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All About Our Big Obsession the National Park Cancellation Stamp Program (Yvonne Manske)

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Before Amy really started to learn how to get outside and long before her 20-minute daily challenge, she discovered the National Parks cancelation stamps program and the club of people that enthusiastically participate.

As Humans Outside celebrates National Parks week we couldn’t think of anything better than talking to the people who spearhead that club and bringing podcast guests the join of the obsession … we mean hobby … straight from the people who know it best. Yvonne Manske, the club’s current president, in this episode shares everything you need to know about the cancelation stamp program, and maybe even a little bit more.

Some of the good stuff:

[2:59] Yvonne Manske’s favorite outdoor space

[3:39] How she first found the National Park cancelation stamps program

[6:48] What exactly are National Park cancelation stamps

[9:18] What’s up with the photo sticker sheets

[11:05] How many stamps are there?

[12:57] All about the National Park Travelers Club

[13:51] Why do people collect the stamps?

[14:20] Why stamps go missing

[19:56] The best place looking for a stamp has taken Yvonne

[22:33] The worst place looking for a stamp has taken Yvonne

[25:00] The most difficult to get stamps

[28:00] All about good stamping etiquette

[33:26] What exactly happens at a cancelation stamp convention

[35:06] What to do if you missed getting stamps

[37:55] Yvonne’s favorite and most essential outdoor gear

[39:33] Yvonne’s favorite outdoor moment

Connect with this episode:

Register for our newsletter to win a decal: https://humansoutside.com/newsletter

Follow us on Instagram and share your outdoor life with the hashtag #humansoutside365.

Here’s an edited transcript of our conversation on The Humans Outside Podcast.

Listen to the episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

AB 0:07

If you’ve ever visited a national park bookstore or visitor center you might have noticed a little wooden kiosk with a blue book a stamp pad and a stamp or two were a few visitors eagerly first examined the date on the stamp before opening their own blue book finding a specific page and inking and pounding the stamp. What you’re seeing are park cancellation stamp collectors, part of a group of enthusiastic people like yours truly who use the stamp program to mark which national park system unit they’ve visited around the US. All of the 423 official national park units have stamps associated with them, but there are far more than 423 stamps, as many units have more than one stamp that are unique to a specific visitor center or area at the unit and only available at one specific stop, stamps that roam with the rangers, or stamps that are retired. For many users, finding the stamps or knowing where to look is a big part of the fun. It’s so fun in fact, that the National Park Travelers Club was founded in 2004 by park enthusiasts to help them find the stamps and share their park visiting love. Dues paying members can have access to the glorious master list which contains all of the locations of the park stamps and is crowd sourced by actual users. I cannot even tell you how much I nerd out about this, which is why I’m so excited to have Yvonne Manske on with us today. Yvonne, who joined the club in 2009, is its current president and she’s going to tell us all about the park stamps, the program, the club, and her own parks journey. Yvonne, welcome to Humans Outside.

YM 2:40

Thank you for having me.

AB 2:42

So I’m really excited to nerd out with you about this today. We’ve talked about this a little bit before we started recording, but before we get started we always ask our guests to take us to their favorite outdoor space, as if we’re hanging out they’re having a chat. So where are we with you today?

YM 2:59

I have to say my favorite space is out on the ocean. I love to spend time sailing and cruising. I’ve been on 10 or 11 cruises now and I think I mentioned to you in my bio that I did that sea semester program as a college student and there’s just – I mean the sky is so big. I mean it’s not even like camping, it’s just amazing.

AB 3:23

I can picture exactly what you’re talking about, maybe we’re looking at a rainbow. Who can say? What was your first encounter with the park cancellation stamp program?

YM 3:39

Oh, my first encounter. I wasn’t actually a stamper back then. I remember getting my stamp. I stamped the postcard at Scottsbluff National Monument in 1998 and I have looked for that thing for so long, because I didn’t really start stamping until right before I joined this club. So that was like 2008 -10 years later, so I really long to find that first stamp. But I think I may have mailed it and I may never see it again. But that was my first kind of encounter with the program. I remember stamping but I didn’t collect books or any of that kind of stuff back then.

