Historic Preservation – NPS nationwide

Historic Preservation
NPS Nationwide


Completed: September 11, 2017
At: Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

Senior Friendly


The Historic Preservation Junior Ranger Activity Book (NHPA50) was released in 2016 to celebrate the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The booklet was available at numerous National Park Service locations at that time, and still available online, as well as at some sites. What is historic preservation? Start back in 1776 and think of the many natural and cultural resources that you will find within the boundaries of 417 National Park Services units. Some of the resources featured in the book are; Mount Vernon, Mesa Verde, Independence Hall, Dry Tortugas, USS Arizona Memorial, Denali, Ellis Island, Canyon de Chelly, and Brown v. Board.

This is considered Senior Friendly as there is no upper age limit. Ages 7-9 are to complete 4 activities, ages 10 – 12 are to complete 7 activities, and ages 13 and up are to complete 10 activities of the 11 activities in the booklet.

Dry Tortugas National Park – Fort Jefferson
The booklet can be completed without visiting any of the units highlighted in the booklet. Each page has information which can be used for the activity. The activities included; Portrait, Word Search, Timeline; Maze, Match, Poem, Letter, Connect, Unscramble, Fill in the Blanks and Crossword, Historic Person Match, Into the Future, and Code Unscramble.

A timeline heads each page beginning in 1776, leading to Present Day. Along the way the activities vary from word search, to maze, to writing a poem. Besides individual units famous people are included, such as; President Theodore Roosevelt, Carter G Woodson and Lady Bird Johnson. The activities, units and people highlighted, and terms important to preservation help you understand the importance of Historic Preservation.

San Juan Islands Natuonal Historical Park – English Camp
I had picked up the booklet in 2016, but was busy with traveling during the park’s centennial year. I finally finished the booklet in 2017 and turned in the completed booklet at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. I received the enhanced badge celebrating 50 years of Historic Preservation. As of today, April 6, 2018, the booklet is still available online, however the badge may not still be available, check at parks along your travels.


Russell Cave National Monument – Alabama

Russell Cave National Monument


Completed: September 30, 2017

Senior Friendly

Tucked up against a corner of Alabama and Tennessee is this cave which holds artifacts dating back 9,500 years. The short walk to the cave/overhang is along a boardwalk through the woods. I was fortunate to be the only person on the boardwalk, I was able to experience the woods along the route and the cave opening in silence.

It was a gorgeous Fall day when I visited Russell Cave and was glad I could spend the extra time to complete their Junior Ranger program. The booklet is well organized and easy to complete based on three age groups.

Raccoon for ages 5-7, to complete 2 pages,
Deer for ages 8-10, to complete the Ranger Basics page and 7 or more pages, and
Coyote for ages 11 and up, to complete the Ranger Basics page and 8 or more pages.
This activity is considered Senior Friendly as there is no upper age given.

The twelve activities include; Ranger Basics, The Story of Russell Cave National Monument, At the Movies, Russell Cave Geology, Russell Cave Museum, Prehistoric Puzzle, Russell Cave Word Search, The Cave, Bird Watching, Tools and Weapons, Flora and Fauna of Russell Cave and Parts of a Tree.

A portion of the booklet can be completed by viewing the displays in the museum, working on your own and by visiting the cave. I enjoyed The Cave section the most, it provided good background about the initial excavation in the 1950s. Additionally the activity does a great job of taking you through the four major periods the cave was occupied; Paleo-Indians, Archaic, Woodland and Mississippian Periods.

After spending time in the museum, walking to the cave and while eating lunch in front of the visitor center I worked on the Word Search, as well as the nature pages; Bird Watching, Flora and Fauna and Parts of the Tree. I appreciated that the Word Search went beyond just finding the words, they are used to complete sentences about this park unit.

The ranger on duty when I returned to the visitor center with my completed Junior Ranger booklet was delightful. Ranger Mary reviewed my booklet and we discussed several topics before she presented me with their attractive certificate and unique enhanced metal badge. This was my second visit, but the most enjoyable because of the what I learned and the time I spent working on their Junior Ranger program.

Cabrillo National Monument – California

Cabrillo National Monument


Completed: December 8, 2018

Across from downtown San Diego, up on a hill, sits Cabrillo National Monument which interprets the early exploration of the New World. It also provides information about the native Kumeyaay people who were living there when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sailed into the bay in 1542. There is a lot of history in a small area with spectacular views, all around. A visit to Cabrillo National Monument is worth the scenery, alone!
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo statue

The activities for this Junior Ranger program are printed as a four-page newspaper titled, “Just for Kids”. The age-related chart below ends at Grade 8 which keeps this from receiving the Senior Friendly label, however this senior was able to complete the program. The ranger giving me the paper and the ranger who reviewed my completed paper were both encouraging and had no problem with an ‘older’ junior ranger participating.

