To help celebrate the centennial year of the National Park Serivce, Pendleton sent out a call for national park memories to our Pendleton employees. We received so many fun responses–memories and photos and close encounters of the wildlife kind. We’ve shared many with you, and have a few more to share as the year rolls along.
This response came in the form of a stack of black and white photos taken with a Kodak Brownie camera. And so, a sweet little movie was born. Thanks to Margaret for sharing this with us, and thanks to you all for sharing the fun.
And happy official 100th birthday to the National Park Service–it’s today!
Please enjoy a Pendleton employee park memory: Yosemite memories and photos from Greg, who is one of our northern California account managers.
I have procrastinated on this, because it will be tough to pick a single Yosemite memory. I have been going to the park for 40 years, visiting a couple of times per year. I also go as a vendor. Every time, I see something different, even if it’s just a day trip to the Valley to “work” (if you can call it that).
My first trip was a high school backpacking trip, when we watched a mama bear and her two cubs attempt to steal food that we’d stored up in a small pine tree. One of the cubs was sent up the tree to get the pack, but he wasn’t small enough. The tree snapped! Down came the tree and the cub to the ground. We hiked out the next day, 12 miles in the pouring rain.
Over the years I’ve hiked and climbed some of the park’s largest peaks, fly-fished many of the lakes and streams, backcountry skied into the Ostrander Hut and snow camped throughout the park.
I was there a week after the Valley flood of 1997 when they were still pulling campground picnic tables out of the trees. Signs now mark the high water mark along the Merced River six feet over the road.
I was there just after the huge rockfall at Glacier Point covered Happy Isles with an eerie, almost lunar, pulverized granite dust and debris.
I was there when Mel Gibson, Jodi Foster and James Garner filmed the teepee village scenes in the El Capitan Meadow for the remake of Maverick.
After a lifetime of special memories, it’s too hard to choose one.
Are you ready for your own Yosemite adventures? We’d love to come along with you.
It’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world; 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide, the Grand Canyon took millions of years to form and just keeps changing. The deepest point in the canyon is a mile deep. A mile. That’s 5,280 feet, in case you’ve forgotten. Yes, this is one heck of a canyon.
Close to five million people visit the Grand Canyon each year. They arrive by car, train and bus, and plenty of them come to stay for longer than an afternoon. The Park has many wonderful campgrounds, but read up on reservations, restrictions and costs. The key word to get the most out of the Grand Canyon is simply “planning.”
We asked some of our fantastic Pendleton people if they’d share their Grand Canyon experiences on the blog. They sent some beautiful photos, and some Pendleton employee park memory stories that illustrate how they took on the Canyon.
Phillip shared his experience with camping on the North Rim:
A few years ago my family took a road trip to the Southwest and visited Bryce Canyon, Zion and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It was an amazing family adventure.
When we arrived at the Grand Canyon and were setting up camp, we realized that my son Henry had forgotten to stow the crank that raises our tent trailer when we left our previous location (I think it was Zion). We polled all of the other campers and no one had a crank. Fortunately I was able to use a wrench to raise the trailer so we didn’t have to leave or sleep on the ground!
The trip was definitely worth it.
Another Pendleton person, Annetta, has taken trips with her extended family to many of the National Parks.
Hiking with my son and our entire family, especially nieces and nephews, has bonded us through some unique experiences. The National Parks have been a big part of it. Every get-together something comes up from one these trips, generating lots of laughter.
In 2004, we all went to the Grand Canyon. Me, my son, all my siblings and their kids hiked down Bright Angel trail to Phantom Ranch to spend the night.
Below: the kids on Silver Bridge crossing the Colorado to Phantom Ranch.
We might be smiling, but it was 118 degrees down by the water that day, and we still had several miles to go. Brutal.
The group got ahead of me on the way to Phantom Ranch and because we were so close we didn’t follow our rule and give the last person in line (me) the second walkie-talkie. I missed the turn, ending up on Black Bridge. I yelled down at river rafters for directions. When I realized I’d gone a quarter mile in the wrong direction, the walls of the Canyon echoed with words that are probably not printable.
My son did come back to find me, and very relieved to see me, and not happy about backtracking. The hike is 12 miles each way! We all agreed that the dinner that night at the ranch was the best we had eaten in our lives. No doubt the hike had something to do with that.
Below, all of us at Phantom Ranch on the morning of hiking out. It was a very quiet breakfast, as we were all thinking about that climb. But we made it!
After hiking out that morning my nephew took his pipes and played them at the canyon edge in the evening. Ah, the energy of youth.
Which brings me to my best tip for hiking the Grand Canyon: Take teenagers along who can pack your extra water.
The only place in the world that you can get hiking sticks with Phantom Ranch burned into them is at the ranch itself. The kids all still have theirs and use them to this day on other hikes with pride. When people ask about those walking sticks, the kids say casually, “Oh this? Yeah, I got it at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.”
Are you ready for your own adventures? We’d love to come along. And remember, your purchase of our National Park Collection helps support preservation and restoration of America’s Treasures.
Employees at Pendleton Woolen Mills have shared some of their meaningful park adventures with us, and we’re sharing some with you over the course of the summer. Jenny, who heads our logistics department, shared a Pendleton employee park memory about her son’s encounter with the Junior Rangers Program.