AB 4:31

And how did you go from I stamped a postcard that I can’t find to I’m the president?

YM 4:41

It’s funny because I volunteer for the Park Service here in DC on the National Mall. Every year we have the Cherry Blossom Festival and I was a volunteer and I was working in the welcome tent and somebody came over with their book and asked for the stamp. And I was like — What are you talking about? And they’re like — I mean, just the cherry blossom stamp. And they only put it out, usually for the festival. It’s a special, you know, special festival stamp. And so they showed me and I was like — Oh my gosh, I need to have one of those. And so I ran over to the tent next door and bought a book. And that was, you know, the first time and after that I kind of went, you know, the, the National Mall is all the memorials around here, we have like, millions of stamps, it seems like you can get at all different places. And so I started going around and collecting the stamps. And I was like, you know, you start to wonder, and I think that’s how a lot of people find our club, you start to wonder, maybe people know where all the stamps are, or there’s a list somewhere. And so I started looking for that online. And that’s kind of how I found the club. And, you know, when I joined the club, they were planning their first convention, and that – I went to in 2010. And it was due to come here to DC in 2011. And so I started, you know, talking to them about helping plan the convention, and I got way into the conventions. And, you know, being in the club, and I said, you know — I’d like to try to get on the board. And I’d like to try to get involved with some of this stuff. So that’s kind of how I got there.

AB 6:23

So I desperately want to know what happens at a park stamp convention. But we’re going to come back to that in a minute. Because I want you to first tell us, if you don’t mind, about the stamp program. Just you know, if somebody has no idea what we’re talking about, or they’ve just seen the cancellation stamp in passing. What is this? Gve us a little history of the stamp program.

YM 6:48

Sure. So the passport stamp program was started by a company called Eastern National back in 1986, we’re actually celebrating our 35th anniversary. And you know, I mean, we’re not really affiliated with them or the Park Service. So you know, I can’t really speak on their behalf. But my basic knowledge is that they did it as a way to try to get people to visit some of the parks that, you know, most people don’t know about. I mean, you know, you go to the Grand Canyon, or you go to the Yellowstone or something like that. Actually, I was out at Bryce Canyon one year, and we talked to the guide, and he was like — you know, our visitation here is like, you know, maybe 30,000 a year, which is like one weekend at the Grand Canyon. So all these places, they don’t get a lot of visitation. And I think that Eastern National runs most of the bookstores for the parks on the eastern coast and out towards the Midwest. And there are several other Park associations that run bookstores across the country. But Eastern National produces most of the park stamps – pretty much all of the park stamps. I mean, they you know, Parks can get their own kind of stamps, but they produce them for all the parks and they produce them for anniversaries and all that.

AB 8:04

Okay, so I just want to like scene set for people. You can buy from Eastern National on their website, one of the blue books that you might have seen at a national park. There’s also a larger expanded edition, like a binder sort of situation. And they recently have introduced some additional products. I have – because yes guys, I’m a stamper. My book now has a leather case that I’m really excited about. And I discovered when we went to a park last year that they now have, like, stamped sticker sets that you can stamp a sticker. If you forget your book, which I confess, I do quite often, and then use that. So there’s like a bunch of products around this. But at its most basic, you have this passport, it has pages, it’s divided into regions and the cancellation stamps go in the different regions. There’s also like a stickers area. What’s up? I’ve never understood that.

YM 9:18

What they do is every year they solicit photos. And the photos are usually solicited among the National Park Service employees and volunteers. And so you can submit a photo for the contest, and they select photos. And sometimes if they don’t get submissions, they’ll just take a photo, but they produce those sheets every year. Usually they come out in like January, February. And I actually have two pictures that I’ve taken that were submitted as a volunteer that are on some of those stickers.

AB 9:55

That’s cool. And you can put those in the book as well. But I think they just take up space that I could be putting cancellation stamps. So I don’t do that.

YM 10:05

Yeah, I mean, it’s funny because we have people in our club who will seek out the people who took the photos. They know they are their Park Service employees or volunteers and get them to autograph the sticker.

