It’s on my bucket list to travel to all 59 of the United States National Parks.

I have the rest of my life, I thought. I can do one or two a year. Spread it out and make a life’s work out of it. Take my husband. Take my future children. Savor, and enjoy.

I know now that I no longer have the luxury of time. Our beautiful, natural spaces are at a greater risk than ever. You all know why.

So let’s go. Let’s tell our national park stories. Let’s clog up our memory cards and drain our camera batteries and fuck up our hiking boots. I’ve got the US Virgin Islands and the Smokies on deck. Going to try and knock out a few more next year.

“As we Americans celebrate our diversity, so we must affirm our unity if we are to remain the ‘one nation’ to which we pledge allegiance. Such great national symbols and meccas as the Liberty Bell, the battlefields on which our independence was won and our union preserved, the Lincoln Memorial, the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and numerous other treasures of our national park system belong to all of us, both legally and spiritually. These tangible evidences of our cultural and natural heritage help make us all Americans.”

Edwin C. Bearss, NPS Chief Historian, 1981-1994