After learning about the National Parks Passport program, we did some more research on the stamps and where to get them. The program was launched in 1986 to encourage people to visit the National Parks. Most parks and landmarks do have stamps, but it is a voluntary program.
We have found our stamps in the visitors centers and gift shops. There is usually a little section with a desk set up and the stamp and stamp pad out. They sometimes have paper so you can test the stamp out first and get a good impression. The stamps are dated, so you can test that the date is correct before you add it to your passport.
There are several regions in the National Park service. Pacific Northwest/Alaska, the North Atlantic, the Mid-Atlantic, Rocky Mountain, Southwest, Midwest, National Capitol, Western and Southeast. Each region has its own color stamp. Pacific Northwest and Alaska are blue, the North Atlantic is brown, Mid-Atlantic is light blue, Rocky Mountain is yellow, the Southwest is gray, Midwest is orange, National Capitol is red, Western is green and Southeast is purple. Sometimes, there are no stamp pads or the stamp is low on ink. Craig bought me a small set of craft stamps that match the National Park region colors and it will be easy to take one along now when we travel. Just in case!
I also found out that there is a group called the National Park Travelers Club! They are a group of people that love visiting the National Parks. They have conventions around the country and on their website there are forums and a master pin database. If you would like access to the database, the annual fee is around $10. There are hundreds of stamps listed by region in their database! You can search by region and print a list out to take with you when you travel. You will also gain access to a member forum section. Members talk about new stamps, travel, etc. It turns out there are many unofficial stamps like this cool Buffalo we got at the Lamar Buffalo Ranch in Yellowstone. We had to have a volunteer open up the gift shop for us to stamp it.
Near the passports in the visitor centers and gift shops, you will also see stickers. There are new collectable stickers every year that you can also add to your passport. I only added a few because they take up a lot of room. You can also stamp your own book or a map, piece of paper, etc. to add to a scrapbook. I love the passport because it is small, has a lot of information in it and it supports the parks.
I have some stamp information and pictures on my National Parks Pinterest page as well!
In September 2013 my husband Craig and I went to an event at the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site in Saugus, MA. At the visitor center and gift shop, I noticed a whole section for National Park Passports. I had never seen them before. For years Craig and I had wanted to visit Yellowstone, Yosemite and our other National Parks. We decided that day to buy one of the passports and make it our goal to visit as many National Parks, Historic Sites and Monuments as we could!
There are kids passports, regular passports and even a whole binder system that you can store stickers and extra pages in. The passports come with a nice fold out map of all of our National Park, NHS, NRA, etc. locations. Here are the different designations.
Since buying our passport we have visited Fort Matanzas and Castillo de San Marcos in Saint Augustine, FL, the Salem, MA National Historic Site, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. This year we are headed to the Golden Gate NRA, Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Joshua Tree, The Mighty 5 in Utah, Mesa Verde, the Grand Canyon and Acadia-WHEW! Next year we are heading back to Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton and Glacier National Park for our 20th anniversary. We hope to go to Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii soon.
I hope you will join us in our quest to get as many National Park Passport stamps as we can fit in our book! I will post links to our YouTube channel, Instagram and Pinterest sites so you can view some of these amazing places along with us.
Next year-2016 is the 100th anniversary of the National Parks and I hope this will inspire you to visit a park near or far.