AB 10:16

That’s cool. That’s kind of fun. That’s really good. Well, I decided early on that though, I was a card carrying member of the Travelers Club, something that my husband made endless fun of me for. A bridge too far was the giant binder with the carrying strap. So I cut myself off, Yvonne. Well, you gotta go big or go home. And I can respect that, you know, so I decided to cut myself off and keep the little book but that that meant I had to not do the stickers, you know. There has to be a line to make room for things. You know what I mean? Anyway, okay. So, um, how many stamps are in circulation? Just maybe even a ballpark?

YM 11:05

You know, I was trying to email my IT guy, because he was supposed to send me the numbers on that. But I mean, I’m gonna take a guess and say it’s probably in the 1000s. You know, like I said, it’s, it’s everything that they put out. And it’s everything that that, you know, we call some stamps, like bonus stamps, when they just get something that Eastern National didn’t produce. It’s not only for the parks, you can get them for affiliated areas like heritage areas or national trails. So, you know, it’s way beyond anything that you can even imagine.

AB 11:52

Yeah. And I know you have members who have gotten as close to them all as one can.

YM 11:58

Yeah, yeah, we do have members who have 1000s of them, because they’ve been collecting since the beginning. Yeah. And we keep a database. One of the big draws for our club is we have a master database. And we probably, you know, from what my IT people told me, we have about 99.7% of them that have been crowdsource confirmed here. And we have images of all of them and everything.

AB 12:24

It’s very thorough. My husband thinks it’s crazy, but I think it’s cool. We’ll let listeners decide.

YM 12:32

They used to keep it on paper!

AB 12:37

Yeah, I can’t imagine. And I’ve printed out sections of it. Because, you know, we were going somewhere where there wasn’t reception, but I wanted to get my stamps. Okay.

YM 12:47

So that branched out into things like stamps, that, that they have at ballparks and other stuff beyond, you know, even beyond the Park Service in our database.

AB 12:57

So I found the club very similar to you – or I think, how you mentioned a lot of other people found it by googling, kind of looking for where I could find stamps in the area around me when we lived in Middle Tennessee. And I’m not a member now. But at the time, I joined immediately. And as I’ve mentioned, my husband made fun of me, particularly when my membership card came in the mail, he’s like — you have gone to the bad place. Okay, cuz he knows I’m like super Type A. But I did not care. I was hooked. I’m not the only person. So talk to us about what it is about this program that hooks people, and like, let’s say a little bit to the people who are listening, being like — Oh, you guys are nuts. Why should they do it? Why?

YM 13:51

Well, I think it varies for some. I think some people do it for the thrill of the hunt, you know, find that elusive thing, you know. I mean, we have this thing in our club called the Most Wanted List. And it’s, you know, a list where they’re stamps that haven’t been confirmed in a long time. And people will try to hunt them down. And, and, you know, try to find them and we have like a little certificate, a little award that you can get if you find one of them.

AB 14:16

Let’s talk about why that happens. It’s a stamp right? You can stick it in your pocket. I’m sure they walk off sometimes.

YM 14:22

Yeah, I mean, sometimes it’s because they, you know, somebody might might say that they don’t really like, you know, we have stamps in DC where it’s like, you know, DC being District of Columbia, sometimes they’ll put DC and sometimes they put D dot C dot. And maybe whoever is in charge of the stamp doesn’t like that it’s D dot C dot and so they’ll order a different one that says DC and then you don’t see the D dot C dot anymore. But those types of little little things are, you know, as far as our database is considered, different stamps. You know, there’ll be listed as nobody’s found them in a while. And then, you know, you get people who they’ll go and they’ll ask the rangers to go look in some drawer in the backroom like you said and and they’ll pull out stuff that nobody’s seen in a long time and the dates may be no good anymore you know cuz usually the stamps I think they they run them for eight or 10 years or something like that and then the dates aren’t good anymore, so they’d have to get a new stamp and maybe the the new stamp that they get is different. You know, maybe it says memorial spelled out or mem or something or spelled wrong – yeah, I mean, that happens too.

