National Park Week

Celebrate one of the greatest things about America this week and every week.

As an American, you are one of the proud owners of over 84 million acres of land. Your holdings include 417 locations in every state plus the territories. The parks you own range from vast tracts of wilderness to small buildings on street corners. Your largest park is 13.2 million acres in Alaska and your smallest is .02 acres in Philadelphia. When you visit, you are one of the over 330 million co-owners who drop in annually to check things out. You might need to pay some admission but when you own something, there’s a cost for upkeep, maintenance, and the salaries of the naturalists and rangers who work in the park.

According to the National Park Service, writer Wallace Stegner said the national parks are “Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” The word “awesome” was more than likely invented to describe our parks. So go here and find the one closest to you. Or find the one farthest and make a plan to get there!

National Parks

While you are planning which park to visit and when, you can indulge in some coloring and create your own version of the wonders and glories of grand vistas, underground caverns, and the creatures that inhabit our parks. As with all of Dover’s coloring books, the sturdy pages are ideal for all kinds of mark-making technology, from crayons to pencils to markers.

The call of color-by-numbers is pretty strong. There’s something about bold blotches of color that resolve into a picture that are irresistible! The trees are without a doubt the best! All of those squiggly blobs create the depth and variety of color that somehow turn into a tree. Dover has a wonderful color-by-number book of gorgeous American landscapes. You supply the colors. There’s a guide in the front to help with color choice, plus a thumbnail of each image to serve as reference.

My First Summer in the Sierra

Dover also has some of the works of the father of our park system, John Muir. Muir was a Scott who moved to America with his parents while still a child. The family settled in Wisconsin in 1849. Muir was in his 20s before he went to college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he took classes in whatever interested him and never managed to graduate. But he wrote, walked, looked and thought. His walks often began with no plan and he was economically destitute at different points in his life. But eventually Muir met Theodore Roosevelt in 1903, a man just as much in love with nature. Muir also was one of the founders of the Sierra Club. Muir is one of the many worthies appearing in Dover’s American Heroes Coloring Book and in the anthology Speaking for Nature.

There’s a lot of stuff about America that is already pretty great, and our parks are just one of those things. The act of deciding to preserve some land or a spare corner of a city block is in itself worthy of note. It says a lot about a people and a culture who decide together that certain things are worth preserving for the future, and shows true generosity of spirit.

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