September 4, 2016
Friends' Day is September 10

friends-day-smokies-2.jpgThe Beatles refrain is true, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” On Saturday, September 10, the Mast Store will be hosting Friends in each of its home communities that have the awesome responsibility of taking care of resources that locals and visitors enjoy every day. At the end of the day, each of our store locations will donate 10% of the day’s sales to support our local conservation partners.

August 31, 2016
NPS Centennial: Fun for the Whole Family at Connemara

connemara-alaina-1.jpgMy first visit to Connemara was a breezy, blue-skied, late summer day last year. This unique and beautiful National Park offers an astonishing array of activities to enjoy: The opportunity to explore the home of a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, the sweet splendor of a laze-about in open fields with a herd of milking goats, and a gentle trail to Big Glassy with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Though I’ve enjoyed a wide variety of National Parks over the years, Connemara has easily become a favorite for its diverse offerings that every member of my family will enjoy.

August 30, 2016
NPS Centennial: Snowy Adventure on the Appalachian Trail

GSMNP-2-Scott-1.jpgWe had entered the park under clouds and wet, frozen fog. My partner, Turbo, and I left Cosby Knob Shelter around 9:30 a.m., which not exactly an alpine start, and set off into the chilly damp. As we gained in elevation, the snow got deeper and made for slow going. Often, we would fall through the crunchy top layer and sink into deeper soft snow beneath. Then things got interesting…

August 29, 2016
NPS Centennial: Black Bear Encounters in Shenandoah

shenandoah-2-mary-3.jpgAfter my husband and I retired from our careers, we lived full time in our RV for two and a half years. During that time, we traveled around the country working in different campgrounds. We worked several summers in Shenandoah National Park as campground hosts for the National Park Service.

August 28, 2016
NPS Centennial: Discovering Desert Beauty in Zion

Zion-Deb-3b.jpgThe desert offers both magical and mystical beauty. When I’m still, I can see the changes in the color of the landscape, and discover nature I didn’t see at first glance. As I see these things, I hear the desert calling me.

August 26, 2016
NPS Centennial: Amazing Beauty Close to Home at Mammoth Cave

Mammoth-Cave-Tamera-1.jpgThe first field trip went on was in first grade to Tuckaleechee Caverns in Townsend, Tennessee. This trip was the first time I became fascinated by caves and bats. Once I learned about Mammoth Cave from the weekly reader during elementary school, I made a plan to someday visit there. It was interesting to me to know the largest cave system on the planet was less than 200 miles from home. Experts have explored 400 miles of Mammoth Cave, but there’s still much more to explore.  After a little research, I put the cave at the top of my to-do list.

August 25, 2016
NPS Centennial: Island Adventures in St. John

Jody-BVI-5.jpgI honestly cannot say what would be my favorite National Park because they’re all wonderfully diverse treasures. I had the unique experience of living on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. John. Did you know that more than half of this stunning island is part of the Virgin Islands National Park?

August 24, 2016
NPS Centennial: Making Family Memories Out West

Yellowstone-Amy-1.jpgI’ve long been a fan of America’s National Parks. This probably began the summer I worked in Yellowstone while I was a college student.  At 21-years-old, visiting Yellowstone was a life altering-experience.  Although I’ve visited quite a few national parks, Yellowstone has remained my favorite.

August 22, 2016
NPS Centennial: Getting a Bird's Eye View From Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie-Heather-1.jpegIn late September 2013, I visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  One of the highlights of the trip was a stop at Bodie Lighthouse on the Oregon Inlet in Nags Head, NC.  It had recently undergone major renovations that finished at the end of March 2013.  Luckily for me, it was now open for the public to explore the interior of the lighthouse!

August 21, 2016
NPS Centennial: Running with the Wolves in Yellowstone

Western-NPS-Tour-2-Gina-1.jpgWhen I was a junior in the biology department at Appalachian State University, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel cross-country throughout the United States, into Mexico and Canada, visiting many state and national parks. Our studies focused on the fauna and flora throughout the U.S. We traveled for 7 weeks.

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