AB 15:34

Yeah like an error. It’s just like a postage stamp, sometimes there are mistakes and then I imagine because this is one of the things I liked about it, like it it’s taken me to some really interesting places that I may not have visited. I imagine that that’s true too.

YM 15:53

I’ve definitely been to some places that I don’t think I would have ever visited if I wasn’t, you know, happened to be looking for a stamp or just found out that there is a place to go to – whether I actually got the stamp or not. I think also there’s a lot of people who think it’s great for the memory, especially for kids. Every year we give away lifetime achievement awards and we just had some people last year, a 15 and 16 year old kids with their parents who achieved the platinum level of going to all of the parks and they’re only 15-16 years old. They’re the youngest people we know of who’ve ever done it, but it’s something that I think that that’s great to kind of get the kids into it.

AB 16:51

Yeah, my kids like to stamp their face, then they’re canceled – what can I say? No that’s not how that works. I confess that I love the treasure hunt aspect of it and if you use that master list you can roll into a very specific visitor center in any given location and and ask for a stamp in such a way that the park ranger might think you’re crazy. So for example, I went into a visitor center at in Smoky Mountain National park and politely said to the ranger — hey I hear you have (and this was based off of the master list) hey I hear you have a Dollywood stamp in a red bag in the drawer to the left of the register. And they did not, it had walked off. But then the ranger was even more into it than I was. I was like — nevermind — and they’re like making phone calls and calling Cheryl. Hey, Cheryl! You were here the other day – did you see the stamp? And you know on and on and on and and you know I just, I loved that sort of camaraderie right because they knew what I was looking for but they hadn’t seen it recently, you know. I never did find the Dollywood stamp by the way – sad day.

YM 18:14

We have rangers in our club and they are into it as much as we are. So a lot of times they’ll go out of their way to find things that you’re looking for and then here are some of them that are annoyed by it too, when people walk in there with our lists.

AB 18:33

Absolutely, I can totally see that. The other thing I really like is that, as I mentioned before, it sort of pushed me to visit areas of the park that I may not have made it to because I knew there was a stamp there that I wanted to get but you don’t get the stamp unless you go to the place. I can think of several examples of this. We rode the train in Cuyahoga Valley National Park because there was a stamp on the train. What a fun experience. I’m so glad we did that, but I don’t think I would have spent the money to ride the train if I hadn’t been looking for the stamp.

YM 19:06

Amtrak actually has a partnership for that, they do it on a lot of their lines.

AB 19:09

Yes, I’ve heard that now.

YM 19:11

Rails to Trails program – we have one here. The Northeast Regional does it usually. I’ve been doing it of course. But normally they run one group up to New York and the other group back from New York and they have a stamp on the train.

AB 19:29

I’ve seen some beautiful places – a national battlefield or two that I would have just been like — no reason to go there, right? But you know, there was a reason it was beautiful. It’s part of our heritage and that I got my stamp. So tell us, where have you gone that you went to particularly because of a stamp and what is your most favorite part of those adventures and maybe your least favorite as well?

YM 19:56

The one place I always tell people that I ended up in is actually fairly close to here. Unfortunately, it’s closed now. So I hate to bring up the story because you can’t go there. But there’s a place called Claude Moore Colonial Farm off of the GW Parkway. And it’s like this old tobacco kind of farm and they used to have an association run it and they didn’t renew the contract with the Park Service or something like that. But basically, they had these reenactors who would play the parts of these old tobacco farmers, and they were so incredible. Like, they got so into it, like, you know, I really don’t know, you know, if they’re working on their SAG cards or what, but it was incredible how much they like, some of them were younger kids, you know, they were 13-14 year olds or whatever. And my boyfriend and I were just so impressed. We’re like, and they didn’t break character or anything. They were talking about walking like 10 miles to take their tobacco to Georgetown or something like that. And we’re like — oh, these people are really into this. They used to have a big fall festival every year where you could go out and you could buy like a big turkey leg. And you know, stuff like that. I mean, it was really, really an incredible place to go to. And I don’t think I ever would have went there if I hadn’t seen that on the list and it having a stamp. But I have to say my favorite park that I’ve been to so far is Mesa Verde. You know, we did the climb up into the Pueblo dwelling and, and that was really cool. My boyfriend couldn’t do it, because when you go to get your tickets at the visitor center, they have this box out on the porch. And they say if you can’t fit through this box, you can’t take the tour because you won’t be able to get out of the exit hole on the other side. And so he couldn’t – his shoulders were too broad. He couldn’t fit through the box. And he couldn’t do the tour. So he stood on the observation deck and took pictures of me doing it. It was probably the coolest thing that I’d done at a park before. I’ve been to Alaska and all kinds of places. But I just thought that was really cool that you could go up in there to that. And they didn’t have ladders, you know, they just climb the side of the mountain. So I thought that was really cool.

