This time of year brings a delightful display of fall colors, splashing their way across the nation. Joined by crisp autumn air, these stunning hues give way to a harvest of pumpkins, corn mazes, costumes and more. Of course, we happen to think that the best place to find the crimson red and burnt orange colors of fall is in your very own national parks!

Need help deciding where to go? No problem. Use our 2012 Fall Foliage Guide to plan your adventure.

Can’t make it to a park on this list? Click here to find a park near you.

Honoring the Legacy of
César Chávez
Celebrate Halloween
in the Parks
L.L. Bean Million Moment Mission Ends and the Fun Begins

Honoring the Legacy of César Chávez

As the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month concluded, NPF’s American Latino Heritage Fund  proudly joined the President of the United States Barack Obama, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and NPS Director Jon Jarvis, in establishing the César E. Chávez National Monument as the 398th national park. Located in Keene, California, the Monument commemorates the home and final resting place of renowned Latino civil rights activist, César E. Chávez, which also served as the former headquarters for the labor movement he helped create – the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).  ALHF provided $150,000 needed to open and fund operations of the national monument throughout its first year.

Photo: Norma Vega, Principle at Ibarra Strategy Group, Midy Aponte, Executive Director of ALHF and Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of NPF, attending the designation of the César E. Chávez National Monument

Celebrate Halloween in the Parks

Looking for a “spook”tacular way to spend your Halloween? From ghost stories to costume contests, our national parks offer great ways to trick or treat your way to a hauntingly good time with the family! Here are a few events taking place around the country and for more festive events, click here.

Lincoln Home NHS (Illinois)  Safe Trick or Treat, October 26th 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Wear your costume and stop by for candy, children’s programs, games, and more. Bring a canned good item to help feed families in need.

Santa Monica Mountains NRA (California) Creatures Creeping, October 27th 6:00pm to 8:00pm
As the sun goes down, the night comes alive. Hear some Halloween tales on an easy 1-mile walk, as we look and listen for coyotes, scorpions, and owls.

Rock Creek Park (Washington, DC) The Weird and Spooky Night Sky, October 31st 4pm
Come to the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium in your Halloween costume and learn about the spooky stars, planets and constellations in the night sky. This program is geared for the youngest of astronomers. 

Canyon De Chelly NM (Arizona) Halloween Costume Contest, October 31st
Put on your ghoulish garb and compete for prizes in this Halloween costume contest!

“Like us” on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for a countdown of other national park happenings leading up to Halloween!

For a full listing of events happening in parks nationwide, click here.

L.L. Bean Million Moment Mission Ends and the Fun Begins

In January, L.L. Bean launched the Million Moment Mission in celebration of its 100th anniversary. We are excited to announce that in only 10 months, the goal has been reached! One million people have shared their park moments (photos, stories, etc.), resulting in a $1 million donation to the National Park Foundation to support youth programming in our national parks, through the America’s Best Idea grant program. During 2012 and 2013, kids will have the opportunity to get outdoors and work on fun projects in the national parks, here are just a few of the projects made possible through L.L. Bean’s generous donation:

The Assateague Adventure Academy at Assateague Island National Seashore, which encourages students to participate in recreational activities along the seashore, like kayaking and digging for clams.

Eighteen high school students from the rural communities surrounding Voyageurs National Park and the urban Twin Cities participated in the National Park Teen Ambassadors program, in which they had the opportunity to camp, canoe, hike, learn outdoor skills, and learn about environmental stewardship and leadership.

Archaeological work in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, through which Cherokee youth and the local high schools engage in a two-week dig supervised by professional archaeologists.

L.L. Bean is committed to being a steward of our natural resources, supporting its local communities and has been a longtime supporter of the national parks. To learn more click here.


National Christmas Tree Lighting Ticket Lottery Opens on October 25th!

