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sandra ramos

travelogue of a recovering politico turned serial roadtripper with a dash of history geek โ–ถ๏ธ 159/417 ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ NPS sites ๐Ÿ“ธ Olympus OMD/GoPro/iPhone

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โ€œEvery man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.โ€ - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. โ € โ € ๐Ÿ“: Martin Luther King Jr Memorial, Washington, DCโ € ๐Ÿ“… : April 2014โ € โ € #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeek

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Oh beautiful Biscayne! It won't be long until my toes are in your warm waters again!โ € Within sight of downtown Miami, yet worlds away, Biscayne protects a rare combination of aquamarine waters, emerald islands, and fish-bejeweled coral reefs. Here too is evidence of 10,000 years of human history, from pirates and shipwrecks to pineapple farmers and presidents. Outdoors enthusiasts can boat, snorkel, camp, watch wildlifeโ€ฆor simply relax in a rocking chair gazing out over the bay.(nps)โ € โ € ๐Ÿ“: Biscayne National Park, FLโ € ๐Ÿ“… : January 2017โ € โ € #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeek #findyourpark โ €

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One year ago today, I visited one of the most beautiful and wild places on the eastern seaboard - Cumberland Island National Seashore. โ € Today, it looks as though it will end up being the victim of development. It saddens me to no end how reckless and selfish people can be, with no regard to the idea of public lands for all. #SaveCumberlandโ € โ € ๐Ÿ“: Cumberland Island National Seashore, GAโ € ๐Ÿ“… : January 2017โ € โ € โ € #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeek #findyourpark โ € #FYPyesโ € #parks101โ € #npcapics #nationalparklife

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Under the leadership of Cรฉsar E. Chรกvez and others such as Dolores Huerta and Larry Itliong, along with support from millions of Americans, the farm worker movement joined forces with other reform movements to achieve unprecedented successes that greatly improved working and living conditions and wages for farm workers. During the 1970s the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) grew and expanded from its early roots as a union for farm workers to also become a national voice for the poor and disenfranchised. The enduring legacies of Cรฉsar E. Chรกvez and the farm worker movement include passage of California's Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975, the first law in the U.S. that recognized farm workers' collective bargaining rights. (nps)โ €โ € โ €โ € ๐Ÿ“: Cesar Chavez National Monument, CAโ €โ € ๐Ÿ“… : June 2017โ €โ € โ € #nps #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeek #smallparksaturday โ €โ €

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Big Bend National Park is a land of borders. Situated on the boundary with Mexico along the Rio Grande, it is a place where countries and cultures meet. It is also a place that merges natural environments, from desert to mountains. It is a place where south meets north and east meets west, creating a great diversity of plants and animals. The park covers over 801,000 acres of west Texas. For more than 1,000 miles, the Rio Grande forms the international boundary between Mexico and the United States; Big Bend National Park administers approximately one-quarter of that boundary. Within the 118 twisting miles that also define the parkโ€™s southern boundary, the riverโ€™s southeasterly flow changes abruptly to the northeast and forms the big bend of the Rio Grande.โ € โ € ๐Ÿ“: Big Bend National Park, TXโ € ๐Ÿ“… : October 2016โ € โ € #nps #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeek #nationalparklife

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Itโ€™s that time of year when the road is calling... and this time next week Iโ€™ll be in this lovely part of the country again. โ € Everglades was designated as a National Park in 1934. The park has since been designated as an International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance and a World Heritage Site.โ € โ € ๐Ÿ“: Everglades National Park, FLโ € ๐Ÿ“… : January 2017โ € โ € โ € #nps #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeek โ €

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Happy birthday Muir Woods National Monument! On January 9, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the land a National Monument, the first to be created from land donated by a private individual, William Kent, a rising political figure. The original suggested name of the monument was the Kent Monument but Kent insisted the monument be named after naturalist John Muir, whose environmental campaigns helped to establish the National Park system. President Roosevelt agreed, writing back: MY DEAR MR. KENT: By George! you are right. Kent and Muir had become friends over shared views of wilderness preservation, but Kent's later support for the flooding of Hetch Hetchy caused Muir to end their friendship. โ € โ € ๐Ÿ“: Muir Woods National Monument, CAโ € ๐Ÿ“… : June 2017โ € โ € #nps #travel #explore #nationalparkgeek

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"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn't show." Andrew Wyethโ € Since ancient times, this barrier island has provided sanctuary to both people and wildlife. Many threatened and endangered species find refuge here, including sea turtles who nest on its shores. Like first natives and early settlers, you too can find tranquility. Stroll down a wooded trail. Reflect on a pristine undeveloped shoreline - the way things used to be. (nps)โ € โ € ๐Ÿ“: Canaveral National Seashore, Apollo Beach, Floridaโ € ๐Ÿ“… : December 2016โ € โ € โ € #nps #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeek

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Busy planning this yearsโ€™ trips including an in-depth exploration of @biscaynenps and more time at my favorite @evergladesnps, as well as a springtime tour through the National Parks of Texas, mid-summer on the big island with visits to @hawaiivolcanoesnps and @puukoholaheiaunps, spending Fall at @petroglyphnps, and a possible solstice visit to @aztecruinsmn. Canโ€™t wait!โ € ๐Ÿ“: Biscayne National Park, FLโ € ๐Ÿ“… : January 2017โ € โ € #nps #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeekโ €

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It reached the high of 36 today, Iโ€™m really missing the desert heat right about now๐Ÿœ๐ŸŒ…โ € โ € ๐Ÿ“: Saguaro National Park, AZโ € ๐Ÿ“… : June 2017โ € โ € โ € #nps #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeek โ €

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Thank you for checking out the list of my favorite NPS sites I visited in 2017. No one guessed my top park in the east, but here it is. :::Drum Roll Please::: The final post of this list is my favorite site from the Eastern US this year: Everglades National Park (and Big Cypress National Preserve, the northern part of this amazing land.)โ € โ € I was surprised, taken aback, overwhelmed and mesmerized by the sheer beauty and tranquility of this national park. The plan was to spend 6 days total, and expanded (twice) to 12 days. One of the first days there, I reluctantly signed up for the Slough Slog with Ranger Jeff - trudging through knee-high mud to the Cathedral of Cypress. At the end of the tour, he asked what we thought of the tour, and I had no words as tears trickled out of my eyes. โ € โ € What? It surprised me too. This isn't a park with amazing mountains and beautiful vistas, but it is unlike anything I've ever experienced and beautiful in it's own way. It's a park that, if you do it right, forces you to slow down, take in the details and observe on a level of no other National Park I've ever been to.โ € โ € When people ask me what my favorite NPS site is, after telling them that question is like choosing a favorite child, I give the story of Maggie L Walker, then tell them about the Everglades. โ € โ € ๐Ÿ“: Everglades National Park, FLโ € ๐Ÿ“… : January 2017โ € โ € #nps #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeek #florida

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Happy New Year's Eve! We've finally reached the #1 spot of the NPS sites I visited this year and my favorite of the Western US is up first. Two of you guess it (nice job Ranger Gary and @notsojrrangers - closely edging out the #2 but far and away the best: White Sands National Monument.โ €โ € This had been on the list for a long time, but I could never make it work. After returning home from eight weeks on the road touring the Western US, I hadn't planned on going anywhere for a while. Perusing social media, I noticed my good friend Ranger Gary from BISC was going to be at WHSA with his Full Moon program (which had also been on the list for a while). So after being home for 4 days, I jumped in the car and drove 8 hours to Alamogordo, NM to kill two birds with one stone. โ €โ € โ €โ € What started as a quick three day trip turned into a week with one of the most entrancing locales I've ever experienced. โ €โ € I'll admit, the first 1/2 mile driving in is nice, but nothing to write home about - but then you take a wide turn and there it is! The purist color white you've ever seen in your life. The modernist in me fell in instant love with the soft curves of the dunes, the striking colors of the sky and sand, and the overwhelming beauty of the simplicity in this landscape. I posted a photo from the park and immediately got a text from Gary. "You're at WHSA???" โ €โ € "Surprise!" As I began to silently weep at the overwhelming moment. โ €โ € As a photographer, the amazement of WHSA is, there really is no bad light there. High noon harsh light gives just as much beauty as the soft colors of sunset. The cool sand allows you walk barefoot regardless of the mercury levels (it was 102 that day...)โ €โ € The Park Rangers are some of the nicest in NPS."Welcome to White Sands, we really hope you enjoy your stay at our Park!" the gentleman in the flat hat gently but emphatically proclaimed. โ €โ € Yes, I did, Mr. Ranger. So much so, it literally stole a piece of my heart. #nationalparkgeek #travel #explore #learn #whitesandsnationalmonument #top5

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No. 2 on the list of the favorite sites I visited in 2017 in the Western US was certainly a contender for the No. 1 spot: Joshua Tree National Park. โ € The sunrises and sunsets made me cry, the uniquely gnarled yuccas fascinated me, the Star Trek-esque scenery transported me to another world, and the obvious music filled my soul. I escaped a swarm of bees attracted to the coolant of my car (no bees were hurt that I'm aware of), battled 121 degree temps during the day and managed to avoid the coyote who roamed the campsite. It was all beyond amazing.โ € ๐Ÿ“: Joshua Tree National Park, CA โ € ๐Ÿ“… : June 2017โ € โ € #nps #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeek #mynationalparks

