Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area – Washington

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area – Washington

https://www.nps.gov/laro/index.htm

Completed: July 7, 2017

In central Washington, Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area (NRA) provides water recreation, camping and history. The lake was created from the Grand Coulee Dam along the Columbia River in the 1940s, encompassing a 130 mile long recreation area administered by the NPS. While visiting I picked up their Junior Ranger newspaper.

If seven or younger three activies are to be completed, if older then all six activities are to be completed. In addition everyone is to attend one ranger-guided activity (if available) and hike one of the trails described. The program is Senior Friendly with no upper age limit given.

The activities include; Messages in Stone, The Artifact Jungle, Fort Colville Word Scramble, Fort Spokane Indian Boarding School Word Search, Fort Spokane Military Mega-Mazes, and What About the Future? Three trails described are scattered throughout the park site; Mission Point Trail near Kettle Falls Campground, Sentinel Trail at Fort Spokane and Bunchgrass Prairie Nature Trail at Spring Canyon Campground. While completing any of the hikes, a Junior Ranger Notebook has you record plants, animals, habitat and other details seen and heard along the hike.

While visiting I camped at both Spring Canyon and Kettle FallsCampground. It was very hot, reaching over 100 degrees during the daytime, but cooled off nicely at night. At Spring Canyon some of the sites have covered awnings to block the sun and groomed, green grass. It was too hot to hike the nearby nature trail. On our way north we stopped at Fort Spokane, a historic site which was also used as a school in the early 1900s. The grounds have an interesting self-guided walk to explore the historic buildings.

Our final stop was at Kettle Falls Campground, right along a narrower section of the Columbia River, as it heads south from Canada. It had been very hot all day, I was glad when the evening cooled off for comfortable sleeping. In the cooler morning I enjoyed hiking along the river. A few flowers, mainly Sego Lillies, were in bloom along the trail, which I noted in the Junior Ranger Notebook section.

As I traveled around the NRA I completed the six different activities, all provided interesting information. The Artifact Jumble was my favorite, as it helped to show the long history of many different people who inhabited the upper Columbia River. In my drawing for What About the Future? I drew a free-flowing river, wishful thinking, but my hope for the future in 100 years. In the Kettle Falls area there were no visitor services staffed by park rangers so I mailed the completed paper to the address indicated on the back section. In the return mail I received the ranger-signed Junior Ranger paper, an attractive patch and a geology-specific booklet, which nicely explains the unique geology of the area. This is a lesser known park site, but one that has more than just a lake to visit, it has a rich human and geologic history, well worth the time to visit and explore.

 

Ebey’s Landing National Historic Preserve – Washington

Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve
Washington

http://www.nps.gov/ebla/index.htm

Completed: June 28, 2017

https://www.nps.gov/ebla/learn/kidsyouth/upload/2017-On-line-Jr-Ranger-Book.pdf

Senior Friendly

What is a National Historical Reserve? Basically, it is a living, working community primarily on private land with significant historical sites preserved and interpreted by a combination of private and public organizations. Ebey’s Landing NHR is located on Whidbey Island, west of downtown Seattle. Lighthouses, docks, farm fields, prairies, salt marshes, Native American artifacts, abundant wildlife and plants, and 19th century buildings provide the visitor with a diverse environment to explore.

This program is Senior Friendly as there is no upper age grouping. The age groupings and the number of required activities are; ages 10 and under complete 7 activities and ages 10 or older complete 14 activities.

The activities are; Nature Bingo, Getting to Know This Place, The Making of a Reserve, Word Search & Glossary, Then and Now, Hunt for Skagit Village Names, Coupeville’s Front Street, Admiralty Lighthouse, Coastal Salish People, What Helped Make the Prairies?, Hedgerows, Habitats within the Reserve, The Race for Empire in the Pacific Northwest, The Settlers Arrive, What Vegetables Do You Eat?, Growing Food On the Prairies, Letter to a Friend, Getting around Whidbey Island, and Alexander Blockhouse.

