Tag Archives: Update

Thank you for attending our presentation!

Thank you to everyone who attended our presentation last night at the library! If you couldn’t make it, please check out the short video we made to explain our quest to hike in all 155 National Forests (and learn more in our newspaper articles).

Please find below a gallery of the Powerpoint slides that ran before the presentation. And if you haven’t already, please check out our new guidebook to the National Forests.

We look forward to sharing more about National Forests in the future on this website.

We published our new guidebook to National Forests!

Today we published our newest guidebook to the National Forests available for sale on Amazon

Out in the Woods: An Introductory Guide to America’s 155 National Forests introduces readers to the diversity of forests across all of America by providing a straightforward introduction to each National Forest, an easy hiking trail that is representative of that forest, and a tree species that can be found there. 

We are also giving a presentation on recreating in National Forests at the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne, Wyoming. It will be in the Cottonwood Room (1st floor) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. We will have all of our books for sale before and after the talk and would be happy to sign them for you.

If you go to our book page on Amazon (https://amzn.to/3LSeey2) click on the cover image to Look Inside and read the introduction. Below is an example of the layout for all 155 National Forests.

Check out our Shop tab for all of books and products!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Top 10 of Our Top 10 Lists

We have completed a surprising 55 Top 10 Lists for this travel blog, so we thought now would be a good time to rank our favorites.  Like most of our lists, this one is purely based on personal opinion and not number of page views.  A meta-analysis of the lists revealed that Yellowstone National Park in our home state of Wyoming consistently ranks near the top of many different lists.  So if you want to visit one National Park* you might do well to choose the world’s first.  Another good place to start is our Top 10 from Our First 100 Blog Posts, 101-200, and 201-300Click here (or above) to see all our Top 10 Lists.

*A reminder that of the 423 units in the National Park Service (NPS) system, only 63 are called National Parks so we tend to split our lists between those 63 and the other 360 NPS Sites

10. Top 10 of the 50 States for NPS Sites

This was one of our favorite lists to make, and surprisingly our home state didn’t even make it

9. Top 10 of the 63 National Parks for Wildlife Watching

Wildlife makes some National Parks great destinations, plus don’t miss out on our Top 10 NPS Sites for Wildlife Watching

8. Top 10 NPS Sites to See America First

When international travel is not an option, visit these lookalike spots without a passport

7. Top 10 Sand Dunes at All NPS Sites     

We love climbing, backpacking, photographing, and sledding on sand dunes

6. Top 10 Museums at the 63 National Parks

Not all National Parks even have a museum, but some are really well done as are the ones in our Top 10 Museums at NPS Sites

5. Top 10 Caves at All NPS Sites 

Caves are not for everyone, but wild caving tours have been some of our best park experiences

4. Top 10 of the 63 National Parks for Hiking

The easiest way to lose the crowds at a National Park is to hike for a mile or two, which is also true in our Top 10 NPS Sites for Hiking

3. Top 10 National Monuments

The NPS manages 82 of the nation’s 128 National Monuments and there are some that are better than the 63 National Parks

2. Top 20 of the 63 National Parks for Photography         

Ten was not nearly enough for this list, nor for our Top 20 NPS Sites for Photography

…and finally the #1 Top 10 List:

1. Top 10 of the 63 National Parks

Our highly-opinionated list does not even mention some of the most visited National Parks

Honorable Mentions

Top 10 Primitive Campgrounds at the 63 National Parks

We actually did four lists for camping, including Campgrounds (with running water), Designated Backcountry Campsites, and Dispersed Backcountry Camping

Top 10 Waterfalls at the 63 National Parks

Waterfalls are often the most visited feature in any given National Park, as is the case in our Top 10 Waterfalls at NPS Sites

Top 10 NPS Sites for Kayaking

We have kayaked at quite a few NPS units (including Channel Islands National Park in November 2021)

More Honorable Mentions

Many of our lists are for books and films, so here are our favorites among those:

Top 10 Movies Filmed in National Parks

These are not necessarily the best movies of all time, but they all feature great landscapes

Top 10 Non-Fiction Books Set in Multiple NPS Sites

Just had to update this list after reading Conor Knighton’s Leave Only Footprints; also check out our Top 10 Novels and Top 10 Non-Fiction Books Set in a Single NPS Site

Top 10 Guidebooks to National Parks

We’re #1!  What else can we say?  Planning is a fun and essential part of good travel

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Explanation of National Forest Blog Posts

Welcome to the new Raven About The Parks | Raven About The Forests!  This week we are starting to post about the 155 National Forests (in alphabetical order), as well as the National Monuments and National Recreation Areas that they manage (which will be three of our first five posts).  For more information about how the U.S. Forest Service is different from the National Park Service, check out our previous blog post.