Lighthouse stairs
The eight activity sections are titled; Inside the Visitor Center and Auditorium, The Exhibit Room, The Patio and Statute, Old Point Loma Lighthouse, Assistant Keeper’s Quarters, Kelp Forest and Whale Overlook, Coastal Sage Scrub:Native Plants, and Military History Exhibit. It was a beautiful day to explore outside the visitor center. I thoroughly enjoyed taking a tour around the grounds to find the information needed to complete the program.

The view from the Kelp Forest and Whale Overlook was gorgeous. I was a few weeks too early to see the whales migrating south, past Cabrillo. The interpretative signs throughout the grounds give great information about early explorers, native Americans, local botany and military history. Plan on taking your time as you wander from place to place to complete the activities.

Once completed I returned to the visitor center to have my answers checked by the ranger on duty. I appreciated the time spent reviewing and discussing my answers. The certificate for completing the program is on the back of the newspaper with a space for your signature and the park’s dated passport stamp. The badge given is an enhanced wooden badge showing a Spanish ship.

Ocmulgee National Monument – Georgia

Ocmulgee National Monument

Completed: September 28, 2017


Senior Friendly

A small unit in central Georgia, near Macon, has human history dating back 17,000 years. That is impressive and well worth exploring the displays in the visitor center, as well as the earthen mounds outside. Even at this late date in September it was hot, well into the 90s, plus humidity, which made exploring too uncomfortable for me. Most of my time was spent in the visitor center, then drove the short road to look at the mounds

This program is considered Senior Friendly as no upper age is given. Most of the booklet can completed in the comfort of the visitor center. There are 12 activities included in the booklet, I always appreciate when, as a Senior Ranger, I don’t have to complete all of the activities. It is always nice to have a choice!
Up to 6 years old- 4 activities
7 – 9 years old – 7 activities
10 years or older- 10 activities

Activities include; Draw a Picture, Discover!, Digging into the Past, Pottery Drawing, Home Sweet Home, Word Search, Earth Lodge, Multiple Choice, Great Temple Mound, Fill in the Blank, The Park Around Us, and True or False.

Archaeology is the main focus of this park site which is also highlighted throughout the Junior Ranger booklet. Digging into the Past provided a stratigraphy diagram which was used to answer questions about the age of labeled artifacts. Home Sweet Home showed 4 pictures of different styles of homes that were used at Ocmulgee, the styles evolved from sticks and a grass roof up to a more traditional home.

The staff was very friendly and helpful while reviewing my booklet. I always appreciate when a ranger takes the time to check my answers and initiate a discussion about the activities. Besides receiving a unique badge, I was also given a colorful patch. The badge is unique (see below) because the strip across the top which usually names the park says “All Things Are Connected”, I love that saying as I think it is what the National Park Service represents.

Obed Wild and Scenic River- Tennessee

Obed Wild and Scenic River


Completed: September 25, 2017

Senior Friendly

In Eastern Tennessee, north of I-40 and west of Oak Ridge, is small but beautiful park site that features free-flowing river. I have visited this site several times, at different times of the year, the Fall is the best. If you are fortunate to be there when the leaves are changing colors it is a treat. Besides hiking and rock climbing, the best way to experience the Obed River is on it – by canoe or kayak. I haven’t been able to do that yet, hopefully someday.

This program is considered Senior Friendly as no upper age limit is given.
Ages 5-6, complete at least five activities with Obediah the Owl icon.
Ages 7-8, complete at least seven activities with Obediah the Owl icon.
Ages 9 and up, complete all of the activities (14).

Activities include; Can You Canoe the Obed River?, Activity-Animal Tracks, Fish Identification, Obed Wild and Scenic River Word Search, Connect the dots to see WHOOOO this is?, Visit Lilly Bluff Overlook, Lily Bluff Scavenger Hunt, When you visit the Obed.., A-MAZE-ing, Help Keep Obed Clean, Safety First!, Picture This!, Obed’s Rich History, and Find it on the Obed Map.

My favorite experience was visiting Lilly Bluff Overlook (pictured above) to enjoy the view. A short walk from the parking area leads you past several interpretive signs describing the geography and geology of the area. The page for Obed’s Rich History provides an overview of the variety of people who have lived here, from Prehistoric Indians to European settlers in the 1700s.

I brought my finished booklet to the visitor center in the small town of Wartburg. The ranger reviewed my booklet and provided their enhanced Junior Ranger badge. As an avid craft beer consumer I couldn’t pass up purchasing their pint glass!

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area – Washington

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area – Washington


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.


