Fort Point National Historic Site

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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After exploring the Marin Headlands on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge (you can see my post on the Marin Headlands by clicking here,) we drove across the famous bridge to visit Fort Point nestled under its southern side.

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Fort Point was built during the Gold Rush by the United States Army to defend San Francisco Bay against foreign attacks. It was completed just before the start of the Civil War and never saw battle.DSC02578

Renowned for its fine masonry, it was saved from demolition in the 1930s . The Golden Gate Bridge architect designed the span to arch over the fort instead of razing it.

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The fort is now protected as Fort Point National Historic Site, signed into law by President Nixon in 1970. It is administered by the National Park Service as a unit of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

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We tagged on to the end of a ranger-led tour and explored the three levels where there are historical artifacts on display. There are great views of San Francisco and Alcatraz from the roof. And this view of the Golden Gate is quite a different perspective from the usual bridge vista.

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Location: Long Ave & Marine Dr, San Francisco, CA 94129

Designation: National Historic Site

Date designation declared: 10/16/1970

Date of my visit: August 18, 2012

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Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Wahweap Overlook & Marina


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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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From the top of Wahweap Overlook, there are panoramic views of Wahweap Bay and the surrounding waters of Lake Powell. There is a signed turnoff on highway 89 about 3 miles North of the dam. Follow the short dirt road, to the parking lot.  There is a shade shelter and a bench.

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We stopped at the overlook on our way to dinner at the marina and were lucky enough to see a thunderstorm descending on the far side of Lake Powell. We stayed for a while, trying to capture photos of the lightning strikes and enjoying to cool breeze.

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Down at the marina, we had dinner on the roof deck of a restaurant on one of the docks. The restaurant itself was nothing special, but the view made it worth the trip. We watched the sun set and saw a rainbow after the storm passed.

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To see my other Glen Canyon National Recreation Area posts, please click on the links:

Location: 100 Lakeshore Drive, Wahweap Marina

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designated or established: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/18/2014

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Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Navajo Bridge

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

The Navajo Bridge in Glen Canyon National Recreation area is off the beaten path. I’d seen photos of it on Instagram when planning this trip, so I knew I had to get it on the itinerary. After having spent a few days seeing the sights around Page, Arizona, we set out for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, with a slight detour to see Navajo Bridge.

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This turned out to be a pretty big detour since part of Highway 89 had washed away during a storm and we had to go around through Navajo territory and then back up to the turn-off to the bridge. And then, when we got there, the Interpretive Center was closed. There hadn’t been any mention of that on the website…we should have called.

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Undeterred, we parked in the lot on the opposite side of the canyon from the visitor center, walked across the pedestrian bridge, took photos and then shopped in the Native American craft market in the parking lot.

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Navajo Bridge is actually two bridges. The original bridge opened in 1929 providing a direct route from Arizona to Utah across the canyon. Previously, motorists had to either drive 800 miles around to cross the Colorado River or take a ferry.

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By the 1990s, the historic bridge was proving inadequate for modern traffic. The historic bridge became a pedestrian bridge and a new bridge was erected across Marble Canyon, slightly downstream from the old one. Though my husband may have been annoyed by the extra drive time, I’m glad we made the trip to see this.

To see my other Glen Canyon National Recreation Area posts, please click on the links:

Location: U.S. Hwy 89 A, Marble Canyon, AZ 86036

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designation declared: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/19/2014

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Navajo Bridge is the 9th highest steel arch bridge in the US, at 470 feet above the Colorado River in Marble Canyon.

Gateway National Recreation Area: Fort Hancock

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Fort Hancock was built to defend the entrance to New York Harbor in the late 1800s.  It was active through both World Wars and the Cold War, converting to a missile base when the old gun batteries became obsolete. It was deactivated in 1974.

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The Fort Hancock Museum is in the Guardhouse which was built in 1899. This building served as the military jail for the base.

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Restoration of the building began in 2010 but then suffered serious damage during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

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In September 2018, the museum was re-opened to the public. It showcases artifacts from all periods of the peninsula’s long history.

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My other posts on Sandy Hook:

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Location: 128 South Hartshorne Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designation declared: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 9/30/2018

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The fort, together with the proving ground, became a National Historic Landmark District in 1982
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A revolutionary war era musket ball, discovered during a recent archaeological dig conducted by Monmouth University
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The fort was named for General Hancock who was a war hero at Gettysburg and the Democratic nominee for president in 1880. He lost the election by a narrow margin to James Garfield.
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New York’s skyline as seen from the top of the lighthouse with one of the 1800s gun batteries in the foreground. The peninsula is continually being extended by tidal sand deposits so the battery was closer to the water when it was built.

Gateway National Recreation Area: Sandy Hook Light

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Sandy Hook Lighthouse reopened on September 30th, 2018 after a ten month restoration project. The renovations included replacing the front door, windows, the lantern deck and walls. The window frames were treated to prevent staining of the lighthouse.

