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This is episode 46, happy National Park Week. Hello my friend and welcome to the travel gluten free podcast where you can listen in on how to lead a gluten free lifestyle with more fun and ease. This is a Elikqitie and I founded a travel gluten free for you. I love to be your resource contributor and support to you on your gluten free journey. Hey my friend, like always, there's going to be a listener shout out to an Instagram follower at the inner community at the end of every episode. If you're a listener who tags travel gluten free on Instagram, you'll be mentioned on the travel gluten free show. I'll give a shout out to a gluten free friend on every episode. Tag Travel gluten free on Instagram at travelglutenfree.me and I'll give you a shout out at the end of my show.
Alright, my friend, there really isn't a better way to learn about America's heritage than by going to the National park. So, National Park is actually next week, so we're celebrating a little early. It's from April 20th to April 28th is National Park Week. The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation invites everyone to celebrate America's treasured places during National Park Week. I always loved doing a National parks. There's so much fun, tons of activities to do, they're always one of my favorite places to travel. I've never gone to a National park and have been disappointed. It doesn't matter if they're big or small, National Parks System is going to wow you every time. The most recent one I went to was in Virginia and I went with the Spanish nomad. We hit some of the historic National parks out in Virginia, such as; Jamestown settlement, and they were a blast.
We learned so much about history and we also learned about some history items that we were taught wrong in school, such as; the pilgrims at Plymouth rock, we're not the first people to land in America from Europe. It was actually the people in Jamestown were the first people to land and settle in America from Europe. So, that was a little fun fact that both of us were taught wrong in our schools, in different countries. So, in this episode I'm going to give you the 411 on National parks activities to do when to go and how to navigate the park you choose to visit. I'm also going to take you on a brief tour of the National Park Service website and to tell you apart about the National Park Foundation.
So, let's dive in and we're going to chat about the National park service first. I'm not going to bore you with a huge amount of history, but I do want to give you some basics and background about the heritage of the National park system. It wasn't always a system, it was enacted on March 1st, 1872 and congress established Yellowstone National park in the territories of Montana and Wyoming. And they established it for the benefit and enjoyment of the people and put it under exclusive control of the secretary of the interior. So, the founding of Yellowstone Park did begin the National Park Movement and now we have over 1200 National parks in our nation, which is pretty incredible. I always see a lot of people coming from Europe to our parks.
And I know why now, after I've traveled through Europe a bit. It's because, there's many European countries have parks, but they don't have a National park system like we do in America. And it's really great system. And so, Woodrow Wilson actually signed the act, creating the National park service, a new federal bureau in the Department of the interior was responsible for protecting the 35 National parks and monuments and anything that was to be established. So, before 1916, although parks were National parks, but they weren't part of a system and they were kind of on their own with how they managed it. So, every park was managed completely differently. So, Woodrow Wilson put them all in a system and then they started getting managed and they started all having park Rangers and things of that sort. So, this act, that President Woodrow Wilson signed for the National Park Service said that the service established should promote and regulate the use of federal areas known as National parks, monuments and reservations. And to conform to the fundamental purpose of the parks, which is to conserve the scenery and the natural historic objects and the wildlife in the park and to provide for the enjoyment of people for generations.
And then in 1933, they transferred 56 National monuments and military sites from the forest service and the war department to the National Park Service. So, the National park service isn't just parks, it also consists of National monuments and National historical places as well. So, there's lots of things that are included in the National park service. So, what can you do in a National park? What do you want to do? Find out about local geographic features? Or, maybe you want to learn about the history of our country's government or the history of the local area or, maybe you want to learn about the ecosystem of the everglades. It might sound overwhelming, but, if you do want to go to a National park, what you to do is you definitely want to start at the National park service website at nps.gov. When you get to that site, that site is really great for planning. So, when you get to the nps.gov site, you'll see they're celebrating National park week.
If you're going on the site during National Park Week, which is April 20th through the 28th they have several things underneath, which says, this month's National Park Getaway reach for the stars because they have programs at night, healthy parks, healthy people, and a bunch of other stuff under there. So, if you want to find a park, all you have to do is when you land on the National Park Service page, there is a little banner and it says find a park by state. So, I am going to click on Utah, since I live in Utah. We have several beautiful National parks in Utah. And when I click on Utah, a map comes up and it tells me about the parks. So, and you can click on individual parks. So, the first park that comes up, we actually have a lot more, oh, because they have historical sites and we've got a ton in Utah. So, under, on the right it tells you by the numbers for each state. So, Utah is 13 National parks and almost 15 million visitors per year and that's over $1 billion economic benefit from National park tourism. And then it goes on and on to tell you about numbers.
So, National parks are a big draw in Utah for sure. And there's a few in the south, southern part of Utah and a few in the north and there's not a lot in the middle. So, you can see all of the National parks, monuments and lands that are in the state. So, I'm going to click on Arches and when I click on Arches, it tells me if I want to get their newsletter, I can receive their newsletter and it says it's a red rock wonderland. Now, what you can do is you can plan your visit. Each page for the park, talks about eating and sleeping, things to do, trip ideas. If you can camp there are not, accessibility and warnings if anything is not being able to be used. They have calendars, places to go, and there's lots of really great information. They have, photos of the park and they also have a map of the park and there's just so much information on here. But you can look on here and see what kind of hikes they have, in Arches you can only do camping and for things to do, they have auto touring, backpacking, biking, canyoneering, commercial tours, hiking.
