The National Park Service website offers myriad helpful resources, including several mobile apps to enhance park visits. You might also want to download National Geographic's free National Parks App for iPhone and iPad.
Many park sites provide maps and other literature in Spanish, says NPS's Kathy Kupper. To entice you even more, there are four fee-free days between now and the end of this year: Sept. 29, to celebrate Public Lands Day, and Nov. 10-12, in honor of Veterans Day.
A New Initiative
Recognizing that Hispanic history and heritage are still underrepresented in National Park Service destinations across the country, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar is being proactive. He launched the American Latino Heritage Initiative in 2011, with the goal of increasing the number of Hispanic-themed sites that are on the National Register of Historic Places and that are designated National Historic Landmarks.
When he launched the initiative,he told the Washington Post: "I think when you look at the way Americans most understand the history of Latinos in this country, a lot of it is being told now through the lens of what's happening with the immigration debate. While that's an important debate that has security and moral implications, in my view, there's also a huge history of Latinos in the United States that's never been told."
The American Latino Heritage Fund is working with communities nationwide to ensure that national parks and historic sites not only reflect but engage the Hispanic community. The fund recently kicked off a social media campaign called the American Latino Heritage Road Trip. Hispanic bloggers and tweeters are documenting their trips to historic locations that chronicle Latino contributions. Audiences can keep track of the road trip on Facebook or via Twitter by following @American_Latino or using the hashtag #LatinoHeritage.
"We want our community to feel it's included as part of the American story," says Midy Aponte, executive director of the American Latino Heritage Fund.
So why not take her words to heart, plan your own road trip and add to the richness of the American story.
Also of interest: Top 5 Washington, D.C., monuments.