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The lighthouse is the oldest, still-active beacon in the country. Built in 1764, it was only 500 feet from the shoreline. After over 250 years worth of sand deposited by the currents, the lighthouse now sits a mile and a half from the tip of the peninsula.

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During the revolutionary war, the American militia tried to destroy the lighthouse to prevent the British from using it to invade New York, but it survived.

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In the 1800s, it got a new lantern house and a brick lining.

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In 1964, on its 200th birthday, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse was designated a National Historic Landmark.

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After the opening ceremonies and ribbon-cutting we were allowed to climb to the top of the tower and take in the views of the bay, Fort Hancock and New York Harbor.

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My other posts on Sandy Hook:

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Location: 128 South Hartshorne Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designated or established: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 9/30/2018

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Gateway National Recreation Area: Sandy Hook Light Grand Re-opening

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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I attended the Grand Re-opening festivities for the Lighthouse and Post Museum at Sandy Hook last month.  The historic lighthouse had been closed for about 10 months to correct issues with the foundation and structure that were manifesting themselves in stains on the exterior. The Fort Hancock Museum had been closed since 2010 and suffered a major setback during 2012’s Hurricane Sandy.

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The $1.3 million dollar cost of the renovation was funded primarily by the parking fees beach-goers are charged during the summer months. The park’s non-profit partner, Sandy Hook Foundation, also raised money to restore both structures.

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The program began with a presentation of the flag by a local academy’s color guard, along with the national anthem and pledge of allegiance.

 

The mayors of Highlands and Middletown, a county Freeholder, a senior Coast Guard official, the superintendent of Gateway National Recreation Area and the Commissioner of the National Parks of NY Harbor were all in attendance and spoke briefly about the significance of the Lighthouse and Fort Hancock.

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Commissioner Joshua Laird spoke of the lighthouse as a member of the NY Harbor Parks family, having borne witness to two and a half centuries of American history. Superintendent Jen Nersesian spoke of the lighthouse as a survivor, having outlasted several wars and major hurricanes. And we were all reminded by the Coast Guard official that the Sandy Hook Lighthouse is older than Boston Light’s ‘new’ lighthouse and is therefore the oldest functioning beacon in the US.

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The speeches were followed by a ribbon-cutting, first at the lighthouse and then at the Fort Hancock Museum (housed in the old military jail.)

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There was cake and lemonade in the Lighthouse Keeper’s Quarters (which serves as the visitor center.) There were also some people dressed in Revolutionary War era costumes providing living history demonstrations.

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After cake, I waited on the line for a few minutes to walk up to the top of the lighthouse. Because of the narrow and steep spiral staircase, only eight people were allowed up at a time. The line moved fairly quickly and before I knew it, I was at the top, looking down on Fort Hancock, the Batteries and the New York skyline.

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I headed over to the museum for a slide show and talk about the archaeological digs conducted by Monmouth University while the renovation was in progress.  Artifacts as far back as the revolutionary war were discovered.

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This was a fun event and it was great to see the community involvement in saving these Historic Landmarks. I found out about it through Facebook, of all places, but I’m glad I did!

My other posts on Sandy Hook:

  • Sandy Hook
  • Grand Re-opening
  • Sandy Hook Light (coming soon)
  • Fort Hancock (coming soon)
  • Women’s Barracks (coming soon)

Location: 128 South Hartshorne Drive, Highlands, NJ 07732

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designated or established: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 9/30/2018

 

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Hanging Garden Trail

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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After touring the Glen Canyon Dam, we asked a ranger in the visitor’s center for a short hike we could fit into the end of our day. He gave us directions to the Hanging Garden hike. The turn-off is 1/4 mile from the opposite side of the Glen Canyon Bridge from Carl Hayden Visitor Center on Highway 89.

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There aren’t great signs for the turn off, so we initially parked at the wrong trail-head.

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Our ‘wrong turn’ was an interesting hike meandering around the cool sandstone formations on the shore of Lake Powell.

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Then we went a little further down the road and found the right turn-off. Trail-head parking is 500 yards off of Highway 89 on a dirt road.

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This short, 1-mile round trip trail was created by the park service and leads to a startling green oasis beneath the rim of a butte. The route is easy to follow with a path marked by rocks along the entire route. There was no shade on this trail, but that was the only difficult part of the hike.

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There is a seep spring hidden beneath the sandstone. This spring captures rainwater and then slowly releases it, causing vegetation to grow vertically on the sheltered wall. It was pretty cool to see this in the midst of the barren landscape.

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To see my other Glen Canyon National Recreation Area posts, please click on the links:

Location: Scenic View Drive and Hwy 89, Page, AZ

Designation: National Recreation Area

Date designation declared: 10/27/1972

Date of my visit: 8/18/2014

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