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according to...

Sunday, January 24, 2016
...the cover story of my National Geographic magazine, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the US National Parks system. I think the first one was Yellowstone? If memory serves, it had something to do with Teddy Roosevelt, and his desire to preserve the untamed wilderness of the west?

So I have been googling, thinking it would be a good plan to try to visit a national park once a month during their celebratory year. I discovered the most visited of all is the Great Smoky Mountains, straddling the state line between TN and NC. Probably most popular due to the population density along the eastern seaboard, and proximity/convenience of travel for vacationers. And second behind the Smokies is Grand Canyon - much less accessible, as it is  not really 'on the way' to anywhere - you have to deliberately want to go to get there.

But sadly, I do not find any National Parks close by that would be an easy day's adventure. There are lots of historic sites like Andersonville Cemetery, or the Little White House at Warms Springs, where FDR enjoyed vacations and surreptitious assignations. Or the boyhood home of former President Carter in Plains, GA. But no National Parks.

I was poking around and found a Battlefield in SC, not too far from Greenville, that was an important event in the Revolutionary War. And one over in east Alabama, where Andrew Jackson made a name for himself in an Indian massacre. So I am leaning towards Horseshoe Bend National Battlefield, though it sort of makes me sad that men with muskets and gunpowder fought a very one-sided skirmish against natives armed with hatchets, knives and bows. Of course the white man won- he had no intention of fighting 'fair'.

I am some how surprised to discover there are not more National Parks. But there are so many other preserved areas with some sort of federal designation, like presidential libraries, or birthplaces of signers of the US Constitution, or fortifications along the east coast. So there's plenty to see and visit during the coming months, though I am sort of bummed that Parks are not more accessible from here.

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