Parking is allowed

I have been very impressed with the National Park system which we have been using extensively over the last few weeks. The first thing to be impressed with is the cost. At only $80 for the year [for two named persons – which could be anyone with the named persons in the same vehicle] it is really good value [we have already saved over $200 in enry fees]. The second thing is the quality of the programmes, facilities and education. The parks (forests and monuments) vary amazingly, from the evergaldes in Florida to Arches in Utah. You would need several years to “do” all the parks fully – Yellowstone alone has almost 1000 miles of trails (we did about 0.1% of these) but we have an impression now of the incredible range of geology, geography and biology of the Western half of the USA.

One interesting aside is the socio-cultural make-up of attendees at the park. There have been few hispanic or African-Americans at the parks we’ve attended (this in comparison, for example, to Phoenix zoo where there was a large mix). This seems to be true in the UK as well. I wonder why this is?

The parks system does seem to be underfunded and when $100 billion is being spend on the senseless war in Iraq I will be lobbying for more funding to go to the NPS and less on guns!

So, our adventure draws to a close with a few days on the beach and then a return to San Francisco for a trip to Alcatraz, a trip on a tram and a journey to John Muir woods. It will be strange to be back in the UK – things will seem smaller – and to be back into the grind of work; not to mention being in the same bed for two nights running!

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