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Ever since 2009, I try spend in my time in North America to take advantage of the summer months. In 2009 I did a huge road trip through the western United States. In 2010 I went east through Washington DC and up through New England to the northernmost tip of Newfoundland. In 2012 I explored Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. Last year I went island hopping in the Caribbean.
This year, I’m going to focus on visiting national parks in the western US and Canada.
Today I’m taking off in my car for more than two months on a trip which take me to the Northwest Territories of Canada, most of the province of Alberta, the northwoods of Minnesota, the shore of the Pacific Ocean, and the Great Plains. I’ll even get a chance to visit my 10th and final Canadian province: Saskatchewan!
As I announced last year, I’m on a long term quest to visit all 104 national parks in the United States and Canada. To date I have documented visits to 23 parks. Over the next two and a half months I hope to visit 18 more. These include:
- Isle Royale, Michigan
- Voyageurs, Minnesota
- Riding Mountain, Manitoba
- Grasslands, Saskatchewan
- Waterton Lakes, Alberta
- Jasper, Alberta*
- Elk Island, Alberta
- Wood Buffalo, Alberta
- Nahanni, Northwest Territories
- Mount Revelstoke National Park, British Columbia
- Kootenay National Park, British Columbia
- Glacier, British Columbia
- Yoho National Park, British Columbia
- Pacific Rim National Park, British Columbia
- Gulf Islands National Park, British Columbia
- Mount Rainier, Washington
- North Cascades, Washington
- Badlands, South Dakota
- Wind Cave, South Dakota
I had previously visited Wind Cave and Badlands National Parks, but I never was able to document and photograph my visit.
In visiting Nahani and Wood Buffalo National Parks, I will also have visited all the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Canada.
Visiting the National Parks in the continental US and Canadian provinces isn’t that difficult. All the parks are drivable and it is really just more a matter of making the time and having the desire to do it. I’m planning on doing a short trip in Ontario at some point to visit several of the parks there. I’ll do my summer road trip next year in New England and the Atlantic Provinces to visit some of the eastern parks. I’ll probably even visit parks in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California next winter in between the travel shows I’ll be speaking at.
The real challenge comes in visiting the parks which are above the Arctic Circle, especially the Canadian Parks. These parks get less than 100 visitors per year and sometimes less than 10 per year!
Traveling by car is always much easier for me if for no other reason than I don’t have to fit everything into a single bag. I can carry more clothes, more camera gear and more equipment because I have an entire car I can put stuff in.
A road trip also gives you freedom to go where you want and to stop when you want. Even though I do have a schedule, I have plenty of leeway in terms of what I do along the way.
If you happen to live in Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver or Seattle, I will be coming through your town. Let me know if you would like to meet up!