Introduction

National parks, monuments, seashores, historic places, battlefields, trails, and affiliated sites are places where collections (both natural and human-created) are conserved, displayed, and interpreted. They inspire visitors to explore, wonder, and experience the world around them. In these places, visitors are invited to engage, appreciate, and imagine the past, the present, and the future from a variety of perspectives, while creating memories and expanding their knowledge. These sites can take us across the continent or they might be in our local area. From places like Cedar Falls, Iowa, they transport us through time and space to another world.

Visitation to National Park Service sites strengthens the bonds we build with these places and the people with whom we travel. Through our stories, we seek to connect visitors to National Park Service sites by highlighting the desire for adventure that these places fulfill and the sense of belonging¬†our experiences there create. Collectively, National Park Service sites form a place we like to think of as the nation’s backyard, a place to explore, learn, and play.