Happy new year! Some page updates

Happy 2017, everyone! I started this site just over three years ago now, and am pretty pleased with how things have progressed. Three years ago on this date, I had all of 261 maps on 27 pages. Today I have 1,249 maps on 114 park pages. Sure, you could argue that I should have much more than that considering all the time that’s passed since then, but I’ve moved a few times, changed jobs, and had a relatively busy personal life. Cut me some slack! ūüôā This site will probably never be paying my bills, so it’ll remain just a free-time project for me. OK, new updates:

Timpanogos Cave trail mapRainbow Bridge Maps and Timpanogos Cave Maps are both live – two national monuments that tend to not get too much visitation. They’re pretty much at the opposite ends of the accessibility spectrum as well – Timpanogos Cave is right off the highway just outside the Salt Lake City metro area, while Rainbow Bridge can only be realistically visited by boat from Lake Powell.

Exit Glacier aerial mapI’ve also added new maps from a bunch of park wayside exhibits: you’ll find some battle maps on the Harpers Ferry Maps page,¬†new trail maps on Everglades Maps, ¬†trail maps of Giant Forest on Sequoia Maps, trail and geological maps on Lassen Volcanic Maps, Exit Glacier maps on Kenai Fjords Maps, Lassen Bumpass Hell mapand aerial photography maps on Cape Lookout Maps. Additionally, you’ll find a couple extra random ones I uncovered on park websites: a map showing ancient Lake Florissant on Florissant Fossil Beds Maps, and Yosemite picnic areas on Yosemite Maps.

Whew. See, I haven’t just been sitting around doing nothing!


A few new parks

I hope everyone’s been having a good winter holiday season so far! I’m happy to report that I’ve created a few new pages, putting me over 1,200 maps for the first time.

Organ Pipe precipitation mapAlthough it’s not a heavily-visited park — it’s way down on the Mexican border in Arizona — I dug up 11 maps for the Organ Pipe Cactus maps page. Although I wouldn’t recommend a summer visit, the desert can be beautiful in the spring!

Hovenweep National Monument mapI unfortunately don’t have much yet for Hovenweep maps, but I’m hoping I’ll have more soon. There are some incredible parks in this part of the country for those fascinated by¬†human stories – stay tuned for more pages soon.

National Mall mapThe National Mall maps page was a bit tricky, as I couldn’t decide whether to also include parks that are also nearby the Mall even if they’re managed as a separate park unit. In the end, I decided to keep parks like President’s Park (The White House) on separate pages, but with links back and forth for easy access.

3D White House mapWhite House maps¬†gets its own page since I was able to dig up enough different maps that I didn’t want to clog up the National Mall maps page. Technically this should be called “President’s Park maps,” but how many people out there know that President’s Park is the official name for the White House park grounds? For clarity, I decided White House Maps worked much better.

A bunch of small updates

First, I’m sorry the updates have gotten a bit slow lately – it’s summer! I’m not fancy enough to make my living off the web, so I work a regular full-time job and put in time on this site¬†when I have free time. So when the weather is nice and it’s hiking and camping season, I’m outside soaking up the mountains and sun rather than sitting on my laptop on the couch. I hope you understand! (If you’re reading this site, there’s a good chance you’re¬†same way.)

Anyway, I just wanted to let you in on a number of small updates I’ve done recently:

Lassen Butte Lake Campground mapI replaced the campground maps on the Lassen Volcanic maps page – the new ones are much clearer and higher quality, making it easier to find your campsite of choice.

Death Valley National Park mapI uploaded a couple new full-park Death Valley maps that are better looking than the previous ones and have been revised in the last few months. Check them out – they’re the first two maps listed on the page.

Canyonlands terrain mapI uploaded some¬†beautiful terrain maps to the Glacier maps and Canyonlands maps pages. They’re not as useful for navigation, but they¬†look so nice¬†and I can’t help staring at them and plotting trips.

Yosemite panorama mapI added some amazing looking Heinrich Berann map paintings to a few parks: Yosemite, Yellowstone, North Cascades, and Denali. Again, like the terrain maps above, they’re not meant to be printed and taken with you in the car; instead they’re better for getting a visual perspective of what the parks are like.

Again, I appreciate your patience; once the summer starts wrapping up and the weather cools down, expect more substantial updates to come!

Over 100 parks?? Yep!

How do you, readers, benefit from me house- and pet-sitting over the last several days? Of course Рit means I had time to create eight new park pages for you. Which brings me to 107 parks added! Of course, when I started this site, there were only 401 park units; now there are 412. Yep, the President keeps creating more work for me. Thanks, Obama.

Here’s an overview of my new pages:

Saint Croix River map 7I gave the upper Midwest some love with Saint Croix River Maps, located in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. It’s the second park I’ve added for each state.

Buffalo River mapMy most requested park was Buffalo National River, so I present to you Buffalo River Maps. I’m happy to bring some more attention to Arkansas, as Hot Springs often gets overlooked as it is.

Natchez Trace map - Natchez to JacksonPoor Mississippi had been shut out so far, but I got Natchez Trace Maps up, allowing me to also give Alabama their first page as well (and Tennessee’s second).

Vicksburg mapIn Mississippi, when it rains, it pours so I continued that tradition by uploading my second Mississippi park in a row with Vicksburg Maps. Just five maps to start with here.

Cumberland Gap mapAnd more for Tennessee! Cumberland Gap Maps also allowed me to tick off another historical park, which my site has definitely been lacking in so far. The South definitely got lots of love with this update.

Mojave National Preserve mapNow a quick jaunt west, to get the missing Mojave desert park, Mojave National Preserve Maps. I feel like California has too many pages added already, but hey, they’ve got a lot of parks.

