NPS Centennial: Meet My Favorite National Park

I’ve never met a National Park I didn’t like, but I admit it, I have a favorite: Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont. To celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service (that’s today!), I thought I’d share a little bit about the park at the top of my list. Here, five reasons it’s my favorite. Happy 100th, NPS!

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  1. Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller (official nickname MABI) is everything you could want in one park. Historic estate? Check. Wooded trails that lead to a beautiful pond? Check (the Pogue! See top photo).
  2. MABI not only represents the history of conservation, it continues to function as a conservation headquarters. Both early owners had environmental roots. George Perkins Marsh was a pioneering environmentalist and Frederick Billings was an early conservationist, practicing his reforestation techniques in his own woods. Thanks to Billings, MABI is home to the longest continually managed forest in the United States. It is also the location of the Conservation Study Institute, created by NPS to enhance conservation leadership and facilitate stewardship partnerships.
  3. MABI is Vermont’s only National Park. How can you not add it to your visit list now that you know that?
  4. MABI is located on the edge of the charming New England town of Woodstock (see second-to-last photo, below) and functions in collaboration with the Billings Farm & Museum. Just across the street with the park entrance you can get some quality time with some Jersey cows (the cutest cow breed of them all. Seriously).
  5. I spent three months working at MABI through the SCA. A more personal reason to like MABI, sure, but through this experience I can tell you that this gem of a park never gets old.

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Even if you can’t head over to the Woodstock Inn on Friday and spend the weekend exploring the beautiful woods and estate grounds of MABI, I hope you can get out to your nearest National Park to celebrate the Centennial! I had an opportunity to visit the Pacific Northwest Preservation Field School last week at Mount Rainier National Park (did you catch the pics of my trip on Instagram? My favorite find was the 1929 gas station at Longmire). It was a great reminder of how amazing our national parks are both from a historical and environmental perspective, and how lucky we are to have them.

If that isn’t enough to get you out the door, NPS has announced August 25-28 free entrance days (though note, MABI visitors, visiting MABI is always free! You’ll only have to pay if you want a tour of the mansion).

PS If you do find yourself near MABI, they’re having a Centennial Celebration on the 27th, which will include festivities and special tours (you can even get a peak into the Belvedere and the fallout shelter beneath it. The Belvedere is the white building pictured below). 

Next week: back to the regular Monday programing.

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