Yosemite: “Less a Place than an Experience”

June 29, 2016

June 30 is the anniversary of the Yosemite Grant, the birth of the national park idea. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant Act in 1864. In October of the following year, 40,000 acres of sublime glacier-carved California wilderness debuted under the name Yosemite Valley—now the most visited portion of today’s larger Yosemite National Park.

1864 photo of Yosemite Valley by Charles Leander Weed

1864 photo of Yosemite Valley by Charles Leander Weed

Although the inaugural act did not make Yosemite the first national park, the grant did set the stage for the formation of national park system in later years. It was the first time the U.S. Government moved to protect wild lands.

The National Park Service’s publication “A Sense of Place: Design Guidelines for Yosemite National Park” is available now through the U.S. Government Online Bookstore:

A Sense of Place: Design Guidelines for Yosemite National Park

024-005-01295-8This book conveys design knowledge from park service professionals who have devoted their careers to respecting the natural feel, rhythm, and patterns of what is, as former National Park Service Deputy Director John J. Reynolds writes in the opener, “less a place than an experience.” Their designs have been considerate of a wilderness of “immense rock forms, thundering waterfalls, pristine wilderness, serene meadows, and ancient groves of sequoias.”

Thus, these design guidelines operate as an ethic, a set principles to guide sustainable architectural and landscape work and maintain the distinctive character of Yosemite. It’s a reference book for anyone working to make the built environment compatible with the incomparable natural surroundings. And it’s an assurance that all structures and facilities will be aligned with the park’s values and spirit. Maps and historical images tell the tale of a natural splendor that has endured because of this very conscientiousness and reverence.

President Theodore Roosevelt called Yosemite a “great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man.” A serene valley protected for public use and preservation in the midst of the Civil War became a piece of America’s natural heritage. Yosemite continues to draw visitors and conservationists from around the world. With the right design guidelines in place, it will continue to inspire generations of Americans to find peace in the masterpieces of nature.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


A Way for Kids to Celebrate the National Park Centennial

June 6, 2016

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service (NPS). The agency was entrusted with a mission to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

024-005-01321-1This year, the National Park Service launches a second century of environmental stewardship and historic preservation. As NPS looks to its next 100, it invites everyone, especially kids, to experience one of over 400 national parks and monuments.

Children can join the national parks birthday celebration with the Centennial Junior Ranger activity booklet. It’s an activity-filled, adventure-based guide to explore, learn, and have fun in natural places. I’ll let some of the pages from this colorful, informative guide do the talking…click on each image to enlarge.

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This booklet comes with a bonus! Upon completing select activities, kids can bring the booklet to any national park visitor center to receive an official Junior Ranger badge.

As part of NPS’ Every Kid in a Park program, admission to all national parks is free for the entire year for fourth graders and their families. And with several fee-free days scheduled throughout 2016, it’s possible to get every kid and every family in a park. The more that people care about America’s special outdoor wonderlands, the more likely they will be around in 2116.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THIS PUBLICATION?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


This National Park Week, Be a Junior Ranger!

April 14, 2016

April 16-24 is National Park week and 2016 is the National Park Service’s (NPS) centennial year. National parks symbolize America’s spirit of discovery. Although protected today, parks need stewardship for tomorrow. The NPS activity-based Junior Ranger program aims to turn young visitors into lifelong enthusiasts. GPO makes available several park-specific booklets to help 5- to 12-year-olds explore “America’s best idea.”

The White House Junior Ranger Activity Guide

Home. Workplace. Museum. And National Park! The White House, home to every president and first family since 1800, is the only building in the world that fits all those categories. Since 1933, The White House has operated under the National Park System. That piece of presidential acreage sees millions of visitors each year. Now there’s a new fact-filled White House guide that appeals to both kids and adults.

9780160929892This booklet drops some great presidential trivia. Abigail Adams used the East Room to hang laundry. Dolly Madison saved a famous painting of George Washington from the War of 1812 fire. Edith Wilson was the first to showcase custom patterned china. All White House occupants leave a visible impression but first ladies drive the story of expansion, design, and entertainment. Beyond aesthetics, the booklet points out that first ladies were “champions for change.” President Harry Truman understood this well. He often introduced First Lady Elizabeth Truman as “the Boss.”

The booklet includes several pages of post-tour activities, including a President’s Park walking map, first family puzzle, and the ABC’s of architecture. Tip for parents: kids can present their booklet to a White House Visitor Center to be sworn in as a badged and certified Junior Ranger!

Redwood National and State Parks Junior Ranger Activity Booklet

Redwood Trees looking up Source: www.nps.gov

Redwood Trees looking up: http://www.nps.gov

Redwoods are the tallest trees on Earth. Living fossil records. But decades of commercial logging nearly decimated old-growth redwood forests of the North Coast region. In this booklet, Ranger Jim points out that “about 95% of the original coast redwood forest was cut down.” Although that statistic is dismaying, take heart. NPS is the capable caretaker of those special giants.

