Explore the great outdoors with the National Parks Services

Summer has finally arrived, and it marks the ideal time to explore the great outdoors. The National Park Service is a wonderful resource for those looking for outdoor recreational activities like bicycling, camping, climbing, equestrianism, fishing, hiking, hunting, swimming, snowshoeing and more. NPS provides digital and print resources to assist in planning one’s summer adventure with all the necessary information needed to maximize a summer adventure.

In search of trip ideas or hunting for planning guides, NPS offers travelers a wealth of helpful information to explore all of America’s national treasures. The NPS website allows users to search for national parks by states and provides generalized resources for special events or groups. The image above shows the number of national parks in Indiana along with interesting factoids related to Indiana’s national parks: George Rogers Clark, the Indiana Dunes and Abraham Lincoln Boyhood.

Selecting a specific park, like Lincoln Boyhood, will cover everything needed to plan a visit. The Park Service includes resources for kids, offers tips to maximize visit experience, educational matter, guides, alerts (closures, restricted access, etc.), site history and photos. Each park has unique features for visitors to enjoy. Some national parks provide access to wide variety of recreational activities that one may not associate with a national park, such as stand-up paddle-boarding, geocaching, sport climbing, pack-rafting, e-bikes or electric kick scooters. Not every park allows every activity, so check each park’s website to see what is allowed or not, along with any potential fees or closures before visiting.

The Indiana State Library, as a Federal Depository Library, has access to thousands of federal documents, including NPS published guide maps that provide information on the park and its trails. The guides, like the one pictured above, are available to check out and can be extremely helpful when out in nature where the access to the internet is spotty at best, though that’s part of the appeal of exploring a nature park. Author Wallace Stegner in 1893 coined it best, “National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Happy exploring!

This blog post was written by Indiana State Library federal documents coordinator Brent Abercrombie. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services at 317-232-3678 or via “Ask-A-Librarian.”