Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

by Sandra Merville Hart Over 300,000 people visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico every year. Over 119 caves lie beneath vast deserts and canyons. Explore the cave Rangers encourage everyone to see the 8-acre Big Room, the main section of the cave. This is the only section that contains a lunch room. From there, tourists can take guided tours or explore certain areas on their own. Guided tours with rangers Park rangers lead several tours. Explore Left Hand Tunnel by the light of a handheld lantern. Go to Slaughter Canyon Cave to find a Christmas tree formation. Bat Flight Brazilian Free-tailed bats fly from the cave at dusk every night by the hundred thousands. Watch this amazing sight during the Bat Flight program at the park’s amphitheater...

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Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

Over 300,000 people visit Big Bend National Park in Texas every year. This sandy desert park with the Rio Grande River running through it also has beautiful canyons and towering mountains. Start at the Visitor Center Begin your trip to Big Bend at one of the five visitor centers for permits and entrance fees. Panther Junction Visitor Center is open all year and has a bookstore and U.S. Post Office. Two hundred yards away, Panther Junction Service Station sells gas and groceries. Birdwatching at Big Bend Bird lovers will especially enjoy this park. Big Bend is a wonderful spot for birdwatching. Northern birds migrate there for the winter. Tropical birds fly north in the spring. A bird checklist, available for purchase at any visitor center, shows the type of birds...

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Mail by Pail

Did you know … Delivering the mail to isolated areas has been a challenge over the years for the Post Office. In 1845, a new service called Star Routes began. Private letter carriers were hired to deliver the mail these areas, allowing the person to decide the best way to do to the job. Some surprising ways have been used. Stagecoaches Stagecoaches delivered the mail to 75 post offices by 1788 and were used before the Star Routes began. They continued to be used until the early 1900s. Mail bags were stored under the driver’s seat. Horseback riders replaced some of the stagecoaches. Water Routes A mail boat is used in Magnolia Springs, Alabama, to deliver mail. Twenty-five miles by boat would be eighty-five miles by land, so the water route cuts the...

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Letter Carriers Deliver to Homes

Did you know …   Before the Civil War, everyone had to visit the post office to pick up their mail. The U.S. Postal Service begins home delivery in Ohio. In 1863, Joseph Briggs, one of the postal workers in Cleveland, Ohio, convinced the officials that they should deliver the mail for free to those living in the city. Other cities began to receive free mail delivery. After the Civil War ended, many soldiers who had been disabled in the war became letter carriers. Only cities with over 20,000 people received free mail delivery. At first, the Post Office only provided free mail delivery to cities with a population over 20,000. After 1887, the number was lowered, but it still didn’t include small towns and those living in the country. Those living on...

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Neither Snow nor Rain

Did you know … “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Many people believe that this quote, which simply means that postal workers will deliver the mail regardless of the weather, is the official motto of the U.S. Postal Service. The U.S. Postal Service does not have an official motto. Although our country’s post office doesn’t have an official motto, there’s a good reason for the confusion. This quote is engraved on the outside of the building of The James A. Farley Post Office Building in New York City, which is the main post office in the city. The motto was used in ancient Greece. The famous quote is from Herodotus, a man who lived in the fifth...

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A Battle at Fort McHenry Inspires a Song

Did you know …   Francis Scott Key is best remembered for writing a famous poem, The Star-Spangled Banner, which he wrote on the back of an old letter after witnessing a long battle. It happened during the War of 1812. Shortly after the British attacked Washington D.C. in August of 1814, Key learned that one of his friends, Dr. Beanes, had been taken as prisoner on the enemy ship, Tonnant. He received permission from President Madison to discuss his release with the British. He took Colonel Skinner with him to help. They placed a white flag of peace on their small boat and sailed Chesapeake Bay to find the British ships.  They boarded the ship and convinced the general to release Dr. Beanes. However, he wouldn’t let the three men leave until after they...

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