National Park Service - Centennial and Legacy!

August 25, 2016

Today is the National Park Service's 100th birthday. What a codger! In all truth, it is pretty darn cool that we've had an institution dedicated (more or less) to conservation for so long. But equally as cool  is the legacy that the Service has built up in its century of existence. The United States' National Park system has been hugely influential in international conservation, serving as a model for other nations in creating their own parks systems. So for my contribution to today's celebrations, I thought I might take it a little sideways and share some images from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, a National Park in Botswana and the second largest game reserve on the planet. I was fortunate enough to spend several days there in back in 2014 as part of a college research trip.

CKGR is a place where you can feel with your whole being the heart-filling expansiveness of the morning sky. It's almost dream-like, the abundance of space and life. There's an unbelievable remote feeling, like what you get when backpacking, but for hundreds of miles in all directions. Despite the presence of primitive roads, it's true wilderness. As a testament to the sheer size of the park, just take the fact that out there it was hard to find an elephant.

Just walking on the same ground as all of those incredible animals was exhilarating, seeing Lion and Leopard and Elephant tracks in the dust and knowing that they were out there somewhere living their lives in accordance with their nature. You get this real sense of how inhabited the world was before the spread of human civilization: every inch, even in the arid semi-desert, teems with life. It makes you endlessly grateful that there are still wild places. That there are still parks.

So in thinking of all of that life, and all of the life around the world sheltered by the ever-expanding Parks system, I'd like to extend my own personal bow of gratitude to the National Parks Service and all of the people within it. Thank you!

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