Posted by: Kirsten | Sunday, 22 July 2007

Passport to Your National Parks

How many of you out there collect stamps from the National Parks and Monuments you visit? As you might have guessed, our family does too. Actually, to be more precise, I collect them under the guise of collecting them for my kids. There, I admitted it — I’m a helpless Passport Stamp junkie.

National Parks passport stamps -- gotta have 'em In my personal quest to visit every National Park unit before I die, somewhere along the way I thought it might be important to actually have “proof” that I visited all these NPS units. Some don’t have stamps (like the Baltimore-Washington Parkway — and if there really is one please let me know) while other parks have several stamps for different parts of the same park.

For those of you that do collect the stamps, how many of you have been pressed for time and have driven up to a National Park only to get the stamp?  Come on, admit it.  Yes, I have — guilty as charged.  Well, I didn’t exactly drive.

My wife and I did an Alaska cruise to celebrate our 10th anniversary and we brought the kids along to make it a family trip.  The ship conveniently travelled to several National Park units like Wrangell-St. Elias NP for closeup looks at a giant glacier, Klondike Gold Rush NHP for a taste of gold fever in Skagway, and Sitka NHP for a look at the intersection of Russian, American, and native Tlingit cultures.

Upon disembarking at Sitka Island, I knew our time was limited so I quickly scoured the town for any sign of a “taxi” or other car for hire.  Not one!  Since the kids were young and we were all rather tired, we decided it was too far to walk to Sitka NHP and headed back to the cruise ship after some lunch and souvenir shopping in the town.

But the thought of passing by Sitka Island without seeing or stepping foot in the park was killing me. I gave my wife some lame excuse about having to go back to the island, caught the very last water taxi from the cruise ship to the island, and that gave me 45 minutes to make it to the park and back.  I walked really fast.  I jogged for a short while, then continued walking, then jogged some more.  I made it in about 15 minutes to the Visitor Center, got our Passport book stamped, took some lovely photos of the totem poles, bought the kids a souvenir, and started back.  I made it to the last returning water taxi with 10 minutes to spare.  Was I worried?  Nah…  Anything for that Passport Stamp.  I’ll be back someday for a real visit — I hope.



  1. Hey Jon,

    Thought you might be interested in this group which are big passport stamp collectors –

    and their discussion group at MSN –

    Within the next week I’ll be posting an interview with the club president on the National Parks Traveler website. They are a neat group.

  2. I like skagway’s train-shaped stamp. It is fun.

  3. I like bikes.

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