Learning about the race between Spain and England to claim this land is evident in the place names found in the area; from Rosario Strait to Penn Cove show their respective country’s influence in the late 1700s. Understanding that glaciers scoured this land to created the prairies, you can hike through today, is explained in What Helped Make the Prairies?”.

I really enjoyed exploring Coupeville’s Front Street to find historic buildings with plaques which indicate the year the building was built. This buildings along the street today are charming with a variety of businesses; restaurants, gift shops, bookstore, fiber store, and art galleries.

Once you complete the booklet you can take it to three different locations; Ebey’s Reserve Trust Board Office, Island County Historical Museum or the Central Whidbey Chamber of Commerce. I took my booklet to the Reserve office where a staff member reviewed my booklet and presented me with an attractive patch and enhanced Junior Ranger badge. The badge features the geographic features highlighted on this preserve; water, coastline, bluffs, prairies and forest.

Olympic National Park – Washington

Olympic National Park
Washington

http://www.nps.gov/olym/index.htm

Completed: June 25, 2017

Senior Friendly

This summer we visited several sections of the park, spending most of our time camping along Kalaloch Beach. Olympic has something for everyone – ocean, rivers, lakes, rainforest and mountains. No matter where you roam in this park there is plenty to see and do. Completing the Junior Ranger activities is easy with so much variety to explore.

Age groupings are Ages 5 to 7, complete five activities and Ages 8 and above, complete seven of the nine activities, plus all ages are to attend a ranger program, walk a trail and interview a ranger. Activities are; Where are your national parks?, Nature Hike Bingo, Tree of Life, Fishing for Home, Get Connected!, Seashore Detective, What’s for dinner?, Help a Ranger and Park Poet.

While camped at Kalaloch Beach I attended an evening ranger talk about Destruction Island, just off the coast. The first recorded shipwreck was in 1808, a lighthouse was built in the late 1800s and today it part of the Quillayute Needles National Wildlife Refuge. My hike activity was along the beach, enjoying tide pools and observing a juvenile and adult Bald Eagle.

For the activities in the booklet I enjoyed the Nature Hike Bingo. Besides looking for a variety of natural features I drew several of them, not an artist, but a skill I keep practicing. For Get Connected, which has you identify things you; saw, heard, smelled and touched, while exploring the park I sketched the juvenile Bald Eagle I saw perched on the top of a tall pine tree along the coast. My outline of the trees and perching tree look much better than the bird.

What’s For Dinner features the complex web of the plants and animals in the park, basically having you match a large variety of plants and based on what they eat. Orca whales eat Salmon, Starfish eat Mussels, a woodpecker eat ants, and so on. For the final activity I wrote a cinquain-style poem linking the forest and trees.

 

By the time I attended the evening ranger talk I had completed all of the activities for this program. After the program, Ranger Bethany reviewed my booklet, discussed some of work with me and awarded me the enhanced badge, featuring the Elk found in the park. This is a park that I will return to, there is so much to experience in a variety a ecosystems – Truly, something for everyone!

North Cascades National Park – Washington

North Cascade Range from North Fork of Cascade River

North Cascades National Park
Washington

http://www.nps.gov/noca/index.htm

Completed: July 4, 2017

Senior Friendly

East of Seattle and reaching up to the Canadian border, North Cascades National Park, is remote and spectacular! Actually there are only a couple of places which you can step onto the actual park land, so much of the park is classified as wilderness. For the everyday traveler you can visit this park, or at least a visitor center, at three accessible locations; Newhalem, Hozomeen (entering from Canada) and Stehekin (arriving by boat or seaplane). On this trip I spent time at Newhalem and Stehekin over the Fourth of July weekend. There was still snow up on many peaks with water running high and fast in the lower creeks and rivers making for beautiful views and soundscape. I was fortunate to stay in Stehekin for two nights. If you ever have a chance to spend time in Stehekin, do it! It was quiet, no fireworks, and wonderful to explore this laid-back community.