AB 22:25

Where is somewhere that you’ve gone that you were like — oh, why did I waste my time doing this, but I got my stamp? Do you have anywhere like that that you’ve done?

YM 22:33

I don’t feel like I’ve ever been to a place to where — we went to Russell Cave in Alabama. And I don’t know, maybe we got there too late. We couldn’t do much. It didn’t seem like so much. And I hate to say that about any Park unit because I think that they all offer something to see and something to do and we got there kind of late in the day. And they’re like — Okay, take this trail out, and you’ll see the cave. And it was like — Okay, this is it? It really wasn’t that much. And we’re like — okay, I was expecting a little bit more than this. But the funny thing, I’ll tell you a funny story about that. I used to volunteer in the Rails to Trails here at Northeast Regional. And I got on the train with someone who was also a volunteer, but became a ranger and was a ranger at roughly one point, and we got talking about that story. And he was like — I’ve never talked to anybody who has actually been. That’s a really funny story because I was like — wow, small world.

AB 23:51

Was he underwhelmed as the Ranger?

YM 23:55

I don’t know. I mean, we didn’t really get into it that much. We were just kind of small talk, you know, but I think that he just thought it was funny that he had never really, like met anybody who had actually visited there, you know?

AB 24:17

Talk to us about what is the most difficult to get a stamp that’s currently in circulation. So not one of the stamps that’s on the Most Wanted list or, you know, in a bag to the left of the drawer, if you happen to be there on the right day, what’s the most difficult to get stamp?

YM 25:19

I mean, I guess I would have to say, you know, some of the special event things like I mentioned, the Cherry Blossom Festival, we have another one for Fourth of July, the National Independence Day Festival. And supposedly they’re not supposed to put them out except for those events. So if you’re not on the Mall on Fourth of July, right, you’re not supposed to be able to get the stamp. But sometimes, people sweet talk them into getting them out of the drawer. So you know, and get them anyway. But I would say that that should be one of the hardest, you know, ones to get. But now, I’ve only been so far to 142 of the units. And I’m sure there are people who have been to all of them that can tell you that trying to get to the, you know, northern Alaska parks is difficult. It’s, you know, bush planes and all kinds of stuff like that, and you want to get to Nome. And so it’s not easy.

AB 26:20

I mean, I live here and I haven’t done it. I love getting the stamps, but there’s just, it’s very expensive. It’s, you know, it’s just not a top priority.

YM 26:30

And, you know, a lot of our stuff is on the honor system, right? Lifetime awards are an honor system. So people count their visits in different ways. You know, some of them are hardcore about — I have to step into the park and the preserver, I don’t count both of them. And it’s not just Alaska. I mean, they have stamps at parks in Guam and American Samoa and the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, you know, some cases, they’re just, they’re a long trek.

AB 27:04

But that’s part of the point, right? Like I am giving myself, it’s almost like getting a gold star or checking something off the box, right? The stamp is a reward for me, having worked really hard to get to the spot, to experience this thing, to have been intentional about doing this, to have absorbed this experience in a way that I would not have done, necessarily. And I came here in search of this stamp. But it was the journey that made it worth it.

YM 27:45

Absolutely.