Oregon Caves mapUp north: my fifth cave park and third Oregon park added: Oregon Caves Maps. Make sure you check out the underground maps; there are some fun ones here!

Little Bighorn battle mapAnd finally, a traveling a little bit northeast from Oregon, we have Little Bighorn Maps Рone of the few western parks with a historical focus. Gotta get more history!

Fulfilling your requests

Link to NPMaps on FacebookFirst up: I recently received a few emails from users¬†asking how to stay in the loop and be¬†notified when new maps or pages are added. A mailing list and newsletter¬†seemed like too big of a hassle for me, so I went the route of Facebook; you can now follow the National Park Maps Facebook page and I’ll post all updates to the site there. Hopefully that means you don’t have to keep checking back to this Updates page all the time (which I’ll of course continue updating).

Two recent emails stood out for their common theme:

From Jerilyn: Thank you for all this information. Wonderful job. I live in Vermont and could not find any of our parks. Thanks again.

From Alex: Hey Matt, I love what you’re doing, but nothing for Vermont??? We’ve got some great parks and some darn old mountains.

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller walking tour mapMy apologies to the entire state of Vermont; I am deeply sorry if I’ve offended Ben, Jerry, or Bernie Sanders. So today¬†I gave Vermont some love and added Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park maps, featuring five maps for now. Am I still missing states? Sure. But as of today, I am missing one fewer. And now I have my first “unnecessarily long and unwieldy park name” park added, which naturally was a tremendous oversight on my part.

So does this mean I’m saying you should all make your requests and I’ll immediate add your favorite park? Well, no. Here is a selection of some of the requests I’ve received over the last month or so:

Gulf Islands, C&O Canal, Whiskeytown, Organ Pipe Cactus, Santa Fe Trail, Wilson’s Creek, Pecos, Natchez Trace, Padre Island, Silos and Smokestacks, Herbert Hoover, Santa Monica Mountains, Fort Matanzas, Vicksburg, Cape Canaveral, Castillo de San Marcos, Morristown, Buffalo National River, Pea Ridge, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Selma to Montgomery, Mojave, Lewis and Clark, Saratoga, El Malpais, Saint Croix Riverway, Booker T. Washington, Greenbelt, Andersonville.

Whew! And that doesn’t touch on the dozens of requests I got for national forests, state parks, BLM sites, and Canadian national parks. So – sure – go ahead and request a park, but as you can see I certainly have no shortage of things to do right now.

An NPMaps Exclusive!

I found a bit of time for a fun update: I am pleased to present my first ever NPMaps.com exclusive! That’s right – I’ve actually uploaded five maps that were previously unavailable anywhere online, including the official government nps.gov sites. I’m the first to host them. Exciting stuff, huh? So, let’s get to it…

Glacier St Mary mapSo, which is the lucky page? Why it’s none other than Glacier National Park maps! Through secret sources (ooooooh!), I’ve been given four new trail maps for Lake McDonald, Logan Pass/St. Mary, Many Glacier, and Two Medicine that are free to use and distribute. Enjoy! These are better than the ones the park includes in their free hiking handouts.

Black Canyon East Portal campground mapOh, but that’s not all – I actually have a second exclusive to share with you! This one is slightly less exciting, however; it’s just a campground map for East Portal Campground on the Black Canyon of the Gunnison maps page. So what makes it an exclusive? Well, this is a map I’ve never been able to find online; I actually got this map by visiting in person, taking a photo of the campground registration board, and digitizing it myself. (Never let it be said that I’m not dedicated.) So for now, this is the only place online you’ll be able to find this map.

Gateway National Recreation Area mapBut I haven’t just been sitting here content with only a few exclusives. Nope; enjoy the 28 maps I’ve just uploaded to the new Gateway National Recreation Area maps page. Honestly, I’ve been procrastinating on this one for a while as I knew it would take me a long time. And it did. But hey, now it’s up and I can move on to something more fun.¬†New parks coming soon…

Um, wow. Thank you.

Creating this website was frustrating. “Come on Google, find this site! It’s really great, I promise – people will totally like it.” But over the first year of existence, I received about¬†20,000 total webpage views.

Over the last two days alone, I tripled that number. Wow! Thank you.

Chelsea Clinton shared my post?It’s been so¬†much fun seeing it spread throughout social media this week, as users (Chelsea Clinton?!) have been enthusiastically sharing blog posts about this site from CityLab, Unofficial Networks, Teton Gravity Research, Mother Nature Network, the Oregonian, Mental Floss… the list goes on.

It’s been a blast. Why? It’s not really a money thing – you’ll notice I don’t have any web ads so I can keep things as simple as possible to get you to the maps quickly. I make enough money from the Amazon map referrals to cover my web hosting fees, so I’m hoping to keep things ad free unless my web hosting costs increase from all the new traffic.

Rather, it’s just fun to see my hard work appreciated; really, isn’t that all we want in life? Yes, it was¬†frustrating to try filling (what I thought was) a need and not having anyone notice, but it’s totally worth it now that people have noticed.

Thank you for that. I hope I’ve made your¬†national park visit a little easier and a little better.

I know I’ve been a bit slow about creating new pages over the last few weeks; honestly, summer is here and the weather is getting nice so I just haven’t spent as much time indoors. I’ve been out¬†visiting the parks instead of just writing about them – what a concept!

So I appreciate your patience. I’ve received¬†lots of requests by email asking me to upload maps for Local Park X and Favorite Park Y. Keep them coming! It does help me decide which pages¬†to focus on next. But this is just a “whenever I have free time” project of mine, and I find I have less free time during¬†the summer. More will be coming! I don’t plan on stopping until I have a page for each park.

And then I have national forests, state parks, BLM land… ¬†You might as well just consider this site to be a work in progress for, say, the next 10 years.