Bridge Creek at High Bridge

This program is considered Senior Friendly as the upper age group, of four, is listed for ages 12+. The groupings are; Pacific Treefrog – ages 3-5, Black Bear – ages 5-8, Raven – ages 8-11 and Mountain Goat – ages 12+. Each grouping has a theme starting with Exploration of the Natural World, Biodiversity, Cultural Awareness and Public Land Stewardship. I completed the Mountain Goat booklet which requires one place-based and five general activities. I was able to complete two place-based and all ten activities.

The place-based activities included the areas of Newhalem and North Cascades Highway, Hozomeen and Ross Lake, and Stehekin and Lake Chelan. The general activities are; Learn about the North Cascades, Save the Snags, Sounds of the North Cascades, Who Am I?, Return to Wildness, Leave No Trace 101, NPS Research Part I and Part II, Field Notes and Climate Friendly Parks. While traveling through the park stop at six locations, identified on a map on page 5, to ask for their special Junior Ranger or Cascade Explorer (for older kids) stamp. I was able to collect four of the six.

While at Newhalem I worked on What’s In a Name? placed-based activity which had you select at least two of nine local names and determine their meaning. I found some of the information at the Newhalem Visitor Center and asked for help from a ranger while there. I learned that Newhalem means a place to snare goats. While at Stehekin and Lake Chelan I answered questions about the area from information I found at the Golden West Visitor Center. I learned that Native Americans lived in the area as far back as 10,000 years ago and left pictographs. I
kayaked across the lake one morning and was able to view the pictographs at lake level, close enough to touch, which I didn’t.

Upper Lake Chelan, at Stehekin, WA

The activities I enjoyed the most were Save the Snags!, Who Am I?, Return to Wildness, and Field Notes. Snags, a dead tree which is still standing, are always a favorite of mine. So many of them have ‘character’, each is unique and provides homes for wildlife. For this activity I observed a snag and drew a picture which shows the holes drilled into the snag and the plants nestled up against the snag.

 

So many of the animals in this area are new to me, so I am always interested to learn about the animals that live here; featured were the Fisher, Wolverine, Marten and Lynx. I never saw any of these animals while in the area, but I love knowing they are out there! The Return to Wildness activity further supported that North Cascades National Park supports a large portion of wilderness which protects their wild creatures. The Field Journal activity allowed me to make observations at two areas; Newhalem campground and Stehekin. Even though it was 4th of July both sites were relatively quiet, the campground at Newhalem was full, but the sites were far enough apart that each site was quiet.

Mock Orange

While staying in Stehekin I took my completed booklet to the Golden West Visitor Center for it to be reviewed. Ranger Mark was proud of his high standards in reviewing Junior Ranger booklets, even stated that they were the PhD of programs, all in good humor! I appreciated his review and discussion about the activities I completed. Once he signed off on my booklet and presented me with an enhanced badge and patch, both depicting a mountain goat, he told me about a rare plant find.

Not far from the visitor center, an orchid was blooming along the lake trail. I walked up the trail which was dry and rocky, the terrain did not look promising for a blooming orchid. Just as I was about to turnaround I spotted a wet area along the trail, seeping from a rock face and a cluster of Stream Orchids (Epipactis gigantea). The picture below doesn’t show the ‘gigantea’ of this plant, but they stood in a dense cluster, at least 3 feet tall with numerous blooms along each stem.

Stream Orchid

San Juan Island National Historical Park – Washington


American Camp

San Juan Island National Historical Park
Washington

http://www.nps.gov/sajh/index.htm

Completed: June 29, 2017

Senior Friendly

Yes, this is an island which can only be accessed by ferry or plane. We took the Washington State Ferry for a day visit, the weather was great. Once you arrive at Friday Harbor getting to the two sites, the American and English Camps, established from 1853-1872, takes some effort. There are several trolleys or transit companies which make stops at the two sites. The sites are on opposites ends of the island, some miles apart. We chose to rent a car for four hours which allowed us more time at each site and to explore the island. After visiting we did some price comparison and discovered it could have been cheaper to bring our vehicle out to the island. However you get there, visiting both sites is well worth your time.

