The Next Generation of Park Lovers…

I have been waiting 7 months to write this post and can’t hardly contain myself as I write.  My Granddaughter Haven was born to my oldest daughter and her fiancé this past September.  She has brought such joy to our family.  I have been waiting for Haven to be old enough to travel and the weather to be warm enough for us to make a day trip to our closest National Park – Cuyahoga Valley (CVNP).  CV is only 2 hours from our house.  We were fortunate to have perfect Spring weather for the day enabling us to get in two short hikes.

Our first stop was at the Boston Store Visitor Center.  Inside, I bought Haven her first park passport.  My daughter assisted her to collect her first park stamp.

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We did a short walk around inside and I chatted up the rangers about our most recent park visits in Southern Florida.    I have found that the Rangers always love hearing about guests experiences at the other parks.   The picture below just melts me every time I look at it.

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The Buckeye Trail, a 1,400 mile loop trail around the state of Ohio, passes through CV so we hiked .3 mile stretch out and back.  We weren’t there to rack up miles, but rather for the kids to get a high-level impression of this park.  CV only covers 33,000 acres and is bisected horizontally by the Ohio Turnpike.  Two other major interstates run vertically along the eastern and western edges of the park making for a unique experience compared to other parks.

Our second stop was at Brandywine Falls boardwalk.  These falls are without question the pinnacle experience not to miss when visiting this park.  To see a waterfall like this so near major cities like Cleveland and Akron make this even more special.

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Hopefully, this is just the first of many parks that miss Haven will get to visit.  As she gets older, I want her to experience the Jr. Ranger program and begin to appreciate the treasure our National Park system really is.  I love the way Dayton Duncan talks about the parks in his PBS documentary he did with Ken Burns.  I’ll paraphrase his words.  These parks belong to each of us.  We are visiting our property and our only requirement is to keep them as they are.   Pass them along to the next generation preserved the way we found them.

April 14th, 2017 is a red letter entry in my journal.  This was a special day for me to share with Haven.  The day Mimi and Papa took her to her first National Park and hopefully passed along our love of the parks to another generation…

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