Park Explorer – Quest Scouts

Park Explorer Badge

Park Explorer Badge

Completed: June 2015
Released: May 1, 2015
Expires: November 1, 2015

This quest focused on something near and dear to my heart – exploring parks! For me traveling and spending time in the over 400 National Park Service (NPS) units is a passion. I also appreciate the many state, county and local parks along the way. It was through a post that QuestScouts made on the National Park Travelers Club forum about this specific quest that I learned about Quest Scouts.

Great Sand Dunes NP

Great Sand Dunes NP

The timing of this quest was perfect; it came out just as I was starting a trip that would take me to several NPS sites. Before leaving on the trip I completed the Literature Quest by reading “Ranger Confidential”, by Andrea Lankford. This is written by a ranger, focusing on the law enforcement area, including search and rescue in the parks. Wow – the stories she shared of her experiences and other ranger were dramatic. I never realized the emotional toll the job has on rangers. It is a shame that such a demanding and important job has such poor living conditions and low wages. Their dedication is immense and appreciated!

To complete the Visit Quest I was to spend a day exploring a national or state park. That was easy! A new site for me on this trip was Pullman National Monument –
It was just designated a NPS site in February 2015. This site interprets an industrial town where Pullman rail cars were built in Chicago, which is also credited the origin of Labor Day. It has been managed by the local citizens for many years, they worked hard to gain the NPS designation. I visited the current visitor center, watched the movie and walked around the neighborhood. The turn of the century homes have been restored by private citizens as their homes. A hotel is part of the neighborhood and hopefully will be restored.

Pullman NM

Pullman NM

To collect points for the Find Quests, two activities were listed; collect a National Park passport stamp and log a letterbox find within a National Park. As part of my travels I collect the passport stamps found at all of the NPS units, some sites have more than one stamp. It is a fun challenge. Several of the passport stamps I collected along the way; Aztec Ruins NM in Aztec, NM, Great Sand Dunes NP & Pres in Mosca, CO, Bent’s Old Fort NHS in La Junta, CO, Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Pres. in Strong City, KS, Ulysses S. Grant NHS in St. Louis, MO, Lincoln Home NHS in Springfield, IL, Pullman NM in Chicago, IL, Indiana Dunes NL in Porter, IN, Sleeping Bear Dunes NL in Empire, MI, Pictured Rocks NL in Au Sable Pt, MI, Keweenaw NHP in Calumet, MI, St. Croix NSR in St. Croix Falls, WI, Niobrara NSR in Valentine, NE, Fort Laramie NHS, in Fort Laramie, WY, Pecos NHP in Pecos, NM, Petroglyph NM, in Albuquerque, NM, El Malapais NM in Grants, NM, Petrified Forest NP in Petrified Forest, AZ and finally. . . Montezuma Castle NM in Camp Verde, AZ

In general letterboxes, like geocaches, are not permitted in most NPS units. Park sites, including some city, county and state parks, are concerned with off-trail exploring and disturbing natural resources. Some parks do allow boxes and some are planted without permission. Along our travels we found several boxes in park sites. There were several along an auto tour route through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Indiana. Some of the boxes were drive-bys, very close to the car or a hike of up to a mile. It was fun exploring the park and finding letterboxes along the routes, easy points!

Bent's Old Fort NHS

Bent’s Old Fort NHS

Another fun Quest completed!


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