About The Centennial Journey


The Journey

After making it a goal to see all 400+ parks managed within the National Park System, David visited over 150 parks a year in 2014 and 2015. He had visited over 300 National Park units by 2016, the National Park Service’s centennial year. David celebrated the centennial by seeing as many parks as possible among both the ~100 unexplored parks and those previously visited, all while maintaining a full-time job.

David planned a few longer trips months in advance, including his first trip to Alaska and a Caribbean itinerary through Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He filled the remainder of the year with park excursions at every opportunity. By year’s end, his travels covered 146,000 miles to 387 NPS sites in all 50 states.

With 23 parks left to visit at the centennial’s conclusion, David completed his goal to visit all 417 National Park Service units with his visit to Reconstruction Era National Monument on the weekend of his 47th birthday in December 2017.

Note: The National Park Service currently has 423 units. David has visited them all. New units since the book’s publication include Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument, Eisenhower National Memorial, Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park, and Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home National Monument.

The scenic ideals that surround even our national parks are carriers of a nostalgia for heavenly bliss and eternal calmness.

Robert Smithson