Not only is it National Parks Week, but it is also Earth Day! The holiday was created to to demonstrate support for environmental protection worldwide and is celebrated annually on April 22.
Campers can participate in many Earth Day celebrations, but the best way to celebrate is by camping with "leave no trace" practices year round. Leave No Trace is an international program designed to educate outdoor enthusiasts with their decisions about how to reduce their impacts when enjoying the environment. Common practices include:
- Dispose of waste properly
- Leave what you find
- Minimize campfire impacts and only use existing fire pits
- Respect wildlife
- Travel and camp on durable surfaces
The Wilderness Act of 1964 will celebrate its 50th birthday on September 3, 2014. More than 300 events will take place across the country to commemorate the historic act of nature preservation and conservation.Learn more about the history of the wilderness act and what a wilderness designation means.
In honor of the 50th birthday of the Wilderness Act, About Camping asked are your favorite wilderness areas; the votes are in and the Top 5 U.S. Wilderness Areas have been decided. For more information on events or how you can participate in wilderness celebrations, see this list of wilderness resources.
Photo: Minaret Lake in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sierra Nevada, California. | © Monica Prelle
The moon will turn red tonight in a total lunar eclipse like no other you've seen before. When the full moon moves into the darkest part of the Earth's shadow, the moon will start to glow copper red.
The eclipse begins at 12:53 EDT and ends at 6:36 EDT on April 15, 2014. The best viewing of the total lunar eclipse is in North America and the Pacific. For more information on the event, visit the NASA Lunar Eclipse page.
Illustration: © NASA
April is a great month for festivals and events in the national parks. From the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. to a Spring Wildflower Weekend at Cumberland Historic Park. Here is a listing of a few of our favorite events in the National Parks this April.
Photo: The annual Cherry Blossom Festival at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. | Getty Images / Driendl Group / The Image Bank
The latest reader submitted campground reviews are from Nevada, Oklahoma and Washington.
- Sam's Town RV Park and Campground - Las Vegas, Nevada
- River View RV & Recreational Park - Colbert, Oklahoma
- Grayland Beach State Park - Grayland, Washington
- Buckboard Crossing National Forest Campground - Green River, Wyoming
The latest reader submitted campground reviews are from Louisiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
- Red River Midway Marina RV Park - Natchitoches, Louisiana
- Mosquito Lake State Park - Cortland, Ohio
- Echo Valley Campground - Tremont, Pennsylvania
Tom Petty said it best when he sang "you belong among the wildflowers." And maybe you should camp among the wildflowers too.
Spring is a great season to get out the camping gear and head to the wilderness, hopefully in time for the wildflower bloom. Depending on the climate of your destination you may be able to see wildflowers at different times of the year.
Check out our 7 favorite destinations to see wildflowers this spring and hopefully, into summer!
Photo: Getty Images / Ed Reschk / Photo library
Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas is the oldest federally designated site in the national park system. It was originally designated "Hot Springs Reservation" in 1832, but first became a United States territory in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
Read more about Hot Springs National Park, a National Park Getaway.
On April 20, 1832, President Andrew Jackson signed legislation to set aside "...four sections of land including said (hot) springs, reserved for the future disposal of the United States (which) shall not be entered, located, or appropriated, for any other purpose whatsoever."
This makes Hot Springs National Park the oldest national park among current system, predating Yellowstone National Park by forty years. Unfortunately, Congress failed to pass any legislation for administering the site. As a result, no controls were exerted in the area, and people continued to settle there, building businesses around and over the springs.
On August 25, 1916, Congress established the National Park Service, and Hot Springs Reservation came under its administration and was eventually designated as the eighteenth national park on March 4, 1921.
Read more about Hot Springs National Park, a National Park Getaway.
Photo: Ladies' Hour at Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. Circa 1870. | © Deluxe Stuido, NPS Historic Collection
Campers around the country are California dreaming. With its moderate climate, sunshine, and variety of landscapes, Southern California is a top camping destination. Check out the best spots to pitch a tent at the beach in So. Cal. including Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.
We have a photo gallery of top spots for California camping getaway, new campground reviews and features on a few top destinations in California to help you get started planning a a summer camping trip in the golden state.
New California Camping Guides:
New Campground Reviews:
- Bothe Napa State Park Campground, Napa Valley, California
- Benton Hot Springs Campground, Benton, California
California Camping Photo Gallery:
Photo: Leo Carillo State Park, north of Malibu, California. | © Monica Prelle
Photo: A tent camper at Leo Carillo State Park. The beach is just steps away from the campground. | © Monica Prelle
Half Dome cables day use permits for the 2014 hiking season will be available for reservation starting tomorrow, Saturday, March 1, through Monday, March 31, 2014. Permits to hike to the top of Half Dome are required seven days per week and reservations will be distributed via a lottery system. Successful parties will be notified in mid-April. A maximum of 300 hikers will be allowed on the Half Dome cables per day.
Reservations for the permits can be made online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
Approximately 50 subsequent daily permits will be available each day by lottery during the hiking season. These permits are made available based on the number of no-shows and cancellations from the pre-season lottery. The permits must be applied for two days in advance of the desired hiking date. Reservations for the two-day in advance permits can also be made through www.recreation.gov.
Hiking to the top of Half Dome is one of the most popular hikes in Yosemite National Park. The iconic granite monolith, at 8,842 feet above sea level, attracts people from all over the world who attempt to climb to the summit. Most visitors ascend Half Dome via the cables, which are typically in place from mid-May through mid-October. Most visitors begin and end their hike at Happy Isles in Yosemite Valley. This is an approximately 17 mile round-trip journey.