being.” - Tina Andrew on the Saguaro’s cultural significance to the Tohono O’odham Nation

Join Danielle and Park Ranger Tina Andrew on a journey into the native ancestry of Saguaro National Park. Tina Andrew is a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation, hosts the podcast “Cultivating Indigenous Voices,”  and serves as an ancestral park ranger who works to connect youth and the community to the native roots of Saguaro National Park.

As both a member of the Tohono O’odham Nation, a tribe native to the lands of Saguaro National Park, and as a park ranger serving for over five years, Tina Andrew offers a complex and unique perspective on the significance of the Saguaro National Park to different communities of people. She brings a deeply personal perspective into the cultural and ancestral significance of Saguaro alongside a keen awareness of the importance of exploration by both native and non-native people, especially youth.

As we walk down this winding ancestral path, we discuss the beautiful blooms during the months of May through July, important traditions of the Tohono O’odham Nation, such as the Saguaro Fruit Harvest, and how Tina uses her unique position as both a tribe member and ancestral park ranger to help native youth connect with their ancestry.

Listen closely as Tina shares how natives interacted with the land, discovered food in the rugged territory, and crafted medicine from Saguaro’s plant life. Learn how natives maintain some of these traditions, and how Tina works to engage younger generations with their ancestral traditions.

In this episode, she shares her personal connection to the park’s’ great tribal history and her work to implement programs to keep the native culture thriving in Saguaro’s rich, shared spaces.

Join us as we revel in Saguaro National Park’s vast impact on many communities of people, then and now.

Our Discussion Journey:

  • Tina discusses her role as an ancestral park ranger in Saguaro National Park (3:24)

  • Tina shares how working as an ancestral park ranger in Saguaro National Park allows her to connect with youth and members of the Tohono O’odham Nation, whose ancestral lands are contained within the boundaries of the park. (5:23)

  • Tina shares how connecting native youth to their Tohono O’odham Nation ancestry cultivates a sense of shared pride within Saguaro National Park. (6:24)

  • Tohono O’odham Nation and the cultural significance of the Saguaro cactus. (8:36)

  • The Saguaro Fruit Harvest and its cultural importance to the native Tohono O’odham Nation. (9:42)

  • Tina discusses the historical context of the Fruit Harvest in  Western region of Saguaro National Park. (11:04)

  • The Tohono O’odham Nation’s word-of-mouth Saguaro Fruit Harvest demonstrations and how they spark joy for natives and non-natives! (12:18)

  • Tina shares cultural legends, stories, and the significance of the harvest season to natives. (15:13)

  • How partnering with schools and youth is important to help carry on native traditions and culturally-rich histories of Saguaro National Park. (17:26)

  • Tina discusses various traditionally edible and medicinal plants in Saguaro and whether they are still used today. (18:03)

  • How is the land used for traditional entertainment in Saguaro? (20:21)

  • How the natives of Tohono O’odham Nation sing for the mountains of the park. ( 22:26)

  • The traditional story of how a coyote and buzzard spread the saguaro cacti all over the park. (23:21)

  • What is one thing that Tina, as a native of the land, wants visitors and non-natives to understand about Saguaro and the native people to that space? (25:19)

  • Tina shares why the Saguaro National Park is still so special to her and how she hopes that connecting the youth, both native and non-native, to the environment and the land of Saguaro might make a lasting impact for the future of science and natural spaces. (29:02)

  • Tina shares a bit about her podcast, “Cultivating Indigenous Voices.”

As you travel to explore these natural beauties, be sure to remember some tips from seasoned travelers and park professionals.

Tips for your Travels:

  • Pair the following tips with the sample itineraries from our recent family adventure to make the most of your Saguaro National Park visit:

  • Always check the weather!

    • Come during the summer for the biodiversity, but be wary of the heat!

  • Allow for extended time to complete more challenging “elevation” hikes in Saguaro.

  • Carry more water than you think you need!

