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.
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.
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.
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.
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 trias.
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.
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.
In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt ditched his secret service detail to go camping in the woods of Yosemite with celebrated naturalist John Muir. Through his writings, Muir taught the importance of experiencing and protecting our natural world. That camping trip changed the face of conservation in the United States. Together, sleeping on the forest floor below the sequoias, they laid the foundation for the next century of federal land preservation.
On this episode of America's National Parks, Yosemite, John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, and a man who was along for the ride, in their own words.
On the northern shores of Minnesota lies a remote waterscape steeped in history, nature, and tradition. Named for the wild men who paddled its waterways in the Canadian fur trade, Voyageurs National Park is home to nesting bald eagles, moose, grey wolves, black bear, loons, owls, otter, and beaver.
Most of its hidden waterways are untouched, pristine boreal forest, where on a cloudless pre-dawn morning under the northern lights, you can almost hear the songs of fur traders traveling in their massive canoes.
On this episode of America's National Parks, the Voyageurs, the legendary wild and hearty men who traversed the waterways of the great north for two hundred years.
Show notes and more info on Voyageurs National Park and Grand Portage National Monument at www.nationalparkpodcast.com/voyageurs
Even before the California Gold Rush of 1849, prospectors were finding gold in Southern California. As the rewards from the mines in the Sierras began to wither, miners headed toward the deserts, where hot summers, scarce water, limited wood sources, and the difficulty and high cost of transporting equipment and provisions created a challenging mining environment. But a few hardy adventurers endured, and about 300 mines were developed in what is now Joshua Tree National Park.
Few of these mines produced much, but one certainly did — the Lost Horse Mine
Before dawn on what would become a perfect October day in Utah, I set out to attempt a solo hike. It wasn't the type of hike that would have been a big deal to an avid hiker, but for me, it was bound to be.
On this episode of America's National Parks, host Jason Epperson's ordinary journey up the side of a cliff at Zion National Park.