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Posted by Victor Crew on

National Parks See Explosion in Visitation

In August Yellowstone National park set a record of above 920,000 visitors for the month. In September they set another monthly number of recreational visits of 882,078 visitors. Most notably they set a record for annual recreational visits in 2021 at 4,472,982 recreational visits. This is a 32% increase over the same period in 2020. With a number like this it is as if the population of an entire state visited Yellowstone.

Even before the pandemic the park has never hit 4 million recreational visits this early in the year.

Officials stated they’d never seen such an increase in visitation in such a short period and assured the public that they will be taking steps, both long and short term, to ensure visitors and can enjoy the park while preserving the ecosystem.

Anyone involved in the National Park system whether by profession or recreation knows this visitation increase isn’t limited to just Yellowstone. Arches National Park in Utah had to close its gates to visitors numerous times during the summer because the facilities couldn’t handle more visitors.

Even now, a sign warns that parking lots at trailheads fill early, even before 9am. Their website still warns visitors that periods of non-admittance can last from 3-5 hours.

 

 

 

Posted by Victor Crew on

China Announces National Park System

China recently announced not a singular first national park, but a handful of national preservation areas meant to protect specific animal species, including pandas.

The total square mileage of protected land is about 88,800 and the regions include areas in northern Tibet all the way to the holiday island Hainan to the south.

It has been a long road to establishing national parks in China, the country has been working on an institutional system to protect its natural ecosystems since the first nature reserve established in 1956. Today there are more than 10,000 such reserves intended to protect biodiversity.

One problem has been that managing the reserves has been troublesome as different local authorities had responsibilities to protect the same sites, yet their jobs and boundaries were unclear. The establishment of a national park system seeks to remedy this.

Surely the adventurous are asking by now, will visitors be able to access these national parks?

For one, the aptly named Giant Panda National Park will be available to visitors and is already an area where many tourists come each year to see the pandas.

According to the official press releases 75% of the wild population of pandas live in the newly defined region of the national park which includes areas of three provinces, Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu and includes four mountains, the Minshan, Qionglai, Daxiangling and Qinling. This area is the panda’s natural habitat.

The provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang will share the Northeast China Tiger and Leopard National Park, which is intended to protect the habitat of its namesake’s animals.

The afore mentioned Hainan Island is the home of China’s most well-preserved tropical rainforest and the only place in the world the black-crested gibbon lives. Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park will protect the environment and the rare gibbons who live there.

 

 

Posted by Victor Crew on

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Jody Victor: It took 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution to produce the unique ecosystems and distinct human culture displayed by the volcanoes in the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

It was over 1,600 years ago when Polynesians from the Marquesas Islands migrated to Hawaii. They came in great double-hulled canoes guided by the sun and stars, and reading the winds, currents, and the flight of seabirds.

The beautiful park you see today was created to preserve the natural setting of Kilauea and Mauna Loa and as a refuge for the islands native plants and animals.

If you plan on visiting and hiking the wonderful trails, be sure to wear light layers and hiking boots or shoes. The temperature and weather can vary from rainy and chilly to hot, dry and windy depending on the elevation and area you are visiting. Park trails range in difficulty from easy walks (Bird Park/Kipuka Puaulu or Thurston Lava Tube/Nahuku) to longer hikes such as Kilauea Ike or Mauna Iki.

 The true character of the park is best discovered on foot. With over 150 miles of trails in the park, exploration by walking and hiking can be a fascinating and enjoyable experience.

Located within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and nestled on the rim of Kilauea caldera is the Volcano House. With its unique charm it has captured the hearts of travelers and islanders alike. The Volcano house has offered spectacular views and warm hospitality for decades as Hawaii’s oldest continually operated hotel with a history dating back to 1846.

Hawaii has always been one of our family’s favorite vacation destinations. Add in the spectacular volcanoes and you’ve made a wonderful choice for the whole family.

Jody Victor

Posted by Victor Crew on

Jody Reviews Frankenmuth

Wilkommen! to Frankenmuth, Michigan. Wilkomen is German for welcome, an offer to come and join in. Something we don’t hear enough of these days. Frankenmuth, Michigan’s little Bavaria, is a place to find all the things that make time together meaningful. It’s a place of horse-drawn carrriages and covered bridges; of river boat cruises and world famous chicken dinners.

There are loads of things for you and your family to do in Frankenmuth. With festivals year round, the town welcomes visitors with Bavarian hospitality regardless of the season.  It’s a great place for a day trip for the family or a weekend retreat with friends. Activities include concerts in the park, indoor and outdoor family fun, and even pet friendly fun.

If you are a shopper, this is your perfect destination. Shops include anything from leather to silk, china to sporting goods, apparel to gifts and much more.

For dining there are breweries, coffee shops, French, German and Oriental cuisines, and plenty of fast food and sweet shops. Lodging includes hotels, motels, B&Bs, and RV/campgrounds for your convenience.

From fantastic food, eclectic shopping and entertainment, to rich historical beauty and culture, Frankenmuth is the ideal departure from the ordinary every day.

Posted by Victor Crew on

Jody Reviews Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park, established in 1872. It is spread out over three states; Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, and is home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk. Preserved within Yellowstone National Park are Old Faithful and a collection of the world’s most extraordinary geysers and hot springs, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Of course no trip to Yellowstone would be complete without visiting the most popular geyser in the world, Old Faithful. There are also hundreds of other geysers and hot spring in the park. Hiking, camping, fishing, enjoying exhibits and films, and attending Ranger-led programs are among the many ways to experience Yellowstone.

Be prepared for the weather – the climate is one of cold winters and moderate summers. Accommodations range from rustic cabins to luxury suites. All of the developed areas in Yellowstone offer services such as gas stations, stores, medical facilities and campgrounds. There are an array of restaurants there too. Anything from the Mammoth Hotel Dining Room to the Old Faithful Geyser Grill; full service to light meals and fast food.

Services in the park include: boat rentals and charters, camping inside and outside the park, horseback riding, stores and gift shops, bookstores, daycare and kennels. Fun things to do include: photo tours, bicycling, hiking and backpacking, nature hikes, boating, fishing, and much more.

If you are looking for a great family trip you can’t beat Yellowstone – the kids will love it and so will you!