Nerve Endings Firing Away

We love visiting National Parks at least once a year. We love the mountains, the beaches, and the woods equally. Something I started collecting on our trips was the nicely-designed map booklets that the National Park Service (NPS) hands out at the entrance. We always ask for two - one to use during our trip and the other for keepsakes.

If you look on the Internet, there’s quite a history behind the design and evolution of these booklets (e.g. for Yellowstone NP) The current incarnation, called the Unigrid System, created by designer Massimo Vignelli in collaboration with the National Park Service’s Harpers Ferry Center’s design staff, is my favorite, right from the bold black background at the top to the choice of the typeface. Once you open them up, the sheer genius of the infographic design takes your breath away as you soak up the amazing facts and wonders that each Park has to offer.

For me, it’s a small reminder of the Parks we have visited so far. We do plan to see them all. Admittedly, some of them are so remote that the only way is by an 8-hour boat ride in one case and, in another, a helicopter. But maybe someday.

We have visited 13 parks so far.

If you include National monuments and seashores, you can add six more.

If you want to start your collection and have already been to a few but forgot to get an extra map, I have some spare ones that I can mail to you (U.S. only). Let me know.

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