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: Camp Nelson National Monument in Kentucky became the 418th unit in the National Park System on October 26, 2018. In March 2019, an act of Congress split World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument into two separate units: Pearl Harbor National Memorial and Tule Lake National Monument. The change dissolves the Valor in the Pacific unit and increases the total number of NPS units to 419. In addition, six NPS sites have new names and designations, and two newly authorized sites are added to the list of future NPS units. The two newly authorized sites are Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument and the 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