  • If traveling in the summer, map your hikes so you finish early - before 9am! - and save trips to visitors centers for midday when the temperatures climb

  • Winter is an amazing time for backcountry camping

  • November through April are the busiest months and parking is limited so consider coming later in the day and plan sunset hikes

  • Leave your pets at home as encounters with wildlife can be deadly

  • Loop drives offer great views with pull-offs for picnicking and trails for quick hikes

  • The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a short drive from the park and features historic collections, live plants, and desert animals such as the javelina in a zoo-like setting

Resources from the Show:


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Everybody's National Parks by Danielle Jacobs-erwin And Bryan Erw.. - 3w ago

Description:

Join Bryan and Park Ranger Jeff Walner on an adventure into the wild history and culture within Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona. As the only full-time, year-round ranger in Saguaro National Park, Jeff shares his insight into the origins of Saguaro National Park, its history, and its inextricable and enduring connection to American culture, Hollywood, and the world.

 

Discussion includes the following:

  • Ranger Jeff Walner shares his background with Saguaro National Park (3:21)

  • Jeff describes how immigrants led to the unique western ranching culture and history of Saguaro National Park. (4:46)

  • Jeff describes the rise of traditional “cowboy” within Saguaro National Park (6:10)

  • Jeff explains the impact of the arrival of the railroad in Tucson, Arizona (8:03)

  • How did the mix of Mexican, Native American, and American culture influence cowboy culture in Arizona? (9:01)

  • We learn what exactly the cattle were grazing out in the desert (11:04)

  • How did the homesteaders using the lands of the Saguaro National Park live, build, and survive? (13:42)

  • The origins of how homesteader generosity eventually gave us the gift of Saguaro National Park (16:15)

  • Is there any truth to Hollywood’s depiction of John Wayne’s iconic feats using the Saguaro and barrel cacti?

  • How does Hollywood and pop culture fit within the Sonoran desert and Saguaro National Park? (21:56)

  • How Hollywood, Peanuts, and pop culture helped make the Saguaro cactus iconic throughout the world (22:26)

  • How people view the symbol of the Saguaro differently. (24:12)

  • Why is Saguaro National Park significant to American and Native American culture? (25:23)

  • Jeff’s favorite story from Saguaro National Park. (27:35)


Tips for your Travels:

  • Pair the following tips with the sample itineraries from our recent family adventure to make the most of your Saguaro National Park visit:

  • Always check the weather!

    • If you come during the summer for the biodiversity, be wary of the heat!

  • Allow for extended time to complete more challenging “elevation” hikes in Saguaro.

  • Carry more water than you think you need!

  • If traveling in the summer, map your hikes so you finish early - before 9am! - and save trips to visitors centers for midday when the temperatures climb

  • Winter is an amazing time for backcountry camping

  • November through April are the busiest months and parking is limited so consider coming later in the day and plan sunset hikes

  • Leave your pets at home as encounters with wildlife can be deadly

  • Loop drives offer great views with pull-offs for picnicking and trails for quick hikes

  • The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a short drive from the park and features historic collections, live plants, and desert animals such as the javelina in a zoo-like setting



Resources:

    • Visit Saguaro National Park for more information.

    • Review the park’s safety guidelines especially when visiting in hotter months.

    • For the life of the workers on large area ranches, read Patricia Preciado Martin's oral history books: Beloved Land and Images and Conversations. The latter has reminiscences of Frank Escalante, well-known as a cowboy/vaquero in the Rincon valley and mountains.

    • The Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, adjacent to Saguaro East, has a history that is unpublished. You may see their website for a highly rated "dude ranch" that still hires "cowboys" and is a park concessionaire.

    • Become a Patron to continue our great journey through these beautiful parks.

    • Make sure to listen to the previous episode on Saguaro National Park for more great information.

    • Explore more adventures through beautiful parks.

    • Contact us to tell us about your family adventures or ask a question.

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Description

Don Swann, a biologist who has worked at Saguaro National Park for over twenty years, joins Danielle to discuss the evolution of the biodiversity within Saguaro National Park. They discuss how the environment and biodiversity has changed within the national park overtime and how he both teaches and engages the community to investigate change with him as citizen scientists.

