Although the Visitor Center is closed, 1,644 vehicles crossed the parking lot counter at the Overlook! People are using Washita’s trail to learn, exercise, and remove cabin fever! Do you still have some “safer-at-home” time on your hands and want to do something meaningful? Welcome to the National Park Service’s (NPS) Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) program!
The NPS has cataloged approximately 117,957,802 million artifacts, archives, and objects. Collections include items ranging from historic furnishings in the home of John Adams to flags that flew over Fort Sumter, Thomas Edison’s handwritten invention notes, botanical specimens from Yosemite, and archaeological items from Washita. Protecting these items for future generations is the core mission of the NPS.
In light of COVID-19, perhaps turn to your television and live vicariously through movies. Think of a favorite childhood movie that showed you a whole new world, then plan your next national park adventure. (This and the following is an excerpt from nationalparks.org) In Cars, Lightning McQueen discovered the beauty of smalltown America and Route 66.
Starting Saturday, April 18, is National Park Week. Washita’s trails and Overlook remain open, but the vault toilet is closed so plan accordingly. For those Sheltering in Place, don’t despair, dial in and discover Washita’s cell phone audio tour. Fifteen stops dot the 1.5-mile, figure 8 loop trail. Call (580) 354-7453, then follow the prompts. The tour shares stories and information of the area and the attack on the Washita.
In March, we had 402 visitors even though we closed our doors on March 18. Surprisingly, our car counter is 1,139, a 108% increase from last year! Where it is possible to adhere to federal, state, and local public health guidance, outdoor spaces will remain accessible to the public. When contemplating a visit to a national park, the NPS asks people to closely follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
In February, Stephen Jones, an amazing artist, passed away. Graciously, he loaned the park two magnificent sculptures, the bust of Black Kettle and a maquette, or scale model statue of Black Kettle. Jones had a dream to create a life size bronze version of his maquette and donate it to the park. He believed the statue would indicate the honor that should be bestowed upon such a great leader.
There were 361 visitors in January and 427 in February. Those visitors bought some new products from our park store, specifically two new shirts. One is made from RePreve – plastic bottles recycled into yarn! This shirt follows the conservation and preservation philosophy of the National Park Service (NPS). It promotes sound environmental principles in keeping with NPS efforts to reduce waste and promote sustainability.