A few years ago, our family rented a motor home with Yellowstone National Park as our destination. Our children, then six and four, enjoyed seeing bison, elk, and other wildlife, walking around the geysers (on the boardwalks, of course), and riding their bikes through the campgrounds.
Our son took an interest in the Junior Ranger program, which involved completing puzzles, listing wildlife he’d seen, talking to rangers, and more. Once he completed his program, a Ranger swore him in and gave him a badge. The attached photo shows how proud he was after earning his badge. It’s one of our favorite pictures from the trip.
National Park swag and National Park swagger, right there. Doesn’t he look proud? That pride got us interested and excited in the Junior Ranger program.
Resources for Junior Rangers
According to the National Park Service website:
The NPS Junior Ranger program is an activity based program conducted in almost all parks, and some Junior Ranger programs are national. Many national parks offer young visitors the opportunity to join the National Park Service “family” as Junior Rangers. Interested youth complete a series of activities during a park visit, share their answers with a park ranger, and receive an official Junior Ranger patch and Junior Ranger certificate. Junior Rangers are typically between the ages of 5 to 13, although people of all ages can participate.
There are currently over 200 Junior Ranger programs in the National Park system. You can access a complete list here: Junior Ranger Program parks
At the top of that page you’ll find that the Junior Ranger program has a lot of online resources on various topics like archeology,: NPS Junior Archeologist Activity book and Parent’s Guide (PDF) and Junior Archeologist Program Activity Book (PDF); paleontology; exploring the fascinating and fragile underground world of caves ; our night skies(PDF); exploring wilderness(PDF) and more.
The gray wolves of Yellowstone are heard more often than seen. Their eerie howls can echo up to fifty miles, summoning the pack before or after a hunt. Yellowstone’s wolves are efficient predators, able to take down animals many times their weight by hunting in packs. Through strategic harrowing, they can bring down a buffalo. They are strategic, efficient and effective predators. Wolves are also protected within the park, but this was not always the case.
When Yellowstone National Park was created in 1872, the goal to “conserve and protect” didn’t extend to the park’s wildlife. Visitors were free to hunt and kill any game in Yellowstone. The gray wolf was especially vulnerable, even after the Secretary of the Interior regulated hunting in 1873. As an “undesirable predator,” the gray wolf was subject to a massive kill-off by the US Army in 1907 (1,800 wolves and 23,000 coyotes). The 1916 legislation that created the National Park Service included language that authorized the “…destruction of such animals and of such plant life as may be detrimental to the use of said parks, monument and reservations.” This is known as “extirpation,” and the consequences are devastating.
By 1926, the gray wolf of Yellowstone was eradicated. This allowed the elk population to grow, contributing to the overgrazing of Yellowstone’s deciduous trees, which affected the small animals and birds that rely on the aspen and cottonwood groves for their habitat, and the fish in the streams churned by more hooves. Without competition from the grey wolf, the coyote population rose dramatically, and those able predators over-thinned the pronghorn antelope population. Park managers, biologists, conservationists and environmentalists were in agreement; the wolf was a necessary part of Yellowstone’s ecosystem.
Bringing Them Back
The campaign to re-introduce the grey wolf to Yellowstone National Park began in the 1940s. By the 1960s, there was an explosion of awareness concerning ecosystems. Scientist, conservationist and hunter all agreed that there was a need to restore Nature’s balance. When the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1966, it paved the way for identification and preservation of fragile species. The gray wolf was one of the first animals to be declared endangered.
The program began with 14 wolves trapped in Canada, near Jasper National Park. Seventeen more Canadian grey wolves were captured the next year, and added to the program. The wolves were initially placed in “acclimation pens.” They were released fully into the wild in April of 1996. By the late 1990s, the wolves were making their comeback.
Wolves, up close and personal
This sighting comes from Pendleton’s own Katie Roberts, who shared a Pendleton employee park memory with us.
I took a Science class in high school where we got to take trips to both Yellowstone and Glacier. We were allowed access to the parks in the offseason, so we were basically the only ones there. On the Yellowstone trip, we were tracking wolves for our class. They’re pretty elusive creatures, so we didn’t see any until the very end of the day, right before sunset. Not only did we see the biggest Wolf Pack in Yellowstone (at the time), we saw it chase down an elk and kill it! It was pretty crazy, the “Nature Channel” in front of our eyes. I spent a lot of times in both parks growing up, but that was probably the wildest thing I’ve ever witnessed!
Here’s Katie at the time (left). She doesn’t look too traumatized by her National Park adventure with wolves…
Wolves are magnificent and eerie, and absolutely vital to Yellowstone’s ecosystem.Today, there are around 100 living in 10 packs in Yellowstone. The effect on the park’s ecosystem has been extensive, thanks to the “trophic cascade” that falls from an apex predator at the top of the food chain to all the animals, birds, insects and plants that make up the food chain of its prey. Wolves actually help to transform their physical environment. Here’s a fascinating video that talks about how the wolves of Yellowstone have changed the rivers of Yellowstone. It is well-worth watching, and explains trophic cascade. Enjoy.
We did a custom mug for Yellowstone featuring the grey wolf here: Grey Wolf Mug
And you can support the National Park Foundation with Pendleton’s Yellowstone collection.