Natchez Trace Parkway
Junior Ranger – Senior Friendly
Completed: July 14, 2014
The Natchez Trace Parkway preserves the natural and cultural resources of a 444 mile stretch of road between Nashville, TN and Natchez, MS. It interprets transportation through the area by early Native Americans and American pioneers in the mid1800s who used the Trace.
Along the 400 mile route there are several visitor centers to pick up the booklet for this program. This is considered Senior Friendly as the upper age group is listed at ages 13 and up. The other age groups are ages 6 and up and ages 10 and up. The booklet uses the NPS arrowhead symbol for each age group. The oldest group is designated by three arrowheads, those are the pages the oldest group is to complete. All ages are to ask a ranger about their job, hike one section of the Old Trace, visit one mound or the Meriweather Lewis Monument and write a letter to the superintendent (within the booklet).
Booklet & badge
There were nine different activities with the three arrowheads; Create your Alpha Code, History of the Natchez Trace, How Long is the Natchez Trace Parkway, Reading the Parkway Map, Unbroken Codes, Word Puzzle of the Natchez Trace Parkway, Talking with Flags, Natchez Trace Mileage Log, and Mt. Locust Scavenger Hunt (if you visit Mt. Locust).
I enjoyed learning about the NPS system used to create the URL’s for each site’s website. This has helped me write up these blogs plus other reports about my travels. I did not realize that the Choctaw language was also used in World War II, in this case to prevent the Germans from breaking coded messages.
I spent several days traveling along the Trace, from Nashville to Natchez. The last day was spent at Mt. Locust where I completed the Scavenger Hunt. This was a fun way to explore the grounds of this historic site.
Once I completed the required activities I turned in the booklet at Mt. Locust Visitor Center. A delightful ranger intern was working and awarded the Certificate of Completion, as well as an enhanced badge. The badge depicts a rider on a horse, along a tree-covered Trace.
At the back of the booklet there is another program, Wanted: Junior Chief Ranger. This program had three activities to be completed on a separate piece of paper. The three activities were;
Hike a section of the Old Trace and compare differences in the natural environment.
Visit two of the three distinct regions and compare the sites you visit, also focusing on the natural environment.
Visit two of seven mounds and note differences in shape and how they were used.
I reviewed this with the ranger intern at the same time as the Junior Ranger booklet. After I returned home I received a certificate titled “Junior Chief Ranger Special Achievement Award”.
Certificate of Completion