After a Long Journey, My New National Park Title is Available

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I’m happy whenever I release a new book, as it signifies the completion of a project. But I have to say that I’m thrilled with the release of my latest effort — Barrier-Free Travel; California National Park Road Trips for Wheelchair-Users and Slow Walkers (www.CARoadTrips.com) — as it’s been quite the journey. Continue reading

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Celebrate National Junior Ranger Day!

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The roots of the National Park Service Junior Ranger Program date back to the 1930s, when Yosemite National Park launched their Junior Naturalist Program. That program ran until 1954, during which time other national parks launched programs for young visitors. Over the years these programs evolved and a national standard for the Junior Ranger Program was created in 2005. In 2007 the National Park Service celebrated the first National Junior Ranger Day. Continue reading

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Yosemite National Park Continues Reservation System in 2022

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Yosemite Falls

Yosemite will once again require visitors to have day-use reservations to enter the park between May 20, 2022 and September 30, 2022.

Visitors who have camping or lodging reservations will not be required to have day-use reservations. Continue reading

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Yosemite Institutes Early Access Lottery for North Pines Campground

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The National Park Service recently announced that it will open up an early access lottery pilot program for North Pines Campground in Yosemite National Park. The lottery will apply to reservations from July 21 to August 14. The regular reservation period for these dates opens on March 15, 2022; however winners of the early access lottery will be able to make reservations from February 18 to March 10, prior to the general reservation period. Continue reading

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Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park Improvements Announced

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Although Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park already has many accessible trails, campgrounds and picnic areas, more access improvements and upgrades are coming to the park. Here are some of the highlights of their Accessibility Transition Plan, which was released in July 2021. Some improvements will be immediate, while others are in the long term plan; but in the end they will add up to better access for wheelchair-users and slow walkers. Continue reading

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Visiting a National Park in 2021? Take Food!

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Visiting a national park in 2021 is a completely different experience. Some national parks require reservations or entry permits, while others may have limited services. And then there are the crowds. People are being turned away from Arches National Park at 8 AM because the entrance line backs up to the highway, and when we visited Glacier National Park last week there was no parking at Logan Pass at 8 AM. Usually getting to a national park early in the morning will give you the edge, but that’s not always the case in 2021. Continue reading

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Zion National Park Implements Shuttle Ticketing System for 2021

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Shuttle tickets are no longer required in Zion National Park.

If you’re thinking about visiting Zion National Park this year, you’ll need to plan ahead, as a new shuttle ticketing system has been implemented in the park. Private vehicles are not permitted in Zion Canyon, and in normal years a free on-demand shuttle bus runs from the visitor center to trailheads and viewpoints in the canyon. Of course this is not a normal year, and due to COVID-19 shuttle capacity has been reduced in 2021, and a timed shuttle bus ticketing system has been implemented. Continue reading

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Plan a Post-COVID Death Valley Winter Getaway

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I distinctly remember a girlfriends getaway camping trip to Death Valley many, many moons ago. We were young and foolish and the only time we could all get together was near the end of May. Donna said she wanted to go to Death Valley, and with little thought to anything like the weather, the rest of us were on board. I’ll spare you the gory details but the temperatures hit 120 that fateful week. Continue reading

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Finding Wheelchair-Accessible Restrooms on Public Lands in COVID-19 Times

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Accessible trail to overlook at Donnell Vista

The general line of thought for travel in these COVID-19 times is to take a road trip and try and steer clear of crowds. In other words, stay away from theme parks and instead head to our national parks and other public outdoor spaces. So that’s exactly what we did a few weeks ago – we packed the car and hit the road to the Eastern Sierras. Continue reading

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COVID-19 Travel — Visit Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove this Summer

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The Grizzly Giant in Mariposa Grove

As a lifelong Sierra National Forest  resident, normally I wouldn’t set foot in Yosemite National Park in the summer months. There are just way too many people there for my comfort, during what I affectionately refer to as the “stupid tourist season”. But this isn’t a normal year – it’s a COVID-19 year. So with day-use passes required, and visitation capped at my favorite national park, I decided to roll the dice and pay a visit to Yosemite’s Mariposa Grove one hot August day. And here’s the skinny on how you can do the same thing for a wheelchair-accessible day trip to this secluded giant sequoia grove. Continue reading

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