I can't even fit them all on my screen, Horseback riding, photography, Ranger led programs, rock climbing and stargazing. So, there's so many things to do in a park. It's not just going to hike or look at or to take pictures. There's tons of activities you can do that are scheduled throughout the day and you will definitely never see a bored child at a park. because, one of the awesome things that my kids love to do at the parks and every National park has these, it's called a Ranger led program. So, they have general tours for anybody that wants to go. So, for Arches, there is a short interactive program that's 15 minutes, there's an evening program that's an hour long, there's the fiery furnace hike, which I heard is amazing. And there's also special events like stargazing and things like that.
So, some programs you have to make a reservation for, If you do, you can do that on the website. Now, about the junior Ranger program, it is really cool. So, what they do for the junior Ranger program is; each National park has a little activity book and they have it for different age levels. And then when you go in, you can ask for that activity book and when you get the activity book, the kids have certain things they have to find out at the park and they find those things out. And then once they're finished the book, they get this cute little badge that says I'm a junior Ranger and a little certificate. And then you as the parents as can take pictures of your kid with the Ranger, when they get their badge. And so, just fill it out on your own, they're not very hard, they're pretty easy and kids love doing those are really fun activities for kids to do.
And another website you definitely want to check out is the National Park Foundation. That's at National parks.org, and all these links will be on the website. And that is a foundation that supports the National parks. This foundation is pretty cool because obviously it supports the National parks, but they also have really great information on here, about climbing your mountains, so, if you want to claim your mountain, hike to your mountain, they talk about National park week, off the beat and track, discover lesser known parks, which is really cool.
So, you want to go this parks that aren't and so crowded, that's a great way to do it. A gear for park lovers and the park experience share your park. So, there's lots of really great, and they have a blog on here as well. And they talk about different experiences at different parks. So, obviously you can donate to them as well and they talk about their foundation, their leadership team and how you can connect through the National Park Foundation. So, definitely check out the National Park Foundation and you can donate to the parks.
Alright my friends were going to take a short break here and when we come back, we're going to talk about why you should get an annual pass for a National park. What to expect when you get to a park and what you should take with you to every park. Alright, let's jump back into the show.
So, I'm going to talk to you about why you should get an annual pass. So, an annual park pass is $80, and that might seem like a lot except, that an annual park pass covers everyone in your car and you may not know that and it covers everyone in your car for a year. So, it's really a great deal because usually it costs between 15 and $25 for a carload of people to get into a park. So, especially if you're coming to Utah for a few days and you want to see the park, just get an annual park pass because they're good all over the United States. You can go to any National park, historic monument or site in the United States with that park pass for $80 a year, which is super inexpensive. And if you're a senior and they have another discount as well, I believe for military, you can get it for even less than $80 a year. Bu,t $80 is a super great deal. I always have a park pass, the only thing is is it's not chipped or anything. So, if you do lose it, they will not replace it. You'll have to buy a new one. But, even if you do have to buy a new one, $160 for a whole family to go to multiple National parks and places and learn history and geology and do some really fun outdoor activities is such a great deal. So, definitely get an annual pass, even if you go to four parks a year, it's totally worth it.
So, what to expect at a park. So when you come to a National park, you're going to pull up and you're going to see the little kind of cabin looking thing that the National park Rangers are in and they ask you for your annual park pass, which you have to give them with your id or, if you're just paying for a single day. So, you pay as soon as you go in and all of the National parks have a visitor center, definitely, definitely check out the visitor center first with your group of people you're going with, your family, your friends, and grab a map. Well actually, they give you a map when you come in through the entrance. So, look at your map. They usually have a movie, so, I would definitely check out the movie. Or, you might want to save the movie for the way back as well, because especially in Utah, you're going to get really hot and the movies are air conditioned.
So, if you need to warm up or cool down, you might want to do that at lunch or on your way back out of the park. Just make sure you know what time the last movie is running so you don't miss it. So, there's a movie, there's usually exhibits, so, definitely check out the exhibits and familiarize yourself with the map and if you want to get some quick highlights in case you're not going to stay there long or if you want to just get some information, wait in line and ask a Ranger. The Rangers are so knowledgeable, you can walk in up to the counter and tell them, look we have a family, we just want to do like too easy hikes today. What do you suggest? Or I love doing back country hikes, what do you suggest? What are some things I could get permits for? So, a big range of ideas, anything that you'd like to do. They always have a suggestion, they're very super knowledgeable. So, definitely ask a Ranger at the counter for suggestions on what to do at the park. Tell them what you like and they always have suggestions and then they can circle it on your map and show you where to go and what to do. So, definitely do that before you go in the park.
