100 Years of National Parks

100 years banner


100 years is a pretty long time. In 100 years America has done some really cool things, but arguably the most beautiful thing we’ve done is create our National Park System, and grown it into the massive establishment it is today. The National Parks Service was signed into existence through what is commonly known as the “Organic Act” by President Woodrow Wilson in the year 1916. If you’re interested in what happened between 1916-2016, this would be a good read for you. If you know where this post is going and are currently saying “but the air conditioning feels so good right now,” or, more likely “parks have bugs and heat and are not the beach,” trust me, I’m with you. It’s easy to let the summer heat keep us indoors or by a pool at all times (hold the sunscreen, I’ll take the tanning oil). It’s not every day your country’s National Parks Service turns 100, though, and I’m here to give you some options for how to make the most of this historic year.


  1. Take your family and friends to Lesko Park, or one of the other nearby city parks. Sure, they’re no National Park, but each local park has it’s own original flavor, and gives you a different perspective on life in and around your city. Grab some ice cream, leash up the dog, and have some quality time with the people closest to you in a city park.
  2. Versailles State Park is the closest Indiana State Park to our area. With three hiking trails, six mountain biking trails, a lake, campgrounds and a pool, Versailles is like that friend who is talented at everything, but doesn’t brag about it so you’re not jealous of them, you’re really excited for them and you want to spend time with them. The library even has free admission passes available for checkout at each APLD branch. Check our catalog or give us a call to check their availability!
  3. Take care of your surroundings. Even though you may not visit a single park this summer, you can still contribute to a cleaner environment wherever you are. Pick up after yourself, pick up after others even though it’s not your job, and recycle as much as you can. These healthy practices ensure that we will still have our parks, national or not, for years to come.
  4. Invite a friend, or make friends as you go. Since this is a historic year for our national parks, parks all over Indiana will be busy with visitors all summer. Need a date idea? Have a picnic at the park! Haven’t seen a friend in a while? Go for a hike and catch up while you do it. Looking for new friends? Look no further than the people who are out enjoying our parks. Think of the NPS’ 100th birthday as a party that you don’t have to organize, you can just attend, bring friends, or make them while you’re there.
  5. Watch Parks and Recreation. This Emmy Award Nominated show takes place in the Hoosier State, dealing with the ups of down of a  small government parks departments. Educate yourself and have a laugh, all while still enjoying  our parks (however fictitious).

So what I’m saying is: get yourself out there. Our parks have come a long way in the past 100 years. Who knows, in another hundred years our parks may be a distant memory, or they may function as arenas for the hunger games (it could happen!). The future aside, our parks are beautiful, people work really hard to keep them that way, and we should all take advantage of the amazing state and country we live it. Still not convinced? Check out some cool facts about the Indiana Department of Natural Resources below, and celebrate 100 years of National Parks.

Happy camping.

DNR Facts



Step through our Doorway and Step out into Hoosier Wilderness

Our state parks give us an opportunity to explore nature, see the many different vistas of Indiana, and enjoy the outdoors.  Thanks to our colleague, Bill Buckley from Mooresville Public Library, we are debuting our first video from the Library.  The music and photos take you on a journey to many of our state parks.  Start planning your first or next trip today.

Did you know that kids need nature? They do! Research shows that children who spend time outside are more creative and are better problem solvers. They’re healthier, more physically fit, more confident, better test takers, and less stressed!  So plan a trip with a child in your life and get the same side benefits for you!

Stop by the Library and check out one of our park passes for a week.

See our FAQs for more information.



The Indiana State Park Centennial Annual Pass Library Check-Out Program

BrookvilleLakeThe Aurora Public Library District is excited to announce The Indiana State Park Centennial Annual Pass Library Check-Out Program, a partnership with Indiana Public Libraries, the Indiana State Library and the Indiana State Parks.  2016 is an exciting year combining the Indiana Bicentennial and the Indiana State Parks Centennial.  The two state organizations envisioned 2016 as a year to encourage and introduce Indiana residents to our beautiful state parks.  The Indiana State Library purchased one Annual Entrance Permit, referred to for this program as the Park Pass, and distributed the Park Pass to each public Library.  Libraries were able to purchase additional Park Passes to make the passes available to patrons at each building in a Library District. Check out one of the Aurora Public Library District’s Park Pass and begin to explore.

I want to challenge APLD patrons to check out a pass and visit or revisit a state park.

I enjoy exploring Indiana parks 

I grew up visiting the Versailles State Park on family camping trips.  Sometimes a hike to Bat Cave, which always scared me to death, was the memory maker.  I never entered the cave, way too scary for me.  We enjoyed campfires with campfire pies and smores at night while singing around the fire.  I remember getting to meet other campers on walks around the campgrounds and throughout the park.  Versailles gave me the opportunity to get a sunburn at the beach, catch a fish at the dam, and visit the horses waiting for a rider to take them onto a trail.

