Passport to Your National Parks

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Example of a National Park Passport Stamp for the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area

Passport to Your National Parks is a program through which ink stamps can be acquired at no cost at park visitor centers and ranger stations at nearly all of the 424 units of the United States National Park System and most of the National Park Service's affiliated areas. The program is run by Eastern National, a non-profit organization that operates bookstores in many park locations.

The ink stamps applied with a rubber stamp are similar in nature to passport stamps stamped in a traveler's national passport and serve as a record of each park visit. Eastern National has described the stamps as cancellations, but this is incorrect as a cancellation is a mark that cancels the validity of a postage stamp, while these mark a record of visitation like a passport stamp and denote a place and date like a postmark and do not cancel anything. Collectors of the stamps have formed a non-profit social club, the National Park Travelers Club, a group which holds annual conventions.

Passport books[edit]

Passport books, sold at Eastern National park stores and online, provide a place for park visitors to collect National Park passport stamps. Over 1.3 million Passport books have been sold.[1] The 3.25" × 5.5" passport book provides five pages for each of the nine regions where the passport user can place ink stamps and can affix one featured stamp per page. A featured stamp collector's passport would therefore be filled after five years of use as long as the featured stamps were added to the book each year. In 2006, for the program's 20th anniversary, the Passport Explorer was released, featuring a binder and larger pages.[2] Due to its binder format, the Passport Explorer allows the user to easily add extra pages for additional stamps and featured stamps.

National Park Passport Regions[edit]

The nine passport regions (The DC area is its own region)

The National Park Service is administratively divided into regions. Each region provides oversight and guidance to the park units within its geographic area. While the NPS currently divides the various parks, monuments, and other units among seven regions, the passport booklet organizes parks into the nine regions in effect when the program was established.

Annual stamp series[edit]

In addition to the stamps, each year the Passport to Your National Parks program releases a set of ten full-color collector sticker stamps featuring a photo and description of one park per region. Passport holders can affix these adhesive stamps to their Passport book in a designated space below which they can stamp the corresponding ink stamp. The Park units featured on the stamp sets change each year.

The stamp sets, dating back to their inception in 1986, are still readily available at most park gift shops for under $10, or on the internet through Eastern National.

Originally, the featured stamps were only available in the region they represented, save for Colonial National Historical Park, where Eastern National was headquartered. In 1986 the stamps were printed on thin cardboard, which distorted the passbook due to the combined thickness of the cardboard. Each stamp would be mounted onto its respective page with a lightweight, black, adhesive-backed plastic sleeve. Since 1987, the annual stamp series have been printed on a single sheet of adhesive-backed glossy paper, of a quality similar to that of conventional postage stamps.

Featured stamps[edit]

Year National Stamp Regional Stamps
1986 Statue of Liberty
1987 Independence National Historical Park/Independence Hall
1988 The five winners of the Arts for the Parks contest:
1989 Yellowstone National Park
1990 Sequoia National Park
1991 Muir Woods National Monument
1992 San Juan National Historic Site
1993 Grand Teton National Park
1994 Golden Spike National Historic Site
1995 Glacier National Park
1996 Mesa Verde National Park
1997 Everglades National Park
1998 Women's Rights National Historical Park
1999 Mount Rainier National Park; Bonus Stamp - Commemorative Issue: U.S. Department of the Interior.
2000 Minute Man National Historical Park
2001 Independence National Historical Park - The Liberty Bell
ENP Stamps 2001.jpg
2002 Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
2003 Saguaro National Park
2004 Navajo National Monument
2005 George Washington Memorial Parkway
2006 Petrified Forest National Park
2007 Kalaupapa National Historical Park
2008 Pinnacles National Park
2009 Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site
2010 Dinosaur National Monument
2011 Fort Sumter National Monument in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War
2012 Shiloh National Military Park in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War
2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
2014 Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
2015 Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
2016 National Park Service Turns 100
2017 Denali National Park and Preserve
2018 Appalachian National Scenic Trail
2019 Grand Canyon National Park
2020 Women’s Rights National Historical Park
2021 Golden Gate National Recreation Area
2022 Lake Mead National Recreation Area
2023 Manhattan Project National Historical Park

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Passport Explorer Available". National Park Service.
  2. ^ "Passport Explorer Edition" (PDF). Eastern National. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-07-19.

External links[edit]