Glacier National Park – Montana

Two Medicine Lake

Glacier National Park
Montana

http://www.np.gov/glac/index.htm

Completed: June 17, 2016

Senior Friendly

Be prepared to be amazed – the views, the trails, the lakes, the campgrounds and the plants and animals are all there for your enjoyment. Glacier National Park is big! I have been fortunate to be able to enjoy all sections; west, southeast, east and even a north section when I visited Goat Haunt in 2012. To easily get to Goat Haunt you take a boat tour from Waterton National Park, in Canada. Wherever you find yourself in Glacier – take a deep breath* and take it all in. Their Junior Ranger provides you an opportunity to learn about and experience this spectacular park.

Wild Clematis

This program is Senior Friendly as no age groupings are given. This booklet does separate younger kids activities, from older ones, by designating a bear icon on pages for the younger set and an eagle icon for the older kids. Two activities, The National Park Service and the final activity of the Ranger-led activity or Talk to A Ranger, are required of everyone. Completing at five additional activities, your choice, are required to earn this badge.

Activities include; The National Park Service, Wilderness, Leave No Trace, Native Names, Habitats Are Homes, Up, Up and Away?, Moving Through Glacier’s History, See America First, Making Peace, Four Nations Working Together, Disappearing Glaciers, Geology Hunt, Wise About Wildlife, Living Lightly and Attend a Ranger-led program or Talk to a Ranger.

The activity Native Names highlights the rich history of the region before European settlers arrived. As you travel through the park you will find names that honor the Native Americans which called this land home, such as; Two Medicine, Running Eagle and Chief Mountain. Up, Up and Away? does an excellent job giving background information about climate change. It provides an opportunity by having you write a short paragraph to explain how climate change could impact one of three animals, snowshoe hare, mountain goat or bull trout, found in the park.

Columbian Ground Squirrel

Four Nations Working Together has you indicate on a map of the nations and their flags, their location in this area; Canada, Flathead Nation, United States and Blackfeet Indian Nation. As you travel through Glacier National Park the rocks tell you so much about what you see, Geology Hunt has you identify unique features and list where you saw it in the park. The bright blue-green water we saw along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River is created by rocks crushed by glaciers creating glacial flour. We also saw Horns, narrow rock pyramid peaks carved by glaciers, along US 2, SE of West Glacier as we drove over to Two Medicine.

Sego Lily

While camping at Two Medicine campground I finished the activities and had the booklet reviewed by Ranger Megan. I appreciated her review and discussion about my answers. She then issued the oath and the standard Junior Ranger badge. Every visit to this park brings new views, different weather, as well as a wide variety of plants and animals. I have never been disappointed when I visit, and as soon as I am leaving I am wondering when I’ll return.

*  As I write this, September 2017, major fires are burning around and in this park.

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Arizona Trail National Scenic Trail – BLM

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North Kaiba Trail – Grand Canyon National Park
http://www.aztrail.org/juniorexplorer

Completed: January 19, 2016

Senior Friendly

The Arizona Trail almost runs through my backyard in Tucson, about 10 miles to the east. I have hiked short sections throughout Arizona; the whole trail is over 800 miles and reaches from Mexico to Utah. Hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders are able to cover the entire distance either as a through-trip (taking a long time) or done in sections.
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The trail passes through private and public land; public lands managed by state and federal agencies. Some of the federal agencies are; Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, and Department of Interior. An important resource to enjoy the trail is the Arizona Trail Organization which can be reached at http://www.aztrail.org.

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This program has a a very attractive handbook with excellent graphics and detailed information about what you would see along the 800 mile route. I was fortunate to find this booklet at the REI store in Tucson, however the entire handbook can be completed online. The BLM (Bureau of Land Management) provided this Junior Explorer program. It is considered Senior Friendly as no age range is given. With the information provided in the reading the material in this booklet is advanced. With adult help younger children could answer the questions and earn the patch.
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Another unique part of this program is your answers are submitted online. Once you complete the handbook and submit the answers an attractive patch is mailed to you. I was surprised when my patch arrived within a week. I celebrated by hiking a 3-1/2 mile section, Marsh Station Road to Colossal Cave Mountain Park.
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But before I earned my patch I had to complete the booklet. The trail for this activity begins at the southern border, the border with Mexico and works north. The page titles are; Arizona-Sonora Borderlands, Following Water: from top to bottom, The Sky Islands, Biotic Communities: along the Arizona Trail, The Gila River, Tracking Felines: on the Arizona Trail, Mogollon Rim, Cream-Filled Cookie:Plate Tectonics, San Francisco Peaks, Anatomy: of a Volcano, The Grand Canyon, Build Your Own Trail:along the Arizona Trail, The Arizona Strip, Create A Sound Map:along the Arizona Trail, Share The Trail: with other trail users!, and More Places: to Play and Learn.

Not all of your answers will be submitted online, some drawing activities are included, as well as a demonstration of Plate Tectonics which you can eat after you are done! There are a couple of charts to complete and time spent listening outside to create a sound map. Only the online answers count towards earning the patch. I found answering all of the required questions nefoe I went online worked much better than The great part about this program is you can complete anywhere, without ever setting foot along the trail. I think if you did do this program without experiencing the trail itself, you would make it a priority to visit Arizona and enjoy some portion of the trail in the future.
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A Junior Explorer Oath on the back of the handbook provides a certificate for you to complete. And as mentioned before, your attractive patch will arrive shortly just by submitting your answers online.
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