Michigan’s parks, trails and waterfalls provide great settings for leaf-peeping fall color

A spectacular aerial view of the Tahquamenon River in the
eastern Upper Peninsula during fall color season. (DNR)
By CASEY WARNER
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

As we put away our flip-flops for the season and get ready to don our sweaters, many Michigan residents and visitors are eagerly awaiting the state’s stunning annual display of fall foliage.

“Leaf peeping” – a term for travel geared around fall color viewing – has become a popular pastime nationwide, and Michigan is no exception.

As one of the most wooded states in the country, with more than half of its 36 million acres of land forested, Michigan offers plenty of opportunity to see trees put on their fall color show.

On a warm summer afternoon, with the air filled with
ladybugs, riders enjoy a fall color chairlift ride at Porcupine
Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon County.
One notable example is Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon and Gogebic counties, where visitors can take in some of the Upper Peninsula’s best fall foliage views in a unique way – from chairlift rides at the park’s ski hill.

“Ride the chairlift to the top of the ski hill and either hike or ride the lift back down for some great scenery overlooking Lake Superior,” said Bob Wild, Michigan Department of Natural Resources park interpreter at the Porcupine Mountains. “Don’t forget to bring your camera.”

Last year, four or five of the park’s busiest days occurred during the fall color season.

With a variety of tree species, the Porcupine Mountains fall color displays present a patchwork of color, dazzling to see.

Bond Falls is among the popular destinations in the western
Upper Peninsula throughout the year; autumn is no exception.
DNR staffers at state parks have a variety of good suggestions for places visitors in search of eye-catching autumn scenery might want to check out – by car, foot, kayak, horse or off-road vehicle, as well as by chairlift.

In addition to Porcupine Mountains, which she said is “very popular with the chairlift rides,” Kelly Somero, at Baraga State Park in the western U.P., recommends local waterfalls as fall color viewing destinations.

Popular spots include the series Presque Isle River falls in the Porkies and Ontonagon County’s Bond Falls and Agate Falls.

Fort Wilkins (State Historic Park) is really cool as well,” Somero said. “There is a lot to see in the Keweenaw (Peninsula) for fall colors – Brockway Mountain Drive, the Fort, Isle Royale, lighthouses – and the drive itself is scenic.

“For a unique twist, the Bill Nichols Trail with the triple trestles over the Ontonagon River is a great fall destination for ORV touring.

A fall off-road vehicle ride is shown along the Bill Nicholls
Trail, which runs through Houghton and Ontonagon counties,
on a trestle bridge over the Firesteel River.
Twin Lakes State Park can be used as a base camp, with its lodge and mini cabin, there is golfing nearby and the Porkies and Fort Wilkins are about an hour each way for additional color touring by vehicle along with other ORV routes to explore western U.P. areas.”

Melanie Brand at Van Riper State Park in Marquette County also suggested Bond Falls, especially for hikers, and Twin Lakes State Park in Houghton County for ORV trail riding as well as camping, hiking and paddling.

“For camping, hiking and boating/paddling, I also would say Craig Lake State Park in Baraga County, which is already at around 5 percent of color (as of early September),” said Brand.

There are plenty of options for those seeking fall colors south of the Mackinac Bridge too.

Backwoods roads can get busy during fall color
season, like this section of County Road 510
near Big Bay in Marquette County.
“I’d suggest the Black Mountain area – Black Lake State Forest Campground or Cheboygan, Hoeft, Onaway and Aloha state parks are close by,” said Jeremy Spell, unit manager at Aloha and Onaway state parks.

Spell said that Black Lake State Forest Campground in Cheboygan County, whose Upper Campground is open to ORVs, and other state parks in the northeastern Lower Peninsula offer proximity to ORV, equestrian and non-motorized trails, all in the Black Mountain area.

“There’s also the inland waterway for a water trail, Stoney Creek Equestrian Trail Camp and the north spur of the Shore-to-Shore Trail, which is adjacent to the Lee Grande Grouse Enhanced Management Site (GEMS) property (a popular area for hunting) with non-motorized trails and a good potential for elk viewing as well,” Spell said. “Also, the North Eastern, North Central and Northwestern state trails – lots of great spots for fall colors.”

These are just a few examples of the endless possibilities for seeing fall foliage in Michigan. Get more fall color touring trip ideas from the Pure Michigan website at www.michigan.org/fall.

Fall color is predicted to peak throughout October, depending on location. Check out Pure Michigan’s fall travel peak season map, to find out the best times to visit different areas of the state.

A young girl displays some favorite red maple leaves she
collected on a fall color trip to the Keweenaw Peninsula.
As the days start to get shorter in the fall, trees stop producing chlorophyll, the substance that helps plants change sunlight into sugar (glucose) through photosynthesis and gives leaves their green color.

Chlorophyll production slows down as trees start preparing for winter, and we see the other natural pigments in the leaves emerge.

Leaf colors vary by tree species – for example, oaks turn red or brown, aspen turn golden yellow and dogwood, purplish red. Maples turn scarlet, orange-red or yellow, depending on species.

As you travel the state in search of the changing autumn leaf colors, fall camping is a great accommodation option at the end of the sightseeing day.

A group of friends from Marquette enjoys a fall weekend camping
at Fort Wilkins State Historic Park in Keweenaw County.
State parks and recreation areas and state forest campgrounds offer a variety of fall camping experiences, from modern and rustic campsites for tents, recreational vehicles and popup campers to lodging in the camper cabins, yurts, cottages and lodges available in some state parks.

While traditionally a summer activity, camping comes with some unique advantages during autumn.

“We find that camping reservations are much easier to find in the fall,” said Doug Barry, supervisor at Van Riper State Park. “Campers can reap the benefits of less crowded campgrounds and the beautiful colors of fall foliage, especially during weekdays.”

To check availability or make a camping reservation, visit www.midnrreservations.com or call 1-800-44PARKS (1-800-447-2757).

Kayakers enjoy an autumn day at the
Holly Recreation Area in Oakland County.
Events and activities in state parks aren’t reserved for summer either, with a variety of fall programs scheduled.

Many Michigan state parks and recreation areas host fall harvest festivals in September and October. These family-friendly “Harvest and Haunts” events include hayrides, pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, costume contests, haunted trails, cider and donuts, and horse-drawn carriage rides.

The fall calendar also features hikes, races, paddling events and more. Visit www.michigan.gov/dnrcalendar for details.

Fall is also the perfect time to take advantage of the state’s abundant trail opportunities – there are miles and miles of good reasons Michigan is known as “The Trails State” – from biking and hiking to equestrian and ORV trails.

Michigan has more than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails.

“Our trails take you to every corner of the state, from some of the most picturesque locations in the country, to historical areas to state parks,” said Paul Yauk, DNR statewide trails coordinator. “Fall is a great time to get outdoors and spend some time on our trail system.”

The DNR will join other organizations around the state in celebrating Michigan Trails Week Sept. 23-30.

A family on a fall outing at the Pinckney
Recreation Area, which is located in
Livingston and Washtenaw counties.
“There are some unbelievable places in Michigan to see, and our trails system takes you there,” said Yauk. “There’s an adventure everywhere, no matter what type of trail you are on.”

Explore Michigan trail options at www.michigan.gov/dnrtrails.

Whether your winding down a U.P. backroad, walking a trail in the Lower Peninsula, kayaking, taking a chairlift ride, biking or camping, the brilliant fall color season in Michigan is one of nature’s truly amazing displays not to be missed.

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories and subscribe to upcoming articles at www.michigan.gov/dnrstories.

Michigan’s Recreation Passport provides access to 103 state parks and state recreation areas, 138 state forest rustic campgrounds, and numerous free family-friendly events, as well as parking for hundreds of miles of trails and fee-based state boat launches.

Black bears and humans: What you should know



By KEVIN SWANSON and JOHN PEPIN
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

For many people, the opportunity to see a Michigan black bear in the wild is an amazing experience.

For many people, seeing a Michigan black bear in the wild, like
the one shown here, is an amazing experience. (DNR photos)
Black bears are Michigan’s only bear species. These animals prefer large hardwood or pine forests, intermixed with wetlands, and they can be colored black, brown or cinnamon.

Males live in areas that can be larger than 100 square miles, while females — which give birth to an average of two to three cubs every other winter — stay in smaller areas ranging from 10 to 20 square miles. Adult female black bears typically weigh 100 to 250 pounds.

Bears have sharp claws on their padded feet, used for climbing trees and searching for food, like tearing open rotted stumps and trees for insects.

Many wildlife watchers have a natural curiosity about bears, and the chance to see bears from a safe distance, especially when a sow is accompanied by cubs, often produces moments most people don’t soon forget.

Anglers, campers, hikers and others enjoying the outdoors in Michigan may also encounter a black bear. Typically, bears will run or walk away from humans if they become aware of their presence.
However, in some instances, bears do not run. In these cases, an adult male Michigan black bear — which can weigh more than 400 pounds and stand 5 feet tall — can present an imposing obstacle.

“When bears stand their ground, people should do the same thing,” said Kevin Swanson, a wildlife specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' bear and wolf program. “In these kind of encounters, you should make loud noises and back away from the bear slowly, giving the bear plenty of room to leave the area. Do not run from a black bear or play dead if one approaches.”

In rare cases, black bears can attack. If they do, fight back with a stick, a backpack, similar available items, or your bare hands.

Fatal black bear attacks are extremely rare.

Bears have padded feet and sharp claws for climbing trees and
helping to locate food, like tearing open rotted stumps to find insects.
According to the North American Bear Center in Ely, Minnesota, black bears have killed 61 people across North America since 1900. Bear experts there say your chances of being killed by a domestic dog, bees or lightning are vastly greater.

According to the center, “Most attacks by black bears are defensive reactions to a person who is very close, which is an easy situation to avoid. Injuries from these defensive reactions are usually minor.”

In Michigan, while cases of black bear attacks — like that of a 12-year-old girl who was attacked and injured while jogging at dusk in Wexford County in 2013 — remain rare, reports of bear nuisance complaints are relatively common.

DNR bear nuisance complaints in the Upper Peninsula tallied a bit over 100 for each of the past two years, down from the peak of nearly 250 in 2004.

However, in the northern Lower Peninsula, bear complaints in 2016 numbered over 200, a new record for the region. Previously, complaints had peaked in 2003 in that part of the state at more than 160.

Numerous factors affect bear complaints, including available food sources and public attitudes toward bears over time as population numbers increase.

Many black bear nuisance complaints involve encounters between humans and bears, that were prompted by human behavior.

“Black bears eat plants and animals and seek out a number of different food sources, such as sedge, juneberry, blueberry, acorns, beechnuts, and animal protein that includes insects and occasional deer fawns,” Swanson said. “Bears also have big appetites, an excellent sense of smell and can remember the locations of food sources from one year to the next.”

Researchers working on the Upper Peninsula predator-prey
study examine a bear cub found in a den with its mother
and two siblings in February 2017 in Houghton County.
Problems typically occur when humans feed black bears, intentionally or unintentionally. Bears eat foods left near campsites, garbage, or foods left out for pets or wild birds.

“The best way to avoid issues with black bears is to never feed them,” said Brian Roell, a DNR wildlife biologist in Marquette. “It is very important that bears maintain their natural fear of humans. Bear problems are far more likely to occur when bears become used to finding food provided by humans.”

A DNR information flier on Michigan black bear details some helpful tips for avoiding conflicts with bears around homes and camps:
  • Never intentionally feed bears.
  • Remove potential food sources, like bird feeders, from your yard. Do not feed wild birds in the spring, summer and fall, when bears are most active.
  • Keep pet food inside or in a secured area.
  • Keep garbage and odor at a minimum by removing trash often and cleaning the can or other container used for garbage.
  • Keep garbage in a secured area or in a secured container with a metal, lockable lid until it is picked up or taken away.
  • Keep grills and picnic tables clean.
  • Bee hives (apiaries), fruit trees and gardens can be protected from bears by electric fencing.

There are additional tips for hikers and campers:
  • Keep a clean camp, limiting food odors and garbage.
  • Food and toiletries should never be kept in tents. Store these items in air-tight containers in a vehicle trunk or suspend food in burlap or plastic bags or backpacks from trees. Hang these bags or backpacks 12 feet off the ground, 10 feet away from the tree trunk and 5 feet from the nearest branch.
  • Always cook at a distance from your campsite and wash dishes and utensils shortly after eating.
  • Don’t sleep in clothes that have cooking odors or blood on them.
  • Store garbage as you would food. Burning or burying garbage attracts bears.
  • Travel in groups and make noise when hiking to avoid surprising a bear.
  • Carry bear spray.

“All of us who live and enjoy the outdoors in bear country share the responsibility of not doing things that will intentionally or unintentionally attract bears and create the potential for bear problems,” said John Pepin, DNR deputy public information officer. “As human and black bear populations grow in some areas, the possibility of human-bear interactions becomes more likely, making this shared responsibility even more important.”

A sow and two black bear cubs investigate a
grassy area where garbage has been left.
Bear populations throughout Michigan are currently stable or are increasing, depending on region. Bears are found across roughly 35,000 square miles of suitable habitat, mostly in the northern two-thirds of the state. The Upper Peninsula is home to most of Michigan’s black bears.

According to the DNR’s Statistical Catch-At-Age analysis – which uses bear sex and age data collected since 1992 – bear abundance in Michigan was most recently estimated at a total of 11,811 sub-adult and adult bears.

This estimate includes 9,699 black bears in the U.P. and 2,112 in the northern Lower Peninsula. Those figures were calculated before the 2015 bear hunting seasons.

As a comparison, the pre-hunting season figures for 2014 showed a total of 10,754 sub-adult and adult bears, with 8,721 in the U.P. and 2,033 in the northern Lower Peninsula.

While the analysis estimates the bear population in the Upper Peninsula has increased about 1 percent since 2000, in the northern Lower Peninsula, bear numbers have risen an estimated 47 percent over that same time frame.

Swanson said state wildlife biologists have worked to balance requests from the public for more bears with local bear population densities and numbers of bear nuisance complaints.

“Due to previous concerns expressed by DNR biologists and a wide array of hunters and bear hunting clubs, license quotas and the bear harvest were decreased significantly beginning in 2012,” Swanson said. “The current DNR goal is to increase and then stabilize bear numbers according to how many bears the habitat can support comfortably, without surpassing social tolerance.”

Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist
Brian Roell gets ready to weigh a black bear at the DNR’s
Marquette Customer Service Center in fall 2016.
In Michigan, hunting helps keep bear populations at acceptable levels. Bear hunting is a long-standing tradition in the state, enjoyed by those who hunt over bait or pursue bears with dogs.

Recreational hunting of Michigan black bear began in 1925. Nearly 100 years later, the DNR continues to carefully manage bear populations and habitat.

“DNR officials staying connected with stakeholders and constituents, and setting license quotas based on appropriate population goals, will help manage a healthy Michigan black bear population,” Swanson said.

This year, more than 56,000 hunters applied for 7,140 available bear hunting licenses, up more than 9 percent from 2016.

Bear hunting seasons open across Michigan in September and, depending on the bear management unit, largely continue into October. Some days of the hunt are restricted to bait-only hunting, while bait and dogs may be used during the remainder of the seasons.

Non-resident licenses in Michigan are capped at 5 percent this year, an increase from a previous cap of 2 percent. This year, 310 out-of-state residents were granted bear hunting licenses from the 7,140 issued.

With black bear numbers currently approaching 12,000 adult black bear statewide, there are excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing and bear hunting in Michigan.

“The U.P. landscape is prime habitat for black bear due to the large connected tracts of forestland that grow over various soil types, which creates abundant food sources and cover for this normally solitary animal,” Swanson said. “But a rising population is causing more conflict with people, especially in the northern Lower Peninsula, where bear bluff charges, domestic dog kills and general nuisance complaints are rising.”

A bear tagged at the Michigan Department of Natural
Resources check station in Marquette in fall 2016.
Black bear nuisance complaints in the U.P. become increasingly common in years when natural food sources, like blueberries, are harder to find. However, any bear will take advantage of an easy meal, like seeds from backyard wild bird feeders and household garbage.

“Keeping these potential bear foods safely stored away, especially when bears have been reported in the area, will help minimize negative interactions with black bears,” Roell said. “Michigan black bears are fascinating wild animals that should be respected as such, never fed and viewed from a safe distance.”

Under Michigan law, black bears can only be killed by a licensed hunter or when human life is in danger. Anyone who is experiencing problems with bears should contact the nearest DNR office and speak with a wildlife biologist or technician for further assistance.

Get more information on Michigan black bears at www.michigan.gov/bear.

We're the Russos: Driveway Surfing, Google HQ, Stealth Camping



About We're the Russos
In 2015, Joe and Kait Russo quit their jobs, sold their home, and got rid of most of their possessions to live their dream – travel and work for themselves. Together with their rescue dog, Leo, the Russos are traveling all across North America seeking adventure. That first year their rig was a 2015 Newmar Bay Star, a gas motorhome coming in just shy of 30 feet. Seeking more flexibility and freedom, in 2017 they switched to a Hymer Aktiv Class B campervan. Visit their website for tons of more information about the Russos and their travels. You can also subscribe to their YouTube channel, where they have videos on RVing, Living Life on Your Terms, Following their Adventure, and more, plus they're on Twitter and Facebook. You can also help support them via their Patreon site.

RV Repair Club videos: Troubleshooting RV Slideouts


About RV Repair Club

RV Repair Club is an online resource for RV enthusiasts who want quality maintenance, repair, and upgrade information – a community where passionate RVers can come together to gather knowledge and share their experiences.

RV Repair Club provides instructional RV repair and improvement videos — some free, others available through paid subscription — by RVing experts who take the time to walk you through the techniques and demonstrations, providing helpful tips and ideas along the way.

For more information, visit the RV Repair Club's website, like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Stewardship volunteers needed throughout September in southern Michigan state parks

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will host a number of volunteer stewardship workdays this month at state parks and recreation areas in southwest and southeast Michigan.

Volunteers are needed to help locate and cut non-native, invasive shrubs that threaten to crowd out native plants and disrupt balance in high-quality ecosystems. Volunteers will also help gather seeds. Workdays are an enjoyable way to spend time outdoors while restoring Michigan's ecosystems and learning about its inhabitants.

The Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays (which includes workday details, the stewardship volunteer registration form and links to individual park maps and directions) is available on the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers. All volunteers are asked to register either by using the form or via email.

Southeast Michigan workdays

Southwest Michigan workdays

Volunteers should bring work gloves, drinking water and appropriate clothing for outdoor work, including long pants and sturdy, closed-toe shoes.

For more information on park stewardship volunteer opportunities, contact:

The DNR's Volunteer Stewardship Program is a hands-on way for all ages to learn about and protect Michigan's natural resources by collecting native seeds, removing invasive species, conducting plant and animal surveys and other activities. Other ways to volunteer with the DNR include joining a state park friends group, serving as a campground host or a lightkeeper and many other opportunities.

50 Campfires videos (Pt.3): Bihlerflex Bungee Cord, Wildo Camp-A-Box, Coast PX1R Flashlight, & Nemo Stargaze Recliner


About 50 Campfires
Ever since Camping Life magazine went away, I'd been searching for a publication that could satisfy my camping/hiking wanderlust. 50 Campfires is pretty much about the best source for camping/hiking – gear, destinations, recipes, tips, etc. – that you'll ever find anywhere.

Besides its website that has a ton of great info, you can find 50 Campfires on YouTubeFacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+Vimeo, and Instagram. And its free monthly e-magazine (see below) is gorgeous.

50 Campfires videos (Pt.2): LifeStraw Go, EcoZoom Versa Rocket Stove, Spikeball, & ManCan 128 Picnic Kit



About 50 Campfires
Ever since Camping Life magazine went away, I'd been searching for a publication that could satisfy my camping/hiking wanderlust. 50 Campfires is pretty much about the best source for camping/hiking – gear, destinations, recipes, tips, etc. – that you'll ever find anywhere.

Besides its website that has a ton of great info, you can find 50 Campfires on YouTubeFacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+Vimeo, and Instagram. And its free monthly e-magazine (see below) is gorgeous.

50 Campfires videos (Pt.1): Briggs & Stratton P3000 Powersmart Inverter Generator, GCI Outdoors Eazy Chair, Buff Multifunctional UV Headwear, & Campfire Defender



About 50 Campfires
Ever since Camping Life magazine went away, I'd been searching for a publication that could satisfy my camping/hiking wanderlust. 50 Campfires is pretty much about the best source for camping/hiking – gear, destinations, recipes, tips, etc. – that you'll ever find anywhere.

Besides its website that has a ton of great info, you can find 50 Campfires on YouTubeFacebookTwitterPinterestGoogle+Vimeo, and Instagram. And its free monthly e-magazine (see below) is gorgeous.

Long, Long Honeymoon videos (Pt.1): Laundry Day, Crossing into Canada, Champion vs. Briggs & Stratton Generators




About the Long, Long Honeymoon
After getting married in the Florida Keys, C.S. (Sean) and Kristy Michael spent their wedding night in their newly purchased recreational vehicle — a 25-foot Airstream travel trailer. Instead of jaunting off to honeymoon on a posh Pacific island, the newlyweds hitched up their trusty Ford diesel truck (nicknamed “SEEMORE”) and started exploring America.

Their “long long honeymoon” journey has stretched over 100,000 miles and 49 States, ranging from Key West (the southernmost point in the United States) all the way up to Fairbanks, Alaska. They have camped in every conceivable environment, from scenic national parks to less-than-exotic asphalt parking lots.

A writer and filmmaker, Sean totes his video camera everywhere, relentlessly documenting the experience. And in addition to Sean’s filmmaking equipment, the couple always pack their sense of humor. Their blog explores the lighter side of RV life; or as Kristy says, “the fun stuff!”

Why do they do it? “Because life should be a long long honeymoon…”

You can catch Sean and Kristy’s latest RV adventures (including all of their videos in glorious high-definition) on their website: LongLongHoneymoon.com. When not aboard their Airstream, the newlyweds divide their time between homes in Alabama and Florida. But you can always reach them via email at HoneymoonShow@aol.com.

Rollin' on TV: Gulf Stream Coach Travel Trailers & Motorhomes & Anniversaries



On this week's program (#2017-18), Rollin' On TV heads to Nappanee, Ind., to visit Gulf Stream Coach, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary. So the crew will take look back a bit at the company's beginning and see how it has grown under the same family ownership and values to be a leader in the RV industry. While at Gulf Stream, Rollin' on TV takes a look at their towable production line and an in-depth look at their motorhome production department to see what goes into building their popular Class C Conquest and BT Cruisers.

About Rollin' On TV
In production since 2010, Rollin' On TV has become one of the leading RV lifestyle television programs on the air today, reaching over 30 million homes on both cable and satellite TV. The weekly program is also available online. For more information, visit www.rollinontv.com.

Long, Long Honeymoon videos (Pt.2): How to Choose an RV, Repacking Wheel Bearings, & Really Bad News



About the Long, Long Honeymoon
After getting married in the Florida Keys, C.S. (Sean) and Kristy Michael spent their wedding night in their newly purchased recreational vehicle — a 25-foot Airstream travel trailer. Instead of jaunting off to honeymoon on a posh Pacific island, the newlyweds hitched up their trusty Ford diesel truck (nicknamed “SEEMORE”) and started exploring America.

Their “long long honeymoon” journey has stretched over 100,000 miles and 49 States, ranging from Key West (the southernmost point in the United States) all the way up to Fairbanks, Alaska. They have camped in every conceivable environment, from scenic national parks to less-than-exotic asphalt parking lots.

A writer and filmmaker, Sean totes his video camera everywhere, relentlessly documenting the experience. And in addition to Sean’s filmmaking equipment, the couple always pack their sense of humor. Their blog explores the lighter side of RV life; or as Kristy says, “the fun stuff!”

Why do they do it? “Because life should be a long long honeymoon…”

You can catch Sean and Kristy’s latest RV adventures (including all of their videos in glorious high-definition) on their website: LongLongHoneymoon.com. When not aboard their Airstream, the newlyweds divide their time between homes in Alabama and Florida. But you can always reach them via email at HoneymoonShow@aol.com.

Win @GoParks' Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks Adventure for Four

You can enter to win a trip-of-a-lifetime to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks thanks to the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks. Launched today in celebration of the National Park Service's 101st year and the Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque movement, the National Park Foundation's "Find Your Park Sweepstakes" will run through September 29, 2017. To learn more and enter to win, please visit www.nationalparks.org/sweepstakes.

The grand prize winner of the Find Your Park Sweepstakes will receive a scenic, five-day REI Adventures Zion & Bryce Hiking & Camping package for four. Highlights include seeing waterfalls, hoodoos, the Virgin River Narrows and more as you explore Zion and Bryce Canyon by foot – a truly immersive and memorable way to experience these iconic national parks. Relax each night under the stars at REI Adventures' Signature Camp. In addition, the winner will receive a $1,000 gift card to help cover airfare

A second place winner will receive:
  • 30 days of access to a 2018 Subaru Crosstrek
  • a Trek Mountain Bike—DS, provided by our friends at The Coca-Cola Company
  • a Coleman® "Camping Kit" with a tent, sleeping bag and more
  • a Budweiser Retro Fridge
To increase their chances of winning, individuals may enter once per day through September 29, 2017. You can find the sweepstakes rules here.

Launched in March 2015, Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque is a bilingual movement created by the National Park Foundation to inspire people from all backgrounds to connect with, celebrate, and support America's national parks and community-based programs. #FindYourPark invites people to discover and share their own unique connections to our nation's natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history.

As part of its commitment to strengthening our National Park System for the next 100 years, the National Park Foundation, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this coming December, offers many ways to support America's national parks. From national park-inspired gear to its Centennial Campaign for America's National Parks, there are a variety of unique ways to honor and protect the legacy of these special places.

The National Park Foundation wishes to thank the generous companies who have made the Find Your Park Sweepstakes possible. As long-term supporters of national parks, including their partnership for the Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque movement celebrating the National Park Service Centennial, these companies are helping to preserve national parks, connect more people to them, and engage the next generation of park enthusiasts.

About the National Park Foundation The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America's national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service's 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America's National Parks, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years.