I like to watch the movie before I go into the park too because it gives me a little bit of context of what I'm looking at. So, definitely check that out. Some parks have numbered places where you can stop and do your own self guided tour. Those are really fun, I've done those at a few parks. So, if you can do that, definitely do the self guided tours, especially if you're in the car, because you can get out as many of them as you want and stay as long as you want or you just want to stay there for a couple minutes, get some pictures and hop back in the car, you can do that too. Parks usually have like one big loop around where one way in and one way out. So, it's really easy to stop and see all the hikes and scenery. You don't even have to hike if you come to a park. If you'd like to they have a lot of pullouts. Where you can just pull your car over and take pictures.
n Utah Parks during the summer It's really hard to get into the pullouts because the parks are super crowded unless you go really early in the morning or after five o'clock in the afternoon. So, definitely keep that in mind. So, find out what to do, ask a Ranger, check out the movie, look at the exhibits and then definitely go out to the park. Now, what do you want to pack when you go to a park? because, you may not know what's there. So, when you go to a park, I can tell you from being Celiac, they're not going to have a lot of gluten free choices if they have any. So, you definitely want to pack snacks and a lunch for whoever is gluten intolerant or has special dietary needs. because, they don't have a lot of food choices at parks and they usually don't have ones that have dietary restrictions on them. So, definitely pack a lunch and snacks. If you're going anywhere that's warm like Utah, Utah is also dry. So, even if you come in the fall, it's going to be very, very dry. You definitely want to pack a camel back. A Camel back is one of those little backpacks that you put a water bladder in and one for each person so that you know you have enough water when you go on the trail.
So we make sure everybody has a a backpack with a water bladder in it. It doesn't have to be a Camel back, Camel back is just a brand name. You can go to a store like Walmart and get an inexpensive one for 30 bucks and they're really great because if you get a bigger backpack, you can put your lunch in your snacks in it for each person and just pack them every day before you go out. it's also really convenient to do that too because then everybody has their water and everybody has their snacks already packed in.
You can refill them because National parks at the visitor center and at other places throughout the park while water fountains. And so, you can just refill your water as you go along. And that way everybody has their own food and everybody has their own water and everybody carries their own stuff. So, it gives mom and dad a break so you don't have to carry everything. And it's really a convenient way to go when you're traveling, even in a car, a road trip, especially at National parks. So, I would definitely pack food, If you have food allergies or you're Celiacs and snacks and definitely a came lback with some water.
You can also put a small box in the back of your car with some different drinks that are okay if they get heated or cold. I like iced tea, so definitely pack those as well. And you definitely want some good walking or hiking shoes. I've seen people go to parks in flats, and heel,. you definitely don't want flax in heels. Definitely sweat wicking material, check the weather. And if you're in Utah, dress in layers, because, here's the deal with Utah, you don't like the weather, wait 20 minutes and as soon as the sun goes down, the temperature will drop 20 to 25 degrees, especially in the summertime because when the sun is out in Utah, it's really hot.
And then if you get in a shaded area, it cools down extremely fast just to know that. And if you're coming to Utah, it doesn't matter what time of year it is. Summer, fall, winter, spring always bring sunscreen because we are so high up and sometimes we're at a very high altitude and even if it's cold you can get really, really bad sunburn. So, I've seen skiers get really bad sunburn on their face because they think, oh, it's cold, I won't get sunburn. That is absolutely not true. Radiation does not care what the temperature is outside.
So, always bring sunscreen and always wear it on your face and your arms at any part that's exposed in Utah because you can easily get sunburned in Utah. So, those are my suggestions for what to pack when you go to a park. And definitely sunglasses if you're coming into Utah to because the sun is really bright. And your camera, these are kind of things that you want to pack all the time. But I definitely suggest a backpack with a water bladder, snacks and food for people like actual lunches for people that are a few sensitive Celiacs or have food allergies.
So, that's my basic 411 on parks. Definitely check out the nps.gov and check out the National parks foundation site. You can get tons of information about specific parks and if you have any questions about Utah Parks, definitely get ahold of me on my contact form on my website at travel, gluten free podcast.com. I will totally help you with any questions you have on if you're coming to visit a Utah Park. Because, I have been to all of them, they are all beautiful. And my next few episodes are going to be on specific Utah Parks. And I'm going to tell you a little bit about all of the National parks I've been to here. They're absolutely beautiful and gorgeous and I love every one of them. They all have their own little personality. They're like siblings, they're really great.
So, let's get into the three guilty gluten questions. So, when was the last time I cheated eating gluten? I don't, and the last time I got, I can't remember the last time I got poisoned, It has been a few months, so it's been really good. The food I'm missing most right now is croissants, because I'm seeing them everywhere. I did just pick up some Shar pastry, the puff pastry, so I'm super excited to use that. I haven't used that yet. And my best gluten free food, I have recently eaten, I think it was the Gff magazine Banana bread, that was really good. I made it last night and I made that, that wasn't something I bought at the store. So, I don't know if that's cheating, but I did have some really great quinoa, some organic quinoa. So, Smith's food store carries simple truth, which is the organic brand quinoa which is really, really good. And I liked it a lot. So, that's definitely one of the best prepared gluten free foods I've eaten.
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