Discussion includes the following:

  • Don Swann discusses his biology background and his experience with Saguaro (3:05)
  • How visitors, primarily in Tucson, can become “citizen scientists” to help research in Saguaro National Park (3:45) 
  • How do citizen scientists help with biodiversity research of the signature Saguaro cacti? (4:11) 
  • What types of changes have occurred in the Saguaro National Park over time?  (5:20) 
    • How the loss of trees have impacted the Saguaro signature cacti (6:00) 
  • Interesting facts about the saguaro cacti (6:50) 
  • The legacy of National Parks and why it is important to visit (8:20) 
  • The impact of climate change on Saguaro (9:28) 
    • What adaptations do species have to survive in a desert climate (11:20) 
    • How environmental conditions led to a beautiful wildflower superbloom in Saguaro (12:00)  
  • Don’s favorite hikes, including child-friendly hikes (14:58) 
    • Recommendations for hikes with older children (18:28) 
  • The most fascinating aspects of the saguaro cactus (19:10) 
  • Don’s favorite plant and/or animal (besides the cactus) (21:23) 
  • Other rare and/or endangered species in Saguaro (23:00) 
  • The best time and season to visit the park  (25:20) 
  • Don’s favorite Saguaro National Park experiences (27:30) 

Tips for your Travels:

  • Pair the following tips with the sample itineraries from our recent family adventureto make the most of your Saguaro National Park visit:
  • Always check the weather!
    • Come during the summer for the biodiversity, but be wary of the heat!
  • Allow for extended time to complete more challenging “elevation” hikes in Saguaro. 
  • Carry more water than you think you need!
  • If traveling in the summer, map your hikes so you finish early - before 9am! - and save trips to visitors centers for midday when the temperatures climb
  • Winter is an amazing time for backcountry camping
  • November through April are the busiest months and parking is limited so consider coming later in the day and plan sunset hikes
  • Leave your pets at home as encounters with wildlife can be deadly
  • Loop drives offer great views with pull-offs for picnicking and trails for quick hikes
  • TheArizona-Sonora Desert Museumis a short drive from the park and features historic collections, live plants, and desert animals such as the javelina in a zoo-like setting

Resources from the Show:

Actions:

Subscribe to our podcast wherever podcasts are available or from our website https://www.everybodysnationalparks.com/

We also want to hear about your adventures. Email us at Hello@everybodysnps.com. You may write us a message or even record a short voice memo on your phone and then attach it to the email. You may also send comments at https://www.everybodysnationalparks.com/contact. You may be featured on an upcoming episode.

 

Tell your friends about Everybody’s National Parks.

Support us on Patreon

 

Follow us on TwitterInstagram and Facebook

 

Tag us from the parks you are visiting at #everybodysnationalparks

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Description

Don Swann, a biologist who has worked at Saguaro National Park for over twenty years, joins Danielle to discuss the evolution of the biodiversity within Saguaro National Park. They discuss how the environment and biodiversity has changed within the national park overtime and how he both teaches and engages the community to investigate change with him as citizen scientists.

Discussion includes the following:

  • Don Swann discusses his biology background and his experience with Saguaro (3:05)
  • How visitors, primarily in Tucson, can become “citizen scientists” to help research in Saguaro National Park (3:45) 
  • How do citizen scientists help with biodiversity research of the signature Saguaro cacti? (4:11) 
  • What types of changes have occurred in the Saguaro National Park over time?  (5:20) 
    • How the loss of trees have impacted the Saguaro signature cacti (6:00) 
  • Interesting facts about the saguaro cacti (6:50) 
  • The legacy of National Parks and why it is important to visit (8:20) 
  • The impact of climate change on Saguaro (9:28) 
    • What adaptations do species have to survive in a desert climate (11:20) 
    • How environmental conditions led to a beautiful wildflower superbloom in Saguaro (12:00)  
  • Don’s favorite hikes, including child-friendly hikes (14:58) 
    • Recommendations for hikes with older children (18:28) 
  • The most fascinating aspects of the saguaro cactus (19:10) 
  • Don’s favorite plant and/or animal (besides the cactus) (21:23) 
  • Other rare and/or endangered species in Saguaro (23:00) 
  • The best time and season to visit the park  (25:20) 
  • Don’s favorite Saguaro National Park experiences (27:30) 