024-005-01316-4The booklet has dozens of activities families can complete while exploring redwood areas. Play tide pool bingo, be a tree detective, and fish for the right color. Write your observations in the ranger beach report. Solve the octopus tree mystery. Keep track of badge points. The fun and fascination are as endless as the redwoods are tall.

Next time you visit a national park, take a fact-filled activity booklet along!

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE PUBLICATIONS?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Black History Month: The Underground Railroad

February 5, 2016

February is Black History Month. It calls upon all Americans to honor African-American expressions of sacrifice and heroism throughout history. The earliest endeavors in the national civil rights struggle have much to do with the outcry against human bondage.

Prior to the Civil War, organized abolitionists were aided by the loosely interconnected Underground Railroad. Neither underground nor railroad, the UGGR, as it was known to patrons, was a scattered, clandestine network of antislavery diehards and freed blacks. Secret routes and safe houses dotted the antebellum landscape spanning from Georgia to Canada. Between the peak years of 1830 and 1865, it helped as many as one hundred thousand fugitive slaves escape to freedom.

Harriet Tubman (Library of Congress)

Harriet Tubman (Library of Congress)

Harriet Tubman, a UGGR conductor, remarked upon on her eight years spent freeing slaves: “I can say what most conductors can’t say—I never run my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” Tubman became a revered voice in the protest against the debasing injustices of slavery. In 2013, President Obama established the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument. You can read the park pamphlet available through GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

Today, the Underground Railroad is an atypical national park. It wasn’t until the 1990s that it came under the jurisdiction the National Park Service (NPS). After conducting a study of UGGR operations and primary routes, NPS was entrusted with its preservation and interpretation. You can read the act establishing the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom on GPO’s govinfo.gov.

024-005-01185-4In addition, the U.S. Government Bookstore makes available the following National Park Service publications:

Underground Railroad: Official Map and Guide

Underground Railroad: Official National Park Handbook

Discovering the Underground Railroad: Junior Ranger Activity Book

The Underground Railroad connected sympathizers with freedom seekers, freed with enslaved. The untold numbers of underground success stories sprouted above ground into a vast nexus of advocates and defenders. Unquestionably, the UGGR ride to freedom helped lay the tracks for the civil rights movement of the 20th century. During this Black History Month, may we admire that extraordinary effort to liberate a people and the larger African-American journey to freedom in all its forms.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Click on the Links: For the free resources, click on the links above in the blog post.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


On National Bird Day, Find Refuge in Wild America

January 4, 2016

“Wake up with the birds. Arrive in the early morning (or late afternoon) when wildlife is most active.” So reads a line from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System: A Visitor’s Guide. It’s a fitting piece of guidance since January 5th is 14th annual National Bird Day. This observance was established to raise awareness for the survival and contributions of native wild birds. Fortunately, the unspoiled terrain of America’s 560 national wildlife refuges provide a protected home to more than 700 bird species and so much more.

024-010-00724-9The concept of a “network of federal lands dedicated specifically to wildlife conservation” began with President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903. A king conservationist, he signed off on the first wildlife refuge at Florida’s Pelican Island. Today, the National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) System cooperatively manages 150 million acres of nationwide wild wealth. It’s also a sanctuary for 380 threatened or endangered species, including the rare bald eagle.

Every state has at least one wildlife refuge. And there’s at least one within an hour’s drive from every major American city. That means pretty much everyone has access to an outdoor preservation-recreation experience. In fact, the success of this system is dependent upon human activity. So much so that one side of the visitor’s guide highlights a good-sized list of recreational and educational opportunities. Wildlife viewing seasons and photography spots; historic sites and nature trails; and boating, fishing and hunting are vertically marked in the fold-out publication.

Indigo Bunting (excerpt from publication)

Indigo Bunting (excerpt from publication)

It’s hardly surprising that noncontiguous Alaska and Hawaii get their own breakout boxes on the NRW map. Alaska hosts 90 percent of Refuge System wilderness and Hawaii is, well, dazzling Hawaii. But why does the map call out North Dakota? It so happens that the Peace Garden State (best official state nickname ever) contains 63 National Wildlife Refuges, more than any other state. Way to go, ND!

From Aroostook in Maine to Ten Thousand Islands in Florida, Three Arch Rocks in Oregon to Big Boggy in Texas, national wildlife refuges are a celebration of America’s natural heritage. Clean grasslands, wetlands, forests, coastal backwaters form the anchoring landscapes. Animals such as whooping cranes, cutthroat trout, and brown bears are the occupants. But it’s the committed efforts of citizen-stewards who keep this all thriving. So get out there, people. Find refuge in wild America!