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Counting down my favorite sites I visited in 2017,and #2 for the East is Cumberland Island National Seashore.โ €โ € On the roadtrip in January, this wasn't even on my radar until follower @oliveview nearly insisted I detour to this gem on the southern Georgia coast. two words: BLOWN. AWAY. โ €โ € I regret not camping out on the island, because this barrier island, the last underdeveloped on the Atlantic seaboard, is now under threat. The descendants of the Carnegie family (the owners of the island, who gifted it to NPS) are trying to reassert their property rights to build 80 homes on the island, and it will never be the same...โ €โ € Highlights include the Plum Orchard mansion ruins, the wild horses freely roaming the island, and the First African Baptist Church at The Settlement (where JFK, Jr married).โ €โ € โ €โ € ๐Ÿ“: Cumberland Island National Seashore, GAโ €โ € ๐Ÿ“… : January 2017โ €โ € โ €โ € #nps #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeek #protectingparks #mynationalparks

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The countdown of my favorite NPS sites I visited this year with #3 from the Western US: @manzanarnps โ €โ € A swirl of emotions occur when you visit MANZ - anger, peace, beauty, frustration, and the dichotomy of understanding and not understanding all at the same time. Wow this place does a phenomenal job of telling the stories of the Japanese-Americans who were interned here during WWII. โ €โ € โ €โ € One of the big takeaways for me: each internment camp contained people from a specific geographic region, so Manzanar interned people from the Los Angeles area. At this time in the 1940's, a common occupation for Japanese-American men was landscaping (think Japanese gardens in Hollywood - they were all the rage!). When relocated to this basin in the Eastern Sierras, many realized that water flowed down the mountains into this alluvial plain. Taking advantage of this, many landscapers created beautiful parks, gardens, and koi ponds. The park has found over 30 so far and is currently excavating and restoring these artifacts.โ €โ € โ €โ € ๐Ÿ“: Manzanar National Historical Site, CAโ €โ € ๐Ÿ“… : June 2017โ €โ € โ €โ € #nps #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeek .โ €โ €

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In third place, we have a tie for my favorite NPS sites I visited in the Eastern US this year. Earlier I posted about Fort Stanwix NM, and the site tied for third with @martinvanburennps ! I'm a sucker for political sites, and this beautiful property in Kinderhook, NY was a lovely and interesting place to explore. From the very informative video in the VC, to the sprawling organic farm behind the site, MAVA's history and attention to detail explored the life of a not-so-well-known President (unless you watched Seinfeld ๐Ÿ–๐Ÿผ ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ )โ € Ranger Dawn was kind enough to take me up to the usually off-limits tower and give me the behind the scenes tour of this historical home and its most important occupant. It's a fantastic site for hikers, too, with lots of trails around the peaceful property.โ € โ € ๐Ÿ“: Martin Van Buren National Historical Site, NYโ € ๐Ÿ“… : July 2017โ € โ € #nps #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeek #historygeek #newyorkstate

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I'm recapping the top NPS sites I visited this year, and today we've reached #3. Of the sites in the Eastern US I visited this year, I couldn't decide for this one, so it's a tie for #3: first up, @fort.stanwix.nps . โ € There was so much going on when I visited Fort Stanwix in July of this year: my Dad passed away the day before, the weather was rainy and a bit miserable, I was camping in a site that was a pass through for everyone else staying there. And there I was, wet, cold, and miserable standing outside the VC at quarter to 9 waiting for it to open with a group of other visitors. All of a sudden the door pops open and I hear, "hey, I know you, come on in here!" It was the friendly face of Ranger Dan - one of the online voices of FOST and a prolific photographer in his own right. I was quickly escorted into the warmth and greeted by the crew of amazing folks who keep the story of "the fort that never surrendered" alive. โ € For a day that started out really crappy, I had one of the best experiences there, learning from the staff and volunteers about the deep and rich history of this area - from the Oneida Indians to the newly minted colonists who helped create this great country. It was a truly memorable experience and I am thankful for my time at FOST.โ € โ € ๐Ÿ“: Fort Stanwix National Monument, NYโ € ๐Ÿ“… : July 2017โ € โ € #nps #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeek #historygeek #newyorkstate

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Top 5 EAST NPS visits of 2017 continue with #4: Thomas Edison National Historical Park. This New Jersey gem is a wonder for the imagination and full of history. Plan a full day here to get the full story, and attend the many Ranger talks about the phonograph, the chemistry lab, the amazing stock room, and the early days of motion pictures.โ € โ € ๐Ÿ“: Thomas Edison NHP, NJโ € ๐Ÿ“… : July 2017โ € #nps #travel #explore #learn #nationalparkgeek #history @thomasedisonnhp

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