This site commemorates the Pig War; yep, a pig got shot and the American and British settlers quarreled which led to soldiers from both countries to occupy the island to protect their citizens. No shots were fired, negotiations over 12 years were resolved through a German arbitrator. Each camp is preserved and interesting to visit.

This Junior Ranger program is Senior Friendly, as the only requirement is to

English Camp

complete the same number of activities as your age. There are 16 activities, so I completed all of them. The activities are; The Pig War, Creating Peace, 1860 Uniforms, Food, Archaeology, Tree Rings, Prairie Restoration, Use Your Senses, BINGO – American And English Camp, Life Zones – American and English Camp, Maze, Create Your Own Emblem, National Park Service, and Junior Ranger Quiz.

What I found most interesting was the diverse environments between the two camps. The American Camp was in a less desirable area of the island, colder and wetter during the winter. The English Camp was better situated at the southern end, with a protective cove. The English-style garden was attractive.

The Archaeology page was interesting, creating a table listing comparable items of Prehistoric, Historic and Modern items. As usual I enjoyed the two BINGO cards, different items to look for at each site. The ecosystem of the American Camp was primarily in the prairie and water life zones, and the British Camp in forests, down to mudflats. Some of the activities help you understand the differences.

I really enjoyed the boat trip to and from the island and exploring the island by visiting the two different camps, especially with the diversity of ecosystems. The history is interesting, but the sights are wonderful. Once I completed the activities a volunteer reviewed my booklet and presented me with a standard badge and attractive patch.

Ocean Steward – Olympic National Park, Washington

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Ruby Beach

Ocean Stewards
Olympic National Park & Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
Washington

http://www.nps.gov/olym/index.htm

Senior Friendly

Completed: June 25, 2017

While visiting Olympic National Park this summer I was offered their Ocean Stewards Junior Ranger program. It is a program which focuses on the ocean environment within Olympic NP in conjunction with the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. As we were camping at Kalaloch Beach for several nights I would be able to complete the activities. Camping at Kalaloch campground was wonderful; the access to a wide, sandy beach which had plentiful wildlife to view. One of the highlights was seeing a juvenile and adult Bald Eagle while walking along the beach one morning.

This program is considered Senior Friendly as there is no upper age limit. The instruction are for each person to complete the number of activities equal to their age, and those older than eleven should complete all of the activities.

The activities include; Chart Your Adventure, Field Journal, Leave No Trace, One Ocean, Tidal Zones, Coastal Study Plots, Coastal Word Search, Sea Stack Maze, At Home on the Water, Sea Otters Abound, and Interview a Ranger.

The Field Journal allowed me to explore Kalaloch Beach and record what I heard, saw, felt and smelled. I most enjoyed seeing the eagles and many of the animals in the tide pools. One Ocean activity provided information about marine debris that impacts animals, it included searching the beach and recording debris found.

temporary

 

As a Desert Rat, the activities taught me a lot about the ocean, especially about the issues impacting sea life due to human interaction, both positive and negative. Learning that Sea Otters had disappeared from this area in the early 1900s, and now there are 1,000 that live in the sanctuary along the coast of Olympic National Park gave me hope for the future.

I returned to the Kalaloch Ranger Station and finished the activities in the booklet by interviewing Ranger Jared about his job. He told me that in the winter it rains sideways, at times, and they had a record 140 inches of rainfall this past year. After he reviewed my booklet he gave me the very attractive Ocean Steward patch. This program was a great addition to the standard Junior Ranger program for Olympic National Park. A similar program focusing on the rainforest would be interesting.

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