There will be a few differences in our posts on the National Forests, including some new headings, like a paragraph on Watchable Wildlife and a list of Wilderness Areas.  At the top of each page, we are going to start putting the managing agency (i.e. U.S. Forest Service), acreage, and a link to the government website.  We will still link to three of our blog posts on Related Sites on our public lands, plus now the nearest of the 63 National Parks. 

Another change is the addition of a list of Conifer Tree Species (cone-bearing Gymnosperms or softwoods often called “pines” or “evergreens”) and Flowering Tree Species (Angiosperms or hardwoods that are often called “deciduous” because many species lose their leaves in autumn).  Scott has a Ph.D. in forestry and always wanted to teach dendrology, so this keeps him happy.

We will still have all the headings that simplify getting information from our blog posts, including Overview, Highlights, Must-Do Activity, Best Trail, Instagram-worthy Photo, Peak Season, Fees, Road Conditions, Camping, and the final trivia question in Explore More.

We also plan to keep up with our Top 10 Lists, so watch for those, too.

Thank you for reading.  Happy New Year!

Scott and Tiff

Raven About The Forests in addition to the Parks

Starting in 2022, Raven About The Parks is becoming Raven About The Parks | Raven About The Forests! 

So other than adding another cool logo to our website, what does this actually mean?  We will now be posting about the 155 National Forests in America that are managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) not the National Park Service (NPS – we just posted on our 300th NPS site in December!).  For more information on the history of the USFS check out our newspaper article from November.

As a quick reminder of the differences between the two government agencies:

U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is in the Department of Agriculture and manages 155 National Forests (in 40 states and 1 territory), 20 National Grasslands, 22 National Recreation Areas, 13 National Monuments, and 1 National Historic Site.  Hunting is allowed in most National Forests and rules are generally more relaxed about hiking off trail and dispersed camping.  The USFS was founded in 1905 on the ideal of conservation, which includes natural resource extraction and logging in a sustainable manner.

National Park Service (NPS) is in the Department of Interior and manages 423 sites (in all 50 states and 5 territories plus Washington, D.C.), which are made up of no National Forests nor Grasslands, 63 National Parks, 20 National Recreation Areas, 82 National Monuments, 82 National Historic Sites, and many other designations.  Hunting is not allowed in most NPS units and rules are generally stricter about hiking off trail and dispersed camping.  The NPS was founded in 1916 on the ideal of preservation, which does not allow for natural resource extraction or logging.

I feel like my old forestry professor self was coming out there.  There will not be a test, though.

Our Goals

When the pandemic shut down most NPS sites, it inspired us to do something we had talked about for years: hiking in all 155 National Forests.  We determined that we already had traveled enough to write about 55 National Forests in places we previously lived, including Alaska, Arizona, California, North Carolina, and Wyoming.  That left 100 more to go.  Of course, that did not stop us from returning to a few favorites along the way, like Black Hills, Bridger, Gila, Medicine Bow, Nebraska, and Roosevelt National Forests.

Over the past 17 months, to complete this monumental task I (being Scott) needed lots of support from both my wife (being Tiff who was still working full time at the local hospital) and my recently-retired mother.  Together we drove more than 40,000 miles across 42 states (plus Puerto Rico).  We hiked and backpacked well over 700 miles of trails in 117 National Forests, spending 129 nights camping.

Our major objective in visiting all 155 National Forests was to finish research so we can publish a guidebook in 2022.  Watch for updates on how that project progresses, but in the meanwhile enjoy learning more about our public lands as we start posting on National Forests (in alphabetical order) and their associated National Monuments and National Recreation Areas.  We start next Thursday with Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest.

Thank you for reading.  Happy New Year!

Scott and Tiff