How do I obtain this publication?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.

 


The Wright Stuff: Skies & World Transformed

December 16, 2015

They called Dayton, Ohio home and used the wind-shaped dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina as a lift off point. Both places were testing grounds, temporary assignments. For it was the unopened blue that beckoned them skyward and homeward. On December 17th, 1903, the Wilbur and Orville Wright stuck their first—and the world’s first—successful flight in a heavier-than-air, mechanically controlled machine. Twelve seconds in the air turned into over 100 years of aviation progress.

024-005-01212-5Those sibling inventors behind the defining technology of the last century are the subject of a National Park Service handbook entitled “First Flight, The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Airplane.” In his forward, astronaut and former U.S. Senator John Glenn defers to the duo as the “first astronauts. Their initial short flight opened our quest to reach beyond the world we know. They were the first test pilots.”

In ‘First Flight’, noted Wright biographer Tom D. Crouch recounts their bicycle shop beginnings, hometown life, and aeronautical experimentations. Full page maps and fold-outs tell of the history, visionaries, and mechanics of flight. Pull-out quotes decorate the margins, lending a first person feel to Wilbur & Orville’s story.

Eye witnesses thought the pair were foolhardy—a few spokes short of a wheel. Kitty Hawk resident Millie Daniels said, “A lot of folks thought the Wrights were a little touched, you know…they would  imitate the way birds flew…turn their arms like wings and run through the dunes while watching the gulls.” The birdie brothers weathered the pitch-and-roll of small gains and minor setbacks. In search of strong headwinds to propel their glider, they eventually moved their production from Ohio to the sand flats of the Outer Banks.

The iconic first flight of the Wright brothers in their 1903 Wright Flyer (Credit: NPS Wright Brothers National Memorial)

The iconic first flight of the Wright brothers in their 1903 Wright Flyer (Credit: NPS Wright Brothers National Memorial)

Pitched in tents battered by bitter nor’easters, the Wrights set out to beta test the product of their scientific inquiries. Several seasons of experiments led to design changes that led to repairs that led to reattempts. Finally, on a cold morning of perfect conditions, sustained human flight was achieved. On his first glide into the air, Orville remarked, “It was only a flight of twelve seconds, and it was uncertain, wavy, creeping sort of flight at best; but it was a real flight at last…”

A foolhardy flying machine became a phenomena of human achievement. The Wright Brothers made their home above the world and consequently changed the world.

How do I obtain First Flight?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


Wildlife Conservation Day: Read About a Refuge

December 4, 2015

Where Steens Mountain and Blitzen Valley meet in Southeast Oregon, a prolific natural legacy lives in the form of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Such places of preservation take on special meaning come December 4th. That day is Wildlife Conservation Day, celebrated annually since the U.S. Department of State declared it so in 2012. In time for the observance, this blog spotlights a government book about the ecological and archeological abundance of one Oregonian sagebrush-covered basin.

024-001-03629-1The paper bag-brown exterior of the U.S. Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service publication Malheur’s Legacy: Celebrating a Century of Conservation, 1908-2008 betrays nothing of the beauty within. Open it up and you’ll find part picture book, part human history. Like so much of America’s landscape, Malheur’s grassy marshland has a lush story to tell.

Well before the refuge was formally gazetted in 1908, prehistoric climatic changes blueprinted the ecosystem. Undulating water flows created a meadowland for migratory wildfowl. Early Native Americans hunted off the spring-watered land. Many revolutions of the sun later, wagon trains of settlers wheeled in. Ranching transformed the wetlands. Hunters sourcing high fashion hat plumes nearly snuffed out the native bird species.

American avocet with chick (excerpt from publication).

American avocet with chick (excerpt from publication).

Conservationists cried fowl (terrible pun intended). Believing that “spread at our feet was a domain for wild fowl unsurpassed in the United States,” they passionately propositioned President Theodore Roosevelt to designate the hunted landscape a wildlife refuge. And now, over 100 years later, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is a protected home for over 320 bird species including the great egret, Northern pintail drake, and American avocet.

During the Great Depression, scores of young men of the Civilian Conservation Corps encamped in the area and completed numerous improvement projects. In the later half of the 20th century, refuge staff began digging into the long haul work of maintaining a premier wildlife habitat. Conservation management challenges were faced head on and bird homes were successfully safeguarded. Many of those protected waterfowl are pictured in the last 1/3 of the book.

Mahlheur’s Legacy is a story about nature, sure. But also nurture. It took a lot of manpower to set aside a land shaped by the past in order save it for the future. I hope you can set aside some time to read about it.

How do I obtain this publication?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Chelsea Milko, Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


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