Little River Canyon National Preserve – Alabama

Little River Canyon National Preserve

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

Completed: September 30, 2017

Senior Friendly

Along the eastern edge of Alabama this is a little known unit of the National Park Service (NPS). As a preserve it can include a few recreational activities not usually allowed in NPS sites. Besides hiking and climbing, some of the activities allowed are fishing and hunting. This was my second visit and on both visits I was able to enjoy the natural beauty with very few other visitors. There are hiking trails, as well as scenic drives to explore. This park also honors those Native Americans which endured the Trail of Tears.

This program is Senior Friendly, no age limits are given. The booklet indicates to complete as many activities as possible to earn the badge. During this visit I was able to complete all of the activities.

Activities include; Where Are you From?, What Should You Bring?, People in the Preserve, Junior Ranger Safety Scrambler, What is a Cultural or Natural Resource?, Everything Needs a Home, Invader!, Woods Walk, Little River Footprints, Wildlife Around You, Pitcher Plant Maze, Where does the Water Go?, Mushroom Rock, Crossword Puzzle, Little River Fossils, Plants of Little River Canyon, Wildlife Scavenger Hunt, and National Park Service Emblem.

Identifying the difference between Cultural and Natural Resources involved looking at pictures of plants, a arrowhead and a house from 1910. Everything Needs Home was a drawing activity to show the same needs of a human’s habitat and that of an animal. I drew a picture of the van in which we travel – my home, away from home. The activities were interesting and provided good variety. The booklet had great photos and graphics which added to the experience.

I picked up the booklet late in the day, explored a bit before heading over to DeSoto State Park (alapark.com/desoto-state-park). This park is close by in a beautiful canyon and has camping, a lodge and restaurant. The campground with amenities; electric hook ups, showers and large sites are excellent. We have also eaten at the lodge restaurant, enjoyed the breakfast buffet. The following morning I returned to the visitor center and had my booklet reviewed. The volunteer on duty provided the oath,certificate and badge and a picture!

El Malpais National Monument – New Mexico

La Ventana Sandstone Arch
El Malpais National Monument – New Mexico


Completed: October 5, 2017

Senior Friendly

While traveling along I-40 in New Mexico a great detour to the south of Grants is a largely unknown national monument with lots to see and experience. Parts of the park are also managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). From black lava flows to beautiful sandstone arches plus wildlife and wildflowers, what’s not to like!

You can pick up an El Malpais Junior Ranger book at the BLM Ranger Station (check hours), the Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center (right off I-40 in Grants), or the Information Center (closed in the winter). Once completed the booklet can be checked by a ranger at any of the three visitor centers. Or, if you can’t complete your mission while visiting, just send it in and they will send you your badge and certificate.

Rufous Hummingbird

This program is considered Senior Friendly as no age limit is given. Everyone is to complete at least six of the nine activities for all ages. Activities include; The Continental Divide, Hiking the CDT, Big Rock Bingo, Life Zones, Water Ways, Picturing People, Indoor Scavenger Hunts: BLM Ranger Station, Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center, and El Malpais Information Center, Listen Up, Down, and All Around and In Your Own Words.

One of the highlights of this part is the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), a 3,100 mile multi-use trail following the continental divide linking Mexico to Canada. This is considered the PhD of long distance trails, with the Appalachian Trail the bachelor level and the Pacific Crest Trail the masters. While visiting you can learn more about the CDT by completing the first two activities and by day-hiking sections in the park.

Snowball Sand Verbena
El Malpais is all about volcanoes, as recently as 2,000 to 3,000 years ago. Big Rock Bingo is a great activity to learn about the different kinds of formations created; spatter cone, pahoehoe flows, lava tubes, as well as other ones. As lifeless as the lava flows can seem the monument is alive with animals and plants. While camped at Joe Skeen Campground I was fortunate to see a Prairie Rattlesnake near our campsite.

Prairie Rattlesnake

Completing the Indoor Scavenger Hunt at the Northwest New Mexico Visitor Center took some patience to read the displays to answer the four questions about the Monument, staff were helpful in guiding me to the needed information. So many places within the park site are off the beaten path that you can hear the sounds of nature with fewer human-made sounds which you can record in Listen Up, Down and All Around.

I picked up the booklet on a visit in July 2017 and returned in October 2017 to finish and receive my Junior Ranger badge. This is a site I look forward to visiting again and again, hoping to see more wildlife, as well as explore this diverse environment.

Centennial Junior Ranger Activity Book, 1916 – 2016

National Park Service


Completed: April 8, 2016

2016 was a big travel year for me, by the end of the year I was fortunate to have visited 220 of the 413 National Park Service sites. With the NPS celebrating their Centennial, 100 years, we wanted to celebrate with them. Most I had visited previously, several were first time visits, and every visit brought a special memory. I was thrilled when I learned that a special Junior Ranger Activity Book was available. Looking back at the booklet I completed activities at a number of parks, finally finishing it at El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico.

