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Old 01-18-07, 04:30 PM   #1
velo2000
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Poll: Best National Park?

I ran across this poll on another site. I'm curious to know how people on this forum rank our national parks:

http://votemonkey.com/poll/119
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Old 01-18-07, 04:36 PM   #2
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Different categories for different parks . Most grandeous. Of course Grand Canyon. For me, most beautiful. Yosemite. ( If you can find it without tons of people.) Favorite park of unwinding. Isle Royale. True Isolation. It was great. For cycling, a tie. Death Valley or Canyonlands in Utah.
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Old 01-18-07, 04:52 PM   #3
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I rated them:

1.Olympic
2.Grand Canyon
3 Glacier
4. Acadia
5. Black Canyon
6.Yellowstone
7.Yosemite
8.Rocky Mountain
9 Big Bend
10 Petrified Forest
11 Death Valley.

If Lassen Volcanic National Park was a choice I would rate it #9

These parks I haven't been to:
Denali
Gates of the Arctic
Everglades
Great Sand Dunes
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Old 01-18-07, 04:59 PM   #4
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From a bicyclist's perspective?

Quote:
Originally Posted by velo2000
I ran across this poll on another site. I'm curious to know how people on this forum rank our national parks:

http://votemonkey.com/poll/119
I don't see Crater Lake in that list and that's the best national park I've cycled:
http://www.steephill.tv/galleries/2005/crater-lake/
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Old 01-18-07, 07:17 PM   #5
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Does the guy have something against Utah? Zion and Bryce both amazed me and Capitol Reef was worth the stop.

I'll try to rank the ones I've been to:

Bryce Canyon
Zion
Rocky Mountain
Badlands
Arches
Canyonlands
Capitol Reef
Colorado (National Monument)
Black Canyon
Joshua Tree
Dinosaur (National Monument)
Flaming Gorge (National Rec Area)
Natural Bridges (National Monument)
Theodore Roosevelt
Great Basin
Devils Tower (National Monument)
Wind Cave
Haleakala
Scotts Bluff (National Monument)
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Old 01-18-07, 07:34 PM   #6
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Personally, my top five favorites (in no particular order) would have to be:

- Banff National Park
- Jasper National Park
- Kootenay National Park
- Yoho National Park
- Riding Mountain National Park
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Old 01-18-07, 08:57 PM   #7
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That list's too west
Let's try some eastern parks

Blue Ridge Parkway
C&O Canal
Antietam Battlefield
Rock Creek Park
Catoctin Mountain
Acadia
New River Gorge
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Old 01-18-07, 10:05 PM   #8
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mesa verde is awe inspiring
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Old 01-18-07, 10:06 PM   #9
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Of those I've been to - this is just for scenery and overall experience, not cycling:

Redwood
Sequoia/King's Canyon
Yosemite
Acadia
Bryce Canyon
Arches
Grand Canyon
Mt. Haleakala
Zion
Smoky Mountains
Canyonlands
Capitol Reef
Shenandoah
Volcanoes
Gettysburg
Mesa Verde
Mammoth Caves
Great Sand Dunes
Joshua Tree
Petrified Forest
Painted Desert
Everglades


I'm sure that some of the jewels that I haven't been to would come in high on the list. Yellowstone, Glacier, Isle Royale, Rocky Mountain, Olympic, and several of the parks in Alaska are all on my "must see" list.
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Old 01-18-07, 10:39 PM   #10
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Rather than mention any parks - per se - I'd like to address park policy.

Many national parks are overrun with vehicles. Park administrators bewail the gridlock; yet, few parks have a comprehensive plan that seeks to promote cycling. Granted - some parks do not lend themselves to bicycling - especially by those with limited cycling experience. But almost all parks have some areas that are ideally suited.

In the United States and Canada, parks are under more and more political and economic pressure. Part of that pressure is accomodating ever-larger RVs and tour busses. In Grand Teton National Park, the South Jenny Lake area was rebuilt recently to include dozens of 40-foot pull thru parking places. Then a plan to add shoulders to the main park road was challenged on environmental grounds. Go figure! The same applies in Canada, where Brewster Company practically runs Banff and Jasper. All one has to do is look at the Icefields Centre. It is important to note that Canadian parks have a much smaller level of federal financial aid than American parks - so they must seek out additional revenues from concessionaires. Such may be the harbinger of things to come in both countries.

Yosemite National Park has been at the forefront of proposing restrictions on private motor vehicles - primarily in Yosemite Valley. Interestingly, in 2005 when they were repairing the Arch Rock Entrance Road, they banned bicycles in the constructions zone - but not 40-foot RVs - and provided no means for cyclists to enter the park. This - from a park that says that it is crushed by cars. Go figure, again.

In most national parks, bicycles are treated as motor vehicles for access purposes - i.e. that they are only permitted on roads open to vehicular traffic. Canada's western parks do allow bicyclists on fire roads. This is a big plus. Parks such as Yellowstone have administrative roads that are hardly wilderness, but remain closed to cyclists. Yellowstone now formally warns cyclists at entrance stations - while continuing to accomodate millions of cars. In fact, there is a cloverleaf at Old Faithful so that the auto tourists can zip away once the show is over.

Camping is another issue. As campgrounds are rebuilt they include more pavement, pull-thru sites, and sewer dumps - among other things catering to RV users. Most state parks now offer utility hook-ups - national parks have fewer, but will likely catch-up. A cyclist using one of these sites pays the same fee for services that are not only unneeded, but that are also environmentally degrading. Some U.S. national parks have hiker/biker campsites - although the pattern is spotty. Few Canadian parks have these. When hiker/biker sites do exist, they are usually just one former car site blocked off which can be given over to vehicle campers. In places like the Glacier N.P. in Montana this often happens - well before the 9:00 p.m. posted deadline.