Tips for your Travels:

  • Pair the following tips with the sample itineraries from our recent family adventureto make the most of your Saguaro National Park visit:
  • Always check the weather!
    • Come during the summer for the biodiversity, but be wary of the heat!
  • Allow for extended time to complete more challenging “elevation” hikes in Saguaro. 
  • Carry more water than you think you need!
  • If traveling in the summer, map your hikes so you finish early - before 9am! - and save trips to visitors centers for midday when the temperatures climb
  • Winter is an amazing time for backcountry camping
  • November through April are the busiest months and parking is limited so consider coming later in the day and plan sunset hikes
  • Leave your pets at home as encounters with wildlife can be deadly
  • Loop drives offer great views with pull-offs for picnicking and trails for quick hikes
  • TheArizona-Sonora Desert Museumis a short drive from the park and features historic collections, live plants, and desert animals such as the javelina in a zoo-like setting

Resources from the Show:

Actions:

Subscribe to our podcast wherever podcasts are available or from our website https://www.everybodysnationalparks.com/

We also want to hear about your adventures. Email us at Hello@everybodysnps.com. You may write us a message or even record a short voice memo on your phone and then attach it to the email. You may also send comments at https://www.everybodysnationalparks.com/contact. You may be featured on an upcoming episode.

 

Tell your friends about Everybody’s National Parks.

Support us on Patreon

 

Follow us on TwitterInstagram and Facebook

 

Tag us from the parks you are visiting at #everybodysnationalparks

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Description:

Bryan and Danielle speak with Liz Etnier, who became passionate about hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains at age 58. With 800 miles of trails, she set out a goal to hike every trail in the park before her 60thbirthday. Her book, the Day Hiker’s Guide to all the Trails in the Smoky Mountains,has resulted from her hours of planning, and from the subsequent urging by her hiking friends to write it all down. 

Discussion includes the following:

How did Liz set this goal? (2:47)

Description of Trails (5:09)

Favorite hike (8:54)

Hikes with children (13:38)

White Oak Sink (14:27)

Loving the parks to death (16:34)

Meeting our Junior Rangers (21:02)

Tips for front country hiking with families (22:43)

What is special about the Smokies for Liz (25:42)

Family friendly hikes (27:53)

  • Finley Cane Trail
  • Schoolhouse Gap
  • Middle Prong
  • Camp bottoms
  • Laurel Falls
  • Porters Creek

Wildflower hikes (30:45)

Favorite story of mountain magic (32:10)

Resources:

Day Hiker’s Guide to all the Trails in the Smoky Mountains

 

Actions

Subscribe to our podcast from our website https://www.everybodysnationalparks.com/

Tell your friends about Everybody’s National Parks

Support us on Patreon, click on "Support Our Show" on our homepage.

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Please tag us from the parks you are visiting at #everybodysnationalparks

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Description:

Bryan first discusses the biodiversity of Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Paul Super, the Research Coordinator of the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center (1:03). Then Bryan speaks with Kris Johnson of the National Park Service about the health of the forest (28:04).

Discussion includes the following:

· About the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center (1:22)

· Species Mapper (2:30)

· Ecosystem and different habitats (4:39)

· Impact of humans on the park (7:16)

· Wildlife (11:44)

· Birds (18:03)

· Wildflowers (19:58)

· Discovering new species (22:22)

· Paul’s favorite spots in the park (24:41)

· Threats to the forest (28:47)

· Cross-section of eastern United States forests in one park (32:16)

· How to manage forest health in remote areas (33:46)

· Progress and success in identifying infected trees and combatting disease and pests (36:36)

· What visitors may do to not add to problem and be part of the solution (39:31)

· Grassy balds and heath balds (43:34)

· Wildfires and prescribed fires (47:48)

· Kris’ favorite part of the park (51:28)

Resources:

Great Smoky Mountains institute at Tremont

Species mapper

Nature and Science Education in the Park

Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center

Citizen science at Great Smoky mountains institute at Tremont

Spring Wildflower pilgrimage

A Wondrous Diversity of Life

Great Smoky Mountains: Forests

 

Actions:

Subscribe to our podcast from our website https://www.everybodysnationalparks.com/

Tell your friends about Everybody’s National Parks

Support us on Patreon

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

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Description:

This is episode 6.3, the third episode in our series on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Bryan talks to Andrew and Bryan Lin of Adventure Archives, a family-friendly film series on YouTube with beautiful cinematography, original music and thoughtful narration about four friends going on backpacking adventures exploring nature in the US and around the world.

