February’s Muse of the Month might seem like a strange choice to some readers… when most people think “inspiring,” the National Park Service probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. Those of you who’ve been keeping up with my blog in recent months might have an idea of why I chose this as my Muse of the Month, but for those who haven’t, allow me to enlighten you!
It may come off as cliché, but the National Park Service has actually been a source of inspiration my entire life. Growing up, family vacations with my parents had us exploring almost every corner of the country, taking in beautiful landscapes and scenery wherever we went. I could talk about how getting to see mountains, badlands, deserts, forests, and oceans was an incredibly moving and life-changing experience – which it was, even when I was cranky and twelve – but one of the big things that made those opportunities possible was the park service.
That’s not to say that the NPS is solely responsible for showing us the beautiful and unique natural wonders in our country – there are plenty of incredible places that aren’t national parks, including Paint Mines Interpretive Park – but I think that a lot of what they do is often overlooked and, consequently, under appreciated. The park service is more than fancy brochures and visitor centers: It’s responsible for the preservation of the natural beauty of our lands. The NPS provides regular people with ways to learn about and experience sites of natural and historical importance… some focus on fossils, others on battles fought generations ago, but all strive to impart visitors with a sense of how much our environment and our history can teach us. They show us, up close and personal, how remarkable nature can be, and how vital it is for us to learn how to protect it.
Photos from my most recent trips to some national parks – click to enlarge.
A trip to a national park isn’t just about hiking and reading informative plaques out in the wilderness, it’s about learning about our heritage and about our planet. The people who work for the park service are people who are dedicated to safeguarding everything that makes our country wild, beautiful, and unique, and helping others see that it’s worth preserving, too. They understand that, as members of the human race, our job is to protect the natural wonders in our world, as well as the animals that live there, and that the best way to do that is to help others learn about and appreciate them.
The National Park Service has been helping visitors from all over the world experience the natural beauty of our country thanks to their preservation efforts, and in many cases, it is only through these efforts that we know so much about these incredible places, and can even visit them at all. For over one hundred years, they’ve made nature, science, and history that much more accessible to the public, and will hopefully continue to do so for many more years to come. If you can, I highly encourage you to visit as many parks as possible… not only will you be supporting those who are working their hardest to protect our natural resources, but I can almost guarantee you that experiencing the parks firsthand will inspire you, too!
If you want to learn more about the national parks, or find a park near you, click here to visit the National Park Service website.