AB 27:47

So I know, because I have talked to some Rangers about this, right, like, talk to me about the stampers, how does that go? But I know that there’s some good stamp collecting behaviors, and some not very good ones. So what is good stamping etiquette? What does that look like?

YM 28:03

I would describe it as a respect for the craft. You know, I think that a lot of people who stamp may not be like us, you know, maybe there are people you go in and you got like four books, you know, you’re there for like, a half an hour stamping 10 stamps and four books. And while there’s, like, you know, 12 other people behind, waiting. And I think a good stamper would realize that, okay, these people aren’t doing what you’re doing. And, you know, maybe you should let them go first, especially kids, you know, they’re impatient, a lot of times, and so, you know, they might not want to wait that long. I think the worst thing you could possibly do is go in and change the date, and not change it back. I’ve seen that, you know, a lot of times when I’ve gone in, and people that are there, they were there, you know, two years ago, and they didn’t get their stamp. So now they’re visiting again, and like, I want to get my stamp from two years ago, and that change it and then you go and you stamp and it’s the wrong, you know, you walk out now thinking about it, and you go back and look at your book and you’re like — oh, man! So I think that’s a horrible practice, you know, for people to do that. And, you know, a lot of times they’ll guard the stamp and they’re watching right now, you can’t change the date, you know. I think that’s, that’s kind of a horrible thing to do. But we actually, you know, on our forum, we’ve had put together kind of a stamping etiquette list of things that you know, how to be a good stamper, and, you know, not to harass the Rangers if they don’t want to go and get you a box of stamps out of the back.

AB 29:55

Right. Don’t stamp and run.

YM 29:57

That’s terrible. Yeah. You really should get something out of the place, even if you’ve been there before. Talk to people or watch the movie you know maybe they’ve changed a movie since last time.

AB 30:14

So many of these visitor centers are just sort of off the side of the road to be accessible and that’s great. I’m thinking about the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park visitor center which is literally just off the highway. Technically it’s in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, which is humongous. I’m not saying you should go to all of it but maybe take a walk on the nature trail because when you drive into it you have just barely entered it. You just got there and you have not experienced it at all and it is so vast and so cool and you know so you can see a slice of that by taking a short nature trail hike and so to duck in there, stamp and leave – I feel like you’re robbing yourself of an opportunity in a way.

YM 31:10

Yeah and there have been times when I’ve gone to places, we actually we went to Wrangell-St. Elias. We actually did a float trip on the Copper River and it was kind of a time crunch. We went with it. We had some people pick us up at the hotel and take us out and bring us back and we never actually drove into the visitor center because of the time. We never got to drive and actually get the stamp, so I’ve been there but don’t have any stamps.

AB 31:42

Do you need me? I can get you a stamp. I can do this.

YM 31:51

It’s like you said, there’s so much more to see.

AB 31:53

That brings up something that you remind me of: stamp people are some of the nicest folks because we’re all sort of just doing this thing and I actually just remembered this while I was getting ready for this interview. I have a manila envelope on a desk in my office that is full of stamps that were sent to me by volunteer park rangers from Yellowstone National Park because we went there early in the season. We were there for almost a week, but many of the park ranger stations were closed. So I visited all of the places but I couldn’t get the stamps and these guys drove around the park and got me stamps and sent them to me in the mail two months later. Can you believe that?

YM 32:41

Yeah absolutely. I can’t believe that.

AB 32:45

It was just like, they said they would and I was like — okay that’s nice, you know, like of course, whatever, right. That’s very kind of you to offer. And then they did! What a what a cool thing – people are just so great sometimes.

YM 33:01

And a lot of our members do that for other members.

AB 33:09

That’s right. It’s just, you know, like why not? We’re all we’re all pursuing the thing together; it’s a community. So speaking of community, like I said, I must know what do you do at a National Park Travelers Club convention.