 

Discussion includes the following:

What is Adventure Archives (1:51)

Identifying flora skills (6:35)

Backpacking in national parks versus national forests, state or county parks (10:32)

Orienteering (12:48)

Orienteering REI class (13:30)

Adventure Archives film in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (14:14)

Tips for slimming down backpacks (19:56)

Necessities to pack (24:08)

Bushcraft skills (25:04)

Upcoming trips for Adventure Archives (28:07)

National Parks wish list (29:38)

 

Resources:

Subscribe to Adventure Archives YouTube Channel

Adventure Archives: Great Smoky Mountains Documentary

Follow Adventure Archives on Facebook

REI Learning: Find Classes, Outings & Events by Activity

ENP 3.1 Zion Trip Report

 

Actions:

Subscribe to our podcast from our website https://www.everybodysnationalparks.com

Support us on Patreon

Follow us on TwitterInstagram and Facebook

Please tag us from the parks you are visiting at #everybodysnationalparks

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Description:

This is episode number 6.1, the first episode in our series on Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Bryan and Danielle reminisce about their first camping trip there in the spring of 2017. Support our show on Patreon. For show notes or to become a Patron, go to everybodysnationalparks.com.

Discussion includes the following:

· Brief description of our trip (3:40)

· Cades Cove: Campground, Loop, Visitors Center (4:28)

· White Oak Sink Trail to see wildflowers (12:53)

· Laurel Falls Trail (19:16)

· Cosby Campground (24:15)

· First daughter share story of her bike riding accident (25:25)

· Cataloochee (30:15)

· 2nd daughter shares biking incident and hiking the Boogerman trail in Cataloochee (31:43)

· Appalachian Trail at Davenport Gap (35:34)

· Porters Creek Trail Near Greenbrier Cove (36:44)

· Rainbow Falls (38:30)

· Junior Ranger Day at Sugarlands Visitor Center (40:26)

· Gatlinburg (43:35)

Resources:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cades Cove - NPS

Cades Cove

Park Limits Access in Whiteoak Sink Area to Protect Declining Bat Populations (3/28/17)

Whiteoak Sink

Laurel Falls

Cosby Campground

Great Smoky Mounains: Off the Beaten Path

Cataloochee

Boogerman Trail

Great Smoky Mountains: Kid Friendly Hikes

Porters Creek Trail

Rainbow Falls

Great Smoky Mountains: Visitor Centers

 

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Description:

In today’s episode 5.4 Danielle speaks with Jeff Miller, fisheries biologist for the National Park Service about the coral reef and snorkeling around Virgin Island’s National Park following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Even though the island has changed due to the storms, the water is still blue and there are beautiful things to see.

Discussion:

· Jeff’s experience waiting out the hurricanes at home on St. John (2:08)

· Jeff describes what he does as a fisheries biologist for the National Park Service (6:13)

· What happened to the coral as a result of the hurricanes (8:07)

· Change in seascape from storms and time to recover (13:58)

· Where to snorkel and dive (19:26)

· Tips and precautions (21:16)

· Snorkeling with small children (24:04)

· Changes in water visibility (25:24)

· What to see and marine identification guides (26:50)

· What is coral (29:06)

· Different types of coral in the park (30:04)

· What to see (30:38)

· Be aware of your surroundings and nothing will hurt you (34:25)

· How deep is coral found in Virgin Islands National Park? (34:15)

· What gives coral its color? (36:05)

· Hurricane Hole (37:03)

· Preparations for snorkeling to minimize damage to coral and guidance on how to protect the coral when snorkeling (38:57)

· Sunscreens with oxybenzone are harmful to coral (42:30)

· National park protection minimizes harm to coral reef from preventable threats (43:32)

· Jeff’s best memories and love for water around the park (46:00)

Resources:

Virgin Islands National Park Marine Map

Hawaii considers banning certain sunscreens to protect coral reefs

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Everybody's National Parks by Danielle Jacobs-erwin And Bryan Erw.. - 1M ago

Description:

Danielle chats with Saguaro National Park’s Community Engagement Coordinator Cam Juarez about the desert’s spectacular beauty and what he’s doing to ensure that Saguaro’s worldwide popularity has strong roots in the multicultural communities that surround it.

