Buck Tracks Volume 16: Field Notes from Marie Buck, WNPA CEO

Hello everyone,

The weather has finally started to recognize that fall is here, with winter not too far behind. The sizzling hot temperatures in the Southwest have started to mellow. In some areas of the Northwest, snow activity began as early as this past September. As a team, we closed out the 2023 fiscal year on another high note, excelling in our operations and financial performance. Ultimately, every single staff member contributes directly to the success of our mission to support parks and the visitor experience.  Whether working at a park, at the home office, or remotely—we are successful and able to serve the visitors and the National Park Service because of the work we do as a team.

Sunset at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (courtesy of Anton Foltin).

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to Host Upcoming Board Meeting

We have started to prepare for November’s Board meeting at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The monument is absolutely beautiful this time of year and I’m excited to convene in this very special place. With a trinational community, we help to support and develop relationships that compose the intricate cultural exchanges required to manage and protect the land. The Board meeting offers us a chance to deepen our connection to this and all parks.

Covers to White Sands National Monument, Pueblo Loop Trail Guide, and The Army Wife’s Cookbook.

Publishing Department Sends Several Books to Print

As we all know, WNPA began as a publishing company 85 years ago. Our books are special, uniquely supporting the interpretation at the parks, enhancing the visitor experience, and inspiring more people to become lifelong advocates for public lands. Each publication that goes to the printer and ships to stores represents an intricate and laborious process and I want to make sure everyone knows what’s hot off the presses!

White Sands National Monument, Susan Lamb

Pueblo Loop Trail Guide, Bandelier National Monument

Coming soon: The Army Wife’s Cookbook

Color photograph of Pepe Marcos-Iga at the Tucson Festival of Books, in front of Navajo rugs
Pepe Marcos-Iga at the Tucson Festival of Books, in front of Navajo rugs.

WNPA Is Now Accepting Applications and Nominations for Annual Awards, Grants, and Scholarships

On October 2, WNPA kicked off its Awards, Grants, and Scholarships campaign. There are three unique awards, two distinct scholarships, and two types of grants. Through this program, we help support researchers, educators, students, artists, authors, innovators, and all types of park advocates. This year, we have worked diligently to amplify this program and facilitate connections between researchers and parks so that we can reduce barriers and foster a more diverse list of recipients.

I want to make special mention of the Pepe Marcos-Iga Leadership Scholarship, which is open to WNPA applicants. The window for applications is almost open. Watch your WNPA email for upcoming information.

Elaine Grace and Butch Farabee attended the retiree luncheon.

NPS Retiree Luncheon

Caroline Lochner and I attended an NPS retiree luncheon in Amado, Arizona. Amado is located just north of Tubac and Tumacácori and features wonderful views of the Santa Cruz River Valley, Mt. Wrightson, and the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory. It was fun to meet and spend time with everyone. As many of you know, Tucson is a haven for retired National Park Service (NPS) staff.  I asked a few what drew them to Tucson, and everyone answered the same: the great city, outdoor recreation, and most importantly, no snow. The event was coordinated by WNPA’s good friend, Butch Farabee. A retired long-term NPS park ranger, he is also a talented author of many books including Off the Wall, Death in Yosemite, with co-author Dr. Michael Ghiglieri. It’s truly a small world as I have done several river trips with Dr. Ghiglieri and his son Cliff over the course of the years.

The monarch butterflies find sanctuary at Tumacácori National Historical Park.

Before lunch, I briefly visited Tumacácori National Historical Park to enjoy the gardens. The “Mission Butterfly Garden” is a registered Monarch Waystation providing milkweeds, nectar sources, and shelter needed to sustain monarch butterflies as they migrate through North America. The garden is more than five thousand square feet, considered by the Monarch Watch to be “colossal.” I could have spent hours in peace and serenity, just watching the butterflies fluttering and landing on the plants.

October Park Anniversaries

Happy anniversary to these parks!

  • Big Thicket National Preserve, October 11
  • Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, October 15
  • Brown v Board of Education National Historical Park, October 26
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park, October 25
  • Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site, October 18
  • Fort Scott National Historic Site, October 19
  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park, October 15
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area, October 8
  • Mojave National Preserve, October 31
  • Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, October 28
  • Timpanogos Cave National Monument, October 14

Be well!

Marie Buck