After college, I went to visit my college roommate and her husband.  We then went for the weekend to Potato Creek State Park to camp.  This Park is in northern Indiana and I didn’t realize how flat Indiana can be.  I keep waiting for the nestling feeling that I get in southern Indiana.  But without northern Indiana flat areas farming in Indiana would be very different.  So I learned to embrace that we have many different geographic areas and that is great to explore.

When I was a school librarian on the west side of Indiana, I spent some weekends at Turkey Run State Park and love the covered bridges.  To me, covered bridges bring a sense of calm and peaceful protection so I love traveling through them.  I remember the hiking through the trees and ravines.  A special spot was along Sugar Creek.

I worked with Kathy, a special ed teacher whose passion was Indiana History. Kathy and I would  take weekend drives around west central Indiana and she would share what happened on that land throughout Indiana’s history.  My favorite was when I learned about Tecumseh, the Shawnee Indian, and his brother Tenskwatawa (The Prophet) who were living where the Tippecanoe River meets the Wabash near the town of Battle Ground northeast of Lafayette.  The story takes place in 1808, Tecumseh wanted to persuade tribes to join his coalition to stop their common enemy.  Tecumseh left Tenskwatawa to speak to the tribes gathered while he continued to travel and meet other tribes. Since Tenskwatawa told the story of what was going to happen he became The Prophet and they called the settlement Prophetstown. William Henry Harrison, governor of the Indiana Territory, became alarmed at the number of people at Prophetstown and sent troops to be nearby.  Prophet was afraid the troops were going to attack so he decided to strike first.  (The next part is my favorite part of the story) Prophetstown was on a flat area nearby a hill with rocks.  Prophet explained to his people that he was going up on the rock and would chant.  As long as they could hear him chant they would be safe and protected.  Unfortunately, this did not go well for the tribes peoples, but Prophet had positioned himself where he could make an escape.  (Now for the amazing news) In 1970s, I visited Prophetstown many times and once while visiting and walking to the rock where Prophet chanted those many years ago, Prophet’s spirit jumped into me and when I hear his name or the story I can’t help myself and the chanting takes over.  Prophetstown State Park now allows this area to be preserved and the story retold.  Perhaps, you can take a trip and see the rock and the field.  When you come back, if you didn’t hear The Prophet come see me and we will see if his chanting reconnects with me.

While working at APLD, I have attended meetings held at Brown County State Park, Clifty Falls State Park, Hardy Lake, and Spring Mill State Parks.  These meetings remind me how beautiful southern Indiana really is and something we should see as through a child’s eyes.

Last summer, while fighting cancer, my husband bought us a small motor home and we went to Brookville Lake and the Whitewater Memorial State Park.  We met my daughter and son-in-law to camp, rest and again enjoy a campfire.  Michaela and Gunnar went on several walks and Mike let the artist in him come out while I rested and gained strength.  It was a beautiful park and a wonderful time.

Thanks for listening to me meander through Indiana and their parks again.  I would love for you to share with me your park experiences you make this year.  Email me your trips and I will build a blog post later this year of our APLD Patrons Exploring Indiana Parks During the Bicentennial.

A Walk in the Woods

Bill Bryson’s book, A Walk in the Woods, was made into a movie this past year.

a walk in the woods movie

A walk in the woods dvd

The movie, which you can borrow from the library as well as the book, is based off of author Bill Bryson’s actual life events of hiking the Appalachian Trail. Robert Redford portrays the author in this humorous movie.

I’ve actually read the book and watched the movie and they were both laugh out loud funny. He enlists his friend Katz, played by Nick Nolte, to be his companion on the trail. Having no prior backpacking experience and not knowing what they were getting into is what made this movie completely relate-able to me.

My husband and I went backpacking a few years ago in the Smokey Mountains, we were very unprepared and with high expectations. Although it was interesting, it was very, very hard work. We had only gone for 4 days and 3 nights instead of the several months on the trail as Bill and Katz did in the story. Because of my trip, some of the things they went through and experienced…I knew exactly what they were thinking and feeling. It’s one thing to talk about backpacking…but it’s quite another to actually go through with it.

My husband and I were very close to the Appalachian Trail, also known as the AT, and had originally put it on our hiking agenda. But by our 3rd day, when it was time to go to the AT, we decided that we had maybe been a tad enthusiastic when we had made our agenda and stuck to a closer proximity. Hiking a trail to your next campsite that was only 7 miles away, seemed like it would be an easy feat…however, road miles and up-hill-all-the-way-on-a-mountain miles are quite different.

It was an eye-opening experience and also a great feeling of accomplishment. It was cold, snowy and not at all what I had expected but so worth it at the same time. We went to celebrate with a night in Gatlinburg when we had finished our 20-mile hike. I’m sure the locals had us pegged as hikers since we were walking bent over with a been-on-the-trail-awhile stagger. I feel lucky to have had the experience and my husband and I made a great team, which is very important to have.


A Walk in the Woods book

If you want a taste of the backpacking experience without actually stepping foot on the trail or if you want maybe a little motivation, read this book or watch the movie, it will definitely be worth your time.