Yesterday we returned home from two weeks down east. We spent time in Quebec City, Halifax, Nova Scotia and Maine. By far, our favourite days were exploring our continent’s beautiful national parks.
In the United States, the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The first National Park in the United States was Yellowstone in Wyoming. In Canada, our national park system is even older—the first national park established in Canada was Banff National Park in 1885. Dave and I have been to both of these remarkable places and I encourage you to go.
On this trip, we explored three national parks—Kouchibougouac National Park in New Brunswick, Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia and Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island in Maine.
On our last night camping in Acadia, we went to a talk given by the park ranger called “National Treasures: the story of our national parks”. The reasons why these unique places were preserved was because a select few people, visionaries, recognized the importance of preserving these important ecosystems while at the same time, making them accessible to people to enjoy for generations to come.
The park ranger asked an interesting question. What if one hundred years ago, these same people had designated Niagara Falls a national park? How different would that landscape and experience be? It was a theme Dave and I discussed several times this trip after visiting places like Peggy’s Cove, a quaint fishing village now overrun with tour buses and tourists.
This week’s #HappyAct is to explore a national park. Pitch a tent and gaze at the stars or just explore for a day. See why these incredible places have been designated national treasures and commune with nature.
Instead of trying to describe these magical places in words, I’ll share their beauty in pictures.
If you go with kids: both our national parks and the U.S. park service has a “junior rangers” program where kids are given a booklet and encouraged to answer questions about the park’s attractions. In Canada, Clare collected dog tags at each national park and historic site we visited—in the U.S. they give out badges for junior rangers who complete their booklets.
Ed. note: In the U.S., Niagara Falls was a state park but was designated by Congress in 2008 as a National Heritage Area. In Canada, the Niagara Parks Commission was formed to preserve Niagara’s beauty.