While not all national parks are very dog-friendly, for their own valid reasons, there are plenty of parks where I’ve been able to get outside and hike my heart out—at least until I get exhausted from over-excitement, and then my dads will need to carry me. These are some of my very favorite dog-friendly national parks I’ve explored so far, and where you should take your bark rangers, too!
I did not know my deep connection to the land until after I left the Navajo Nation. I went away to college and explored the mountains of Utah, but no matter how much fun I had outside, I felt incomplete. I learned to ski, snowboard, and climb, but my outdoor heart was never whole until I drove home and saw the red sandstone and the vast desert that went on for miles. I didn’t need to be in my house, I just needed to be where the ground was red and the skies were blue. That’s when I knew land was part of my identity.
When we think of conservation, a word that easily comes to mind is “ecosystem,” and what is an ecosystem but a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment. Every word of this definition is loaded with proof that the human species is an ecosystem! And it is out of balance, but not all is lost; there is still hope.
The outdoors has been a huge source of healing for me, and it would be ignorant to think it isn’t for many others. Science shows us the many benefits of outdoor access, from physical to emotional health. Sadly, being on the trail, or even sitting around a campfire, hasn’t been the most welcoming place for a certain group of people—I’m talking about Black Americans.
We should be elated and driven knowing this is the year YOU can do something about it. We have the opportunity to make national parks and our public lands part of the important and larger conversation of equality and conservation.
With Hello Ranger, we’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with ambassadors from across the country, and now with the launch of our new podcast, we’re excited to take the spotlight off of us and our lives as RVers, and spread the spotlight onto the greater national parks community.
As members of both the LGBTQ+ community and the outdoors community, we look forward to exploring the intersection of LGBTQ+ heritage and culture with our national parks and public lands.
Unfortunately, even in this modern day society, there are those who fundamentally feel a sense of entitlement, ownership, and control over who the great outdoors belongs to. Nature is a right and no one has the authority to decide that any one particular group doesn’t deserve access to publicly accessible locations or doesn’t belong there. Yet it happens way more often than we would like think it does. As a Black female camper, there are unique considerations and precautions that have to be taken to ensure safety.
The Passport to Your National Parks, in all its simplicity, represents the ultimate American bucket list for adventurers and nature-lovers, and it’s shocking this thing isn’t more ubiquitous than it is.
At its core, a national park is a place that’s been set aside for conservation and preservation. These are often places of iconic natural beauty, like Yosemite and Grand Canyon, but national parks can also be in urban areas, historic battlefields, and beyond. You might be surprised by the breadth of parks, and the fact that there might be one in your own backyard.