You’d expect everyone in Tucson - a city sandwiched between Saguaro’s east and west districts - to be well acquainted with every inch of the park’s 91,000 acres. But Cam had never set foot in the park before becoming a ranger. Neither had many of his fellow Tucsonians. Since joining Saguaro four years ago, however, he’s extended park awareness by creating relevant and diverse programs that better reflect the region’s population.

Inclusivity is another aspect of Cam’s mission to bridge the gap between the park and the people who live in its midst. To that end, Saguaro recently held a ceremony to posthumously award a civilian arrowhead to a member of the Tohono O'odham Nation. “We’re happy to be in partnership with them,” he says, “because it’s that close connection to First Nation peoples, but also to honor traditions that are millennia old.”

The park’s diversity isn’t limited to humans. “We’re probably one of the most biodiverse deserts in the world,” says Cam. From dense stands of Saguaro cactus to Ponderosa pine forests to wildflower super blooms, there’s a broad range of flora to explore. The same is true of the birds, mammals, and reptiles that call the park home.

“Sometimes we’ll take it for granted,” Cam says of Saguaro’s painted skies and verdant desert floor. But the more the local community interacts with the park he says, “It becomes something you want to protect.”

Pair the following tips from Cam with the sample itineraries from our recent family adventure to make the most of your Saguaro National Park visit:

  • Always check the weather!

  • Carry more water than you think you need!

  • If traveling in the summer, map your hikes so you finish early - before 9am! - and save trips to visitors centers for midday when the temperatures climb

  • Winter is an amazing time for backcountry camping

  • November through April are the busiest months and parking is limited so consider coming later in the day and plan sunset hikes

  • Leave your pets at home as encounters with wildlife can be deadly

  • Loop drives offer great views with pull-offs for picnicking and trails for quick hikes

  • The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a short drive from the park and features historic collections, live plants, and desert animals such as the javelina in a zoo-like setting


Danielle and Cam discuss the following:

  • What is a Community Engagement Coordinator and why is Cam’s position important to the future of Saguaro National Park? [3:11]

  • East vs West: What’s a rincon anyway? [7:02]

  • Saguaro’s sky island ecosystem: what it is and how rangers protect it [7:37]

  • The desert’s amazing biodiversity [9:15]

  • Black bears, elf owls, and the occasional monster [10:38]

  • Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum [13:18]

  • Amazing facts about the park’s signature saguaro cacti [17:17]

  • How desert creatures and humans use the saguaro while it’s alive and after it has died [20:04]

  • Saguaro “boots” [21:40]

  • Birds, bats, and bees help pollinate the cactus [23:15]

  • Ceremonial uses of the saguaro fruit by the Tohono O'odham peoples [23:55]

  • Cam’s tips for taking in all that the park has to offer [29:28]

  • How much water should you take with you? It’s more than you think [32:30]
  • Cam shares his favorite park memories and invites everyone out to the desert before climate change has irreversible effects on Saguaro [35.15]

 

Actions:

Subscribe to our podcast wherever podcasts are available or from our website https://www.everybodysnationalparks.com/

We also want to hear about your adventures. Email us at Hello@everybodysnps.com. You may write us a message or even record a short voice memo on your phone and then attach it to the email. You may also send comments at https://www.everybodysnationalparks.com/contact. You may be featured on an upcoming episode.

 

Tell your friends about Everybody’s National Parks.

Support us on Patreon

Follow us on TwitterInstagram and Facebook

 

Tag us from the parks you are visiting at #everybodysnationalparks

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