YM 33:26

It depends on where it is. Back when the club first started, the conventions were pretty small. We are lucky to have it at 40-50. I mean they started with I think it was like you know a dozen people, that was the second convention. I think the first convention was even less than that. But the the conventions have grown so much over the years, so now we’ve kind of incorporated trying to do activities at nearby parks in addition to the parks that we’re having host. I will arrange bus tours in the area or special activities. The convention is actually coming to DC this summer. That’ll be here and we’re celebrating African American history as the theme for this year’s convention and we have the Mary McLeod Bethune Council House and Carter G. Woodson Home serving as our host parks, but we’ve got probably about five days worth of activities going on. We’ve got a couple of different bus tours, we’ve got the monuments by night tour, we’ve got dinners, we got a big event out at Glen Echo Park – a big dinner and they have a 1921 carousel out there.

AB 34:47

Awesome. Okay, so give us a lowdown on what people should do if they’re hearing this and realizing that they too are now obsessed with stamps but they have been to other parks and they have not gotten the stamp there. What do they do? Can they rectify this terrible oversight?

YM 35:06

I mean you can write to the parks and they’ll send you a stamp. I’ve never encountered a park that if you send them a piece of label paper and a self addressed stamped envelope that they wouldn’t send you a stamp back and probably a bunch of other stuff. I did that myself a few years back when they had the 25th anniversary of the passport program. They produced all these special stamps that they gave to all the parks and I knew the anniversary was technically only going to last year and the stamps may not be around by the time I ever got to the park, so I did this huge kind of campaign and mailed a label paper and a request to every park in existence. And for probably about a week, maybe two weeks after that, my mailbox was stuffed with self addressed stamped envelopes. I pretty much got almost all of them and they sent me all kinds of other stuff like the junior ranger stuff or patches or all kinds of stuff – brochures and whatnot. So I got like tons of mail for like two weeks and so I did it again when they came out with the centennial stamps. A lot of them are into sampling themselves and they like it when people are into the program and want to know about the park. They’re more than willing to send you or you can join the club. There’s a lot of people who will help you out.

AB 36:41

We will include, of course, the club information in the show notes so if you’re looking for a way to find the National Parks Travelers Club, you totally can. Link will be there or you can give a google and and spiral into the obsession just like me. Warning you there.

YM 37:04

We have someone who’s our social media coordinator that’s done a really great job building up our social media presence over the last couple of years, so you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

AB 37:15

Awesome. We’ll include all that stuff – they’ll be just links right there for everybody. Okay, so I could nerd out about this all day long, but I don’t think that people want to listen to us do that. If they do, they can they can check out the Travelers Club for more. Walk us out now. We like to end our episodes just hearing about our guest’s favorite outdoor gear and their most essential gear. So tell us, what is your favorite gear? And you know, it would be okay if your favorite gear was your park stamp book.

YM 37:55

It’s actually not. I got into, a few years ago, getting the hiking medallions. I have one of those hiking sticks andwe do hikes. We go to Shenandoah National Park or something like that around here and do hikes. I love to take and show off my hiking stick, it’s a good talking piece and you meet people on the trails and stuff and they’re like — oh, you know, that’s pretty cool.

AB 38:34

Okay, cool. Do you have a piece of gear that you find to be extremely essential, you don’t leave home without it and you know without this you die?

YM 38:39

I really love those little, not really carabiners – the little things that have like a little loop that you can stick on your water bottle. You’re out in the car and you drive to somewhere and you’re like — oh you got a hiking trail! And then you don’t have anywhere to carry water or anything. So I just never leave anywhere without one of those. I would keep the car and stuff.

AB 39:08

Perfect. Okay, final thing: we like to leave our episodes imagining ourselves in our guest’s favorite outdoor space, you know, in their favorite outdoor moment. So just walk us out, like if you close your eyes and you think about a moment that means a lot to you outside, something you like to go back to – where are you and what are you doing?

YM 39:33

I have to circle back to what I said in the beginning. I like being out on the ocean and then when you’re out there and just being away from the noise of everything – it’s just it’s so peaceful. and And I just love to lay out on the deck of a ship and just you know watch the stars go by and things like that. It’s just really mellow and I find it really relaxing.

AB 40:02

That sounds relaxing. Love it. Yvonne, thank you so much for talking to us today about park stamps and being on Humans Outside.

YM 40:10

Sure. Thanks for having me.

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