The National Park Foundation and National Park Service are honored and excited to present the 90th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting on Thursday, December 6 on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. You can join us for this time-honored holiday tradition by entering the online lottery for FREE tickets to the ceremony. The ticket lottery will begin at 10 AM ET on Thursday, October 25 and will remain open until 10:00 AM ET on Monday, October 29. To enter the lottery, go to  www.thenationaltree.org and click the "Ticket Lottery" link.

The National Christmas Tree Lighting is a production of the National Park Foundation and National Park Service with support from premier sponsor, UL. Per tradition, the President of the United States is invited to light the National Christmas Tree and deliver a message of peace to the nation. The ceremony also includes holiday performances from some of today’s most popular recording artists. 

The ceremony will be streamed live at thenationaltree.org starting at 4:30 PM ET on December 6. PBS stations will also air the show throughout the month of December. You can find broadcast dates and times at thenationaltree.org or by checking local listings.

The National Parks in a New Light

The power of national parks is not only in their ability to inspire us, but in their ability to transform us.

The “In a New Light” project, made possible through NPF’s America’s Best Idea grant program, began in 2010 with 26 at-risk youth who embarked on a six month photographic journey of discovery, hope, and healing on the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. When the project began, most had never held a camera, but with proper photographic equipment, instruction, and countless hours immersed in the wild beauty of the Riverway, the boys created stunning photographs featured in a touring exhibit seen by over 20,000.

In 2011 participants involved in the project spent the summer exploring and photographing the sights and sounds of the Badlands, Isle Royale, Yellowstone, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. The project recently produced a captivating video documenting their summer experience—showcasing the beauty of the parks, and the talent of the participants. The video can be viewed left or by clicking here.

To find out how you can support programs like these, click here.

Best of the Road

We know our GoParks community knows all the best tips and tricks to incredible park adventures and now your memories can earn $$ for the national parks!  Rand McNally’s exploring the ‘Best of the Road’ all around America, making stops in small towns, local haunts and even national parks to collect the best reviews, blogs, photos and videos for road trip inspiration. Rand McNally will donate $1 when you post a photo to the BEST OF THE ROAD Facebook wall or when you tweet or instagram a photo with the tags #nationalparks and #bestoftheroad!  Supporting your parks couldn’t be easier!!

Capture Your National Park Moments

With autumn upon us, there is no better time to visit and photograph the natural beauty that is found within the parks. The National Park Foundation, Active Network and, our media partner, Destination America, invite you to submit your fall foliage photos in the Share the Experience photo contest for a chance to have your photo featured on the 2014 annual Federal Recreational Lands Pass and to win $15,000.

Don't miss out, enter your photos today!

Restoring an American Treasure

The next time you find yourself in historic Georgetown, make your way down Lovers’ Lane and turn left into the gates of Washington’s own secret garden: Dumbarton Oaks Park. A 27-acre pastoral oasis, the park unfolds along miles of trails through shaded woodlands, wildflowers, and meadows, over rustic bridges and waterfalls. Once the “wild” garden of the Dumbarton Oaks estate, the Park was donated to the public in 1940 and since has been managed by the National Park Service. Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy, a new nonprofit dedicated to working with NPS on the sustainable restoration of this treasure, is kicking-off a planned restoration of the entire Park with an initial two-acre Signature Project. At the historic Beech Grove of grand, century-old trees, this first phase of restoration tackles each challenge facing the Park as a whole: stormwater, invasive weeds, historic stonework restoration, and establishing a sustainable plant community. Visit the Conservancy’s website, www.dopark.org, for directions to the Park and to learn more about the restoration effort.


Want ideas for an unforgettable family adventure this fall? Download your FREE copy of Happy Trails: 25 Unforgettable National Park Hikes today!

National Park Foundation
National Park Service
Flight 93 National Memorial
This Is Your Land

Forty years ago this month, the smallest of our 398 national parks was established—name the park.

Submit Your Answer Here

And congratulations to last month's winner, Jeff McKenney, from Franklin, TN, who knew that Fort Scott National Historic Site, built 170 years ago, was an important supply depot for Union troops and a military prison holding Confederate soldiers during the Civil War.

Way to go Jeff!

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