The first U.S. national park, Yellowstone National Park, was established by Congress in 1872 and is known worldwide for its colorful hot springs and the Old Faithful geyser, which shoots water 100 feet into the air. While Yellowstone is the most famous national park, there are so many more amazing parks to explore and experience!
The National Park System is made up of more than 400 parks that cover more than 84 million acres in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands.
This summer, if your plans don’t take you to Grand Canyon National Park or Glacier National Park, CDPHP members can discover some of the lesser known parks virtually. Imagine yourself hiking to the summit of an extinct volcano in Crater Lake National Park, or exploring the deep, dark caves of Mammoth Cave National Park.
Join the Step Into National Parks Challenge
Step Into National Parks is a 12-week step tracking challenge available to CDPHP members with access to CaféWell. The challenge takes you through a virtual tour of a different national park each week. You can sync your activity device or manually track your steps along the way, working toward a goal of 600,000 steps over 12 weeks. That breaks down to 50,000 steps per week – an achievable goal as you visualize yourself walking along a glistening beach in the National Park of American Samoa.
How to get started?
CaféWell, for the uninitiated, is an online platform that gives you personalized activities and challenges to help you meet your health goals. You can join the Step into National Parks challenge by logging in to CaféWell. The program kicks off on July 9, 2018. Upon completion of the program, and reaching 600,000 steps, eligible CDPHP members will earn $25 in Life Points.*
- Become a registered CaféWell member: Log in to the CDPHP member secure site, click the CaféWell or Life Points logo on the home page, and complete the registration.
- (Hint: Make note of your CaféWell username and password. This will allow you to use the CaféWell app for step tracking!)
- Join the challenge: Click “Join” on the Step Into National Parks program card in CaféWell.
- You can only join the challenge from July 2-20, so don’t put it off.
- Download the CaféWell app to easily track your steps on your smartphone.
- Start (virtually) exploring our National Parks!
The National Parks You’ll Explore
Acadia National Park: The first national park east of the Mississippi River, Acadia National Park offers hiking, biking, camping, breathtaking views of jagged coastlines, and pristine lakes. The majority of the park is located on Mount Desert Island, the largest island off the coast of Maine.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park: The only national park in Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a relatively young national park. While it was established as a national recreation area in 1974, it wasn’t designated as a national park until 2000. The winding Cuyahoga River (the “Crooked River”), deep forests, and open farmland creates a recreational destination for visitors to Cleveland area.
Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park in North Dakota was established by President Truman in 1947 and is the only National Memorial Park. It is named for our 25th president.
Crater Lake National Park was established as a national park in 1902, but its history dates back nearly 8,000 years. That’s when a violent volcanic eruption triggered the collapse of Mount Mazama and created a caldera and Crater Lake in Oregon.
Carlsbad Caverns National Park is known as “the Grand Canyon with a roof over it.” The park is part of over 300 limestone caves in a fossil reef laid down by an inland sea 250 to 280 million years ago. In fact, there are over 100 caves in the park, including its namesake, Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico.
Hot Springs National Park: Nicknamed “The American Spa,” this area has been popular for the soothing, healing power of its thermal pools. Since the springs are located along a fault line that runs through the downtown area of Hot Springs, Arkansas, this national park has many roads and is easily accessible.
Each year, Congaree National Park hosts fireflies for approximately two weeks between mid-May and mid-June. During this time visitors can experience an awe-inspiring display of synchronous flashing while the fireflies search for a mate.
Mammoth Cave National Park protects Mammoth Cave, the world’s longest cave system with 405 miles of surveyed passages, formed through a thick layer of limestone and capped by layers of sandstone.
Boasting more than 500 miles of trails, Shenandoah National Park is a hiker’s paradise. The park is located along the Blue Ridge Mountains of north-central Virginia. One of the park’s most famous attractions is Skyline Drive, a 105-mile road with 75 overlooks that winds through the entire length of the park.
At Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota, the dark skies offer an opportunity to appreciate not just stars, but shooting stars and the aurora borealis, more commonly known as the northern lights.
Over 40 percent of Virgin Islands National Park is under water, offering abundant opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving.
National Park of American Samoa encompasses three separate islands – Tutuila, Ofu, and Ta’ū – in American Samoa. Beautiful coral reefs and tropical rain forests make this a popular destination for hiking and snorkeling.
The National Parks are an American treasure, and there are more than 400 parks available to explore. Log in to CaféWell and check them out!
*Life Points are available to select plan members. Check your member contract for details. Life Points accumulate per calendar year, per contract. Points must be redeemed by December 31 each year or prior to contract termination.