Recently, a major tunnel was built under Cumberland Gap replacing the highway. Although the pass has been used by wheeled vehicles since the days of Daniel Boone, the Park Service turned the old highway into a trail where bicycles are prohibited. Hundreds of millions are spent to make driving easier while cyclists lose all possibility of crossing the mountain range. And then there's Great Smoky Mountains National Park - - I wouldn't even dream of cycling there in October. It's a traffic jam and a miasma of toxic fumes. It may be the most extreme case; however, unless bicyclists act in concert to preserve and expand cycling in national parks, it will become the norm.

Bicycling in national parks is a wonderful experience. I have biked in parks from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Deep South to Alaska. As it currently stands, many people who are not gung-ho cycling nutcases (like certain unmentioned individuals) are intimidated from doing so. Simple accomodations like connecting Banff and Lake Louise townsites to the Bow and Icefields Parkways would make cycling more accessible to less-experienced cyclists. These people aren't willing to get on the TransCanada where there are gaps of a few kilometers. Similarly, U.S. national parks should be encouraged to create more one-way motor vehicle routes with bike lanes in both directions. This would involve zero additional road construction.

But it won't happen unless we do something about it. During planning comment periods we need to remind park managers that bicycle access remains underfunded and underdeveloped. We also need to remind them of their concern for the level of auto traffic and the benefits of greater bicycle use. If we do this, we will find that our incredible national parks will remain wonderful destinations for bicycling rather than the dangerous traffic jams that they are fast becoming.

Best - J

Pics -
Icefields Parkway - Jasper National Park
Traffic Jam - Yellowstone National Park
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Old 01-18-07, 10:46 PM   #11
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Denali.
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Old 01-18-07, 11:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamawani
...
I thought it was rather anti-American to ban cars and thought forcing visitors on buses would be horribly inconvenient... until 2005 when we went to Zion National Park. No cars in the park, just propane powered buses. The system works incredibly well there. And as for the camping fees, yes, it's nuts for a cyclist to be stuck paying for the same fees as RV's in some cases, and worse, cyclists being charged individually while a car-full gets in for a flat fee.
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Old 01-18-07, 11:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka
Personally, my top five favorites (in no particular order) would have to be:

- Banff National Park
- Jasper National Park
- Kootenay National Park
- Yoho National Park
- Riding Mountain National Park

I also have to add the following Australian ones:

-- Blue Mountains National Parks in NSW
-- Daintree National Park in Queensland
-- Fraser Island in Queensland (an incredible place!!)
-- All the national parks in Tasmania
-- The Great Ocean Road in Victoria (and all the surrounding parks)
-- Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria (another incredible place!!)
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Old 01-18-07, 11:10 PM   #14
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This thread reminds me I need to do a lot more travelling!
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Old 01-18-07, 11:27 PM   #15
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It's not much good for cycle touring, but Volcano National Park in Hawaii is a blast. Where else can you walk out on the lava field of an active volcano, and watch the lava flow into the ocean?

I do have to admit that parts of it are pretty ugly.
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Old 01-19-07, 09:06 AM   #16
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My Top-5

*Zion
*Joshua Tree
*Canyonlands
*Yellowstone
*Acadia
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Old 01-19-07, 09:25 AM   #17
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As my memory serves me:

Arches
Acadia
Yellowstone
Zion
Canyonlands
Grand Canyon

Goingo Yosemite in August, and I'm sure it'll crack into the Top 3 for sure. Flew over it once on a commercial airliner and was completely blown away at how beautiful it was even at 15,000 feet!
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Old 01-19-07, 10:47 AM   #18
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Some parks that I like, but are not bike or car friendly,

Algonquin, anyplace away from the corridor
Schooner Lakes

One day I will get to see some of the more remote parks that you need to fly into to, but I will have my canoe instead of a bike.

Any parks that I have biked toured through were full of car campers, including Algonquin, but that is why you need to hike into the interior.

I would also like to try the Spanish river, the Bud car looks like a good way to get there.
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Old 01-19-07, 12:06 PM   #19
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Great input folks, thanks. Machka, glad to hear Banff is a nice park, I'm hoping to ride through it this summer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamawani
Rather than mention any parks - per se - I'd like to address park policy.
It is sad that people think RV-ing is THE way to see the country. It'll probably just get worse as more baby boomers retire.
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Old 01-19-07, 12:12 PM   #20
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Banff is a bigger, better version of Glacier is how I see it.
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Old 01-19-07, 01:53 PM   #21
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Don't forget Grasslands National Park and Forillon National Park. And, of course, there's Taman Nagara National Park in Malaysia.
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Old 01-19-07, 02:34 PM   #22
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Most of the year the Grand Canyon Rim road is only open to shuttle buses and bicycles. Have to get up there and ride it one of these years (actually have a 1200k permanent I designed that includes this that I am hoping to try this summer to ease the pain of being to poor to go to PBP).
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Old 01-19-07, 02:53 PM   #23
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And let's not forget Cape Breton
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Old 01-19-07, 02:55 PM   #24
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And let's not forget Cape Breton

ooooo, i wanna ride that!
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Old 01-19-07, 03:00 PM   #25
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I really can't pick a "best" -
But I will mention Great Basin N.P.
It's just off the Western Express route, but many cyclists zip right on by.
The park is an alpine island in the desert.
If has three groves of bristlecone pines - the oldest living things on earth.
Lehman Caves make for a wonderful, cool tour on a day off.
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