Today we’re sharing another post in our 2019 “Park Chaser Profiles” series. Each Q & A interview features the story of a national park traveler. Whether you are visiting your first park or your 400th, we hope the travel tips and shared experience helps inspire your next national park adventure. Check out today’s post on Danielle & Bryan, creators of the Everybody’s National Parks podcast!
Meet Danielle & Bryan from @everybodysnationalparks
Park Chaser Profile: Danielle & Bryan from the Everybody’s National Parks podcast.
Total Park Count: Over our lifetime I think its 47/419. We have 12 parks on the podcast so far.
Most Recent Park: Jamestowne, Yorktown, and Shenandoah
Where can we find you online?
We have an audio guide podcast aimed to inspire families and others to visit America’s National Parks and help them get the most out of their park experience.
The first episode in a series starts with a trip report on each national park we visit, followed by in-depth interviews with experts on each park. Interviews feature behind-the-scenes insight and tips to inspire and educate visitors. Everybody’s National Parks
Is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and wherever podcasts are available or on our website: https://www.everybodysnationalparks.com/
About The Podcast
If you’re interested in learning more about Danielle and Bryan’s podcast, we found them when researching our “Best National Park Podcasts to Listen to in 2019”. We encourage you to check out the podcast, they recently had Ken Burns on an episode!
How did your interest in the national parks get started?
I first became interested in America’s national parks after traveling all around Madagascar and its national parks learning about the culture and environment while in the Peace Corps. When I was nearing the end of my service, I decided I wanted to learn about my own country. Bryan and I visited several parks out west upon my return. When our kids were little, we would take drives to visit Civil War battlefields in Maryland and Virginia. Once our kids were old enough to hike on their own, we decided to start exploring the big parks with them.
When did you decide to start sharing your national park interest online?
Since we like to listen to podcasts when we are researching a trip, we looked for podcasts about the national parks at the time and were surprised not to find any. This was in 2016 during the centennial year of the National Park Service. So, an idea was born. We decided to create the podcast we were looking for.
Have you had a favorite podcast moment since you started Everybody’s National Parks?
We had Ken Burns on our podcast recently. This year is the tenth anniversary of his acclaimed documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” We had such an amazing conversation with him. Ken said, “It matters whose hand you are holding.” Our kids will always remember and we will too. We create memories and stewards of the land. Our kids want to be park rangers when they grow up. Someday we will hike these trails at Shenandoah and all over the country with our grandchildren too.
Click here to listen to Ken Burns on Everybody’s National Parks.
What Does Everybody’s National Parks Love Most about the NPS?
What are your favorite things to do when you visit a national park?
We love ranger programs and junior ranger activity books. We love to hike, look for wildflowers, lichen,
Do you collect anything or have any special traditions you do for each park?
The kids earn their junior ranger badges and get passport stamps at every park. Bryan likes to get mugs (hopefully not 419). We also get a sticker to put on our camp stove. I like to get an ornament and write the date on it so I can remember what parks we visit at the end of each year.
Everyone has a favorite national park memory. What’s one that you’d like to share with us?
We live far from any national parks, but we consider Shenandoah to be our home park. It’s the first national park I went to when I was 20 with my sister and best friend to hike Old Rag. I took many Sunday drives on Skyline Drive with Bryan back in the day. Our kids’ first big national park visit was to Shenandoah. They’ve now been there many times including to volunteer.
Bryan’s great x 8 grandfather was at Yorktown with General George Washington, the site of the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. We went there for the first time last week. It was amazing to think that my kids’ ancestor was on that same ground in 1781 fighting for our independence. Thanks to the bravery of their ancestor and so many other men and women, we have this beautiful and diverse country with so many stories to pass on and land to protect and preserve. The national parks are for everybody since their inception, now, and for future generations. We are grateful for them and hope others will be inspired too.
Park Chasing and Travel Advice
How do you decide where to travel to next?
One of our daughters made a list of her top parks to visit.
It also depends on logistics, coordination with family and how much time we have. A few park visits have been combined with visits to see grandparents.
For inspiration, we look at The Moon Guidebook USA National Parks – The Complete Guide To All 59 Parks by Becky J Lomax (affiliate link).
How do you plan the itinerary when you pick a park? What are the resources you use when planning national park trips?
We look at guidebooks, NPS website, Google, blogs, #parkchat, and America’s National Parks Facebook group or other Facebook groups for specific parks, and other podcasts like the ones included in your blog post, “The Best National Parks Podcasts to Listen to in 2019”.
Do you like to have a set plan for the entire visit, or do you like to decide when you get there?
A little bit of both. We like to have a general idea of what we want to do, but our first stop is always the visitor’s center so we will get suggestions from park rangers too. Some of the busy parks require advanced reservations for certain activities or programs. We have learned to be flexible and go with the flow since
We tried to go to Petrified Forest in February, but pretty much all roads in northern Arizona were closed due to a snowstorm of the century there – 36+ inches. So we had to quickly change course and decided to go south to Saguaro instead. We had an amazing trip that ended up being totally spontaneous. We got to see snow and even a snowman there and I hiked one of my favorite hikes of all time, which included the infamous saguaro of course, but also waterfalls, snow, and perfect 70-degree hiking weather.