By Michael Lanza
Backpacking in the Grand Canyon, Glacier, Olympic, Rocky Mountain, North Cascades, and Mount Rainier (lead photo, above) national parks. Hiking to Yosemite’s waterfalls. Paddling the Everglades and sea kayaking Glacier Bay. Rock climbing in Joshua Tree, and cross-country skiing in Yellowstone. In one magical year, we took 11 national park adventures with our kids, sharing experiences that expanded their understanding of their world, times filled with joy and wonder.
I wrote about that year of family wilderness adventures in my book, Before They’re Gone—A Family’s Year-Long Quest to Explore America’s Most Endangered National Parks, which won a National Outdoor Book Award honorable mention. In it, I also explore how climate change is affecting each of these incomparable places in a singular and tragic way, virtually ensuring that they will all be radically changed in a generation—by the time my children are my age.
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The photo gallery below contains a photo from each park we visited. Click on the name of any park above to read my story at The Big Outside about it, where you will see more photos, trip-planning information, and often a video. Read an excerpt from my book.
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