National Park Week 2012
Camping season is just around the corner, though with the gorgeous weather we have been having many of you have probably already enjoyed your favorite park or an extended weekend away from home. Sunday, April 22, marks Earth Day 2012. You may remember us mentioning Earth Day in the April issue of Camping Life magazine. We talked about the five greenest states, top five eco-friendly companies, and the positive changes that have been made since Earth Day 2011. Last December, the Environmental Protection Agency issued the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, protecting Americans from power plant emissions and slash point source emissions nationwide. Federal funding toward cleaning up major national lakes was also generated in 2011. In fact, the 2012 federal budget includes $300 million to support the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, lessening agricultural and storm water runoff, cleaning up toxic pollution and restoring habitat in conjunction with stopping the expansion of invasive species throughout the Great Lakes.
In a combined effort to get more Americans outdoors and provide a healthy lifestyle, Earth Day is included in this year’s National Park Week, which takes place April 21-29. The nine-day event includes free admission to all 397 national parks. Saturday, April 21, is Volunteer Day, with so many ways to help out; volunteering can be easy and fun. If you’ve got little ones, April 28th is National Junior Ranger Day – kids can be sworn in as official Junior Rangers, committed to “explore, learn, protect” parks and the environment. Check on the NPS website for more information regarding the specific Junior Ranger program your park offers.
Some parts of the country offer warmer temperatures, whether you enjoy swimming, canoeing or other water sports, be sure to take advantage the 43,000 miles of National Park shoreline. While hiking, biking and walking along the 18,600 miles of trails within the National Park System is a great way to get everyone in the family moving and shaking in the outdoors – nature hikes are an inventive way to entertain and educate kids and adults alike. The NPS recommends nature-explorers check out Mammoth Cave, the longest known cave in the world with more than 390 cavernous miles winding around the vast underground.
For more information about the National Park System, or to see what’s happening during National Park Week in your area, head to www.nps.gov/npweek. Take a moment and let us know what your plans are for National Park Week, Earth Day or camping season – we would love to know what our readers are doing to contribute to a greener, cleaner environment.