Off Beat National parks have 20 different designations

first_imgMikah Meyer’s visit to Vancouver a few days ago underlines the fact that our community has a national park.That is not how it is labeled, but Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is one of 417 units in the National Park Service.Meyer plans to see all of them on one road trip. So Vancouver definitely was on Meyer’s itinerary more than a year ago when the Washington D.C. resident got behind the wheel of his van, shifted into “PARKS” and hit the road.Most of the spots on his checklist are not actually designated as parks. As we noted in August, when Fort Vancouver took part in the Park Service centennial celebration, there are 20 different flavors on the Park Service menu. And 70 percent of the units don’t have the word “park” in their names.(Nineteen of the 20 park categories do have the word “national” in their titles, however. The exception is “other designations,” which includes the White House and the National Mall.)Ranger Bob Cromwell, who gave Meyer a guided tour on June 16, is familiar with the topic.“All these terminologies add complexity,” said Cromwell, chief of interpretation at Fort Vancouver. “I wish they could simplify it.”Before Meyer left the Visitor Center for his tour with Cromwell, he documented his stop by inking up a rubber stamp and pressing a Fort Vancouver entry into his parks passport book.The passport stamps are the closest thing he has to a ritual, Meyer said.“People have asked if I pick up a stone or a rock at each park,” Meyer said. But driving home with 417 random rocks doesn’t seem all that appealing.last_img read more