Friday, May 31, 2013

National Park Passbook Program

     As your family begins to take to Arizona’s highways this summer for the family vacation, be sure to consider visiting one or more of the 21 National Parks and Monuments of Arizona.  To make your family visit even more educational and fun, join the National Park Passport Book and Cancellation Stamp Program!

     Started in 1986 by Eastern National, a non-profit partner of the National Park Service, national park and monument visitors can acquire at each site and at no cost, one or more cancellation stamps for their passport book.  These cancellation stamps not only document the date of the family visit, but add to the feeling of fun and  adventure as your family searches out the exact location of the park’s/monuments’ cancellation stamp or stamps.

     And when your family leaves Arizona to travel the highways across our wonderful country, take your National Park Passport Book along.  There are about 390 American National Park units across America with over 2,000 cancellation stamp sites waiting for your family to discover. 

     Passport stamps come in various colors, highlighting the 9 passport regions that the stamp can be obtained.  Adhesive stamps can also be purchased to affix to the passport book.  Nine such photo stamps are issued once a year, one for each passport region. In the 20+ years of operation, over 1,400,000 National Park Passport Books have been sold.

     National parks must be created by an act of Congress.  They are usually created to set aside natural beauty or natural phenomena – like a petrified forest.  They are usually large in size with many different uses and visitors.  Arizona is lucky to have 3 national parks.

     National monuments are created because they contain prehistoric or historic objects or possess “things” of scientific interest.  Their size is unimportant and can be created by an act of Congress or by the President of the United States.  There are 92 national monuments in the United States.  Arizona has the most of any state with 18. 

     Who collects National Park Cancellation Stamps?  Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, RVers, AARP members, home schoolers, vacationing families, geocaching adventurers and grandparents sharing the adventure of the parks and monuments with their grandchildren; anyone who loves the historic and natural treasures of Arizona and America.

     People collect National Park Cancellation Stamps to learn about the parks.  Some collect because they enjoy the competitive search in finding the stamps.  Others collect the stamps because they enjoy sightseeing the wonders of America and preserving memories of their vacations. 

     So, this summer when you head down the highways of Arizona and America, keep an eye out for those brown and white national park and monument signs.  Pull into the visitor center and gather up your National Park Passport Book.  Find the cancellation stamp site and document your visit for that day and for your the many, many years of family memories!

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