The thirteen activities include; National Park Service Symbols, Jammin’ Journal, Become a Modern Day John Muir!, Draw & Name Your Park, Past and Present Native Cultures, Write a Cinquain Poem, National Park Crossword, My Space – Your Space, Write Yourself into National Park Service History, Healthy Parks, Healthy You, Rappin’ with a Ranger, The President is Calling You, and Protecting Special Places.

The inside front cover was not an activity, but asked a couple of questions about birthdays and the centennial. One of the questions was to identify how a park you visited was celebrating the centennial. Five of the parks in southeastern Arizona offered a “I Hike for Health” pins during this year. I was able to earn all five pins, including one at Coronado National Memorial by hiking to the US/Mexico border at the beginning of the Arizona National Scenic Trail.

Coronado National Memorial -Arizona

Instead of recounting the activities I will share some memories and pictures from my travels during 2016. Living in Arizona we have access to some wonderful desert parks which we could enjoy during the winter months. Organ Pipe Cactus NM, Joshua Tree NP and Death Valley NP are sites we have visited many times over the years, and the flowers in 2016 were gorgeous.

Organ Pipe Cactus NM – Arizona

Joshua Tree NP -California

Death Valley NP – California

In Colorado there is a wide variety of park sites, from Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP and Great Sand Dunes NP. Both unique and beautiful at any time of the day.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP – Colorado

Great Sand Dunes NP – Colorado

Working back East we spent time at Alley Spring & Mill in Ozark National Scenic Riverway, a built area with gushing water and historic buildings. Of course the one of highlights was attending our annual National Park Travelers Club (NPTC) meeting in Philadelphia at Independence National Historical Park, especially seeing the Liberty Bell. While touring Washington DC I visited the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality NM where many legislative victories were pursued within sight of the US Capitol, the architecture was stunning.

Alley Spring & Mill – Ozark National Scenic Riverway – Missour

Independence National Historical Park – Pennsylvania

Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality NM – Washington, DC

Working our way West came back through Northern New Mexico and celebrated with Capulin Volcano NM -their window was one of many special events and signs we saw throughout the year. As active members of the NPTC we collect the NPS passport stamps that the sites offer, in 2016 the sites had a special stamp for the Centennial. It definitely made the year extra special as we criss-crossed the country visiting the parks and working on the special Junior Ranger booklet. The good news is you did not have to travel as we did, the booklet could be done at home or at one site to earn the wooden Junior Ranger badge. For those who did not know about this program during the centennial year, it may still be available. Check with any NPS site or online.


Devils Postpile National Monument – California

Devils Postpile National Monument


Completed: May 26, 2014

Senior Friendly

Love this site! Geology rocks, and so does geometry. This wonderful park site is only open in the summer, sometimes not until July! Check their website or call before you visit. Getting to the site is by shuttle bus from the ski area in Mammoth Lakes, unless you have a campground reservation down in the valley. Once there enjoy this unique geologic feature, make sure to hike to the top of the postpile.

This site is considered Senior Friendly as there is no upper age limit. If you are over 10 years of age then you are to complete at least 10 of the 12 activities. The activities are; The Prepared Hiker, Attend A Program / Interview A Ranger, Geology Rocks, Trace Your Trail, National Parks are Everywhere, Using Your Senses, The National Park Service, Scavenger Hunt, Devils Postpile: Fire & Ice, The Scenic San Joaquin, The Rainbow Fire, and Leave No Trace.

By far my favorite activity was Geology Rocks, as previously I had looked at the wall of rock at ground level. This activity had you draw the structures seen from ground level and then from on top. Seeing the geometric shapes on top which form the columns was great. While up there you can also complete the activity, Devils Postpile: Fire & Ice by recording the shapes of at least 10 columns, I found; 2 square, 3 pentagon and 5 hexagon-shaped columns.

The Scavenger Hunt had six items to discover and draw which is always a challenge for me, but good practice. Using Your Senses was another drawing activity. I spent some time drawing the Summer Tanager I saw while hiking in the area. Even though it involved a Word Search I learned something surprising about this area, the river in the valley is the San Joaquin River. This is a river I have seen on the west side of the Sierras, so I was surprised that its headwaters were in a valley on the east side. Goes to prove, you can always learn something new when completing a Junior Ranger program.


The very best part of this visit was having my booklet reviewed by Ranged Elsa. We both recognized each other, it took a few moments to remember where we had previously met. The Fall before she had been the ranger in Yosemite who had awarded my grandson and I our Junior Ranger badges. I received a very attractive patch, in the shape of a hexagon, of course.

Downloadable copy: