For those of you who are embarking on a the National Park journey for the first time or the first time in a long time, here’s some information to better explain how to collect your National Park stamps.
When visiting the park, an initial stop at the Visitor Center is strongly recommended. Depending on the size of the park, there may be just one or several visitor centers. Ordinarily, the visitor center has a Ranger station where you can meet a Ranger and get a brochure with highlights of the park or you may be given one by the Ranger at an entry gate. The Rangers are knowledgeable about the park and can recommend to you where to go and what to see. Meeting a Ranger in a visitor center, is usually a perfect time for them to sign your Stamp Your Way book.
For many years people have documented their visits to the parks by dating a page in a diary or passbook. In the 1980’s, a rubber stamp program was introduced whereby you could stamp the date of your visit. These rubber stamps have the current date and name of the park or visitor center--making it very official looking. They are called Cancellation Stamps. These rubber stamps are found in the gift shops in the Visitor Centers or near the Ranger’s desk.
Some parks are enormous and have several visitor centers. They often have cancellation stamps at each one of these centers. For instance, if you visit Big Bend National Park in Texas it covers over 800,000 acres and has four visitor centers. If you’re lucky enough to visit each of these locations in the park you can get four stamps--one for each of the different areas (Castolon, Chisos Basin, Panther Junction and Rio Grande Village).
Another option that some parks offer are what is called a Regional Stamp. The term region is used to describe in art form, via rubber stamp, a specific unique feature of the park. For instance, if you visit Everglades National Park you might find a rubber stamp of an alligator or a cougar paw print. Regional Stamps are an option for you although not as significant as the cancellation stamp which is a record of your visit. The appeal of the regional stamp is their artwork which can add another dimension to your book.
Stamp Your Way Through the USA was developed to provide a means for a child to create a personalized book of memories of their visits to the National Parks. These books are keepsakes that children and adults will cherish for a lifetime.