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As I was building my National Park System page, I decided to add a picture of my park passport.  Once I opened it up and started looking through it again I thought maybe you’d also enjoy a virtual tour of my book.

National Park System Passport with cancellation stamps
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Use your National Park System Passport to collect cancellation stamps and keep track of all the parks you’ve visited.

Where it all started…

I bought my passport book at Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico in 2008. This was the first and last time I was able to put my cancellation stamp directly into the book. I kept my passport in the car initially but would still forget to bring it inside with me when stopping at the various park visitor centers.  At the time my kids were still small and the effort required to bring them with me back to the parking lot to retrieve my book was just too much.  The visitor centers always keep scraps of paper near the cancellation stamp so I would just stamp it on a scrap to be taped in to the passport later.

page inside national park system passport showing cancellation stamps
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My very first cancellation stamp from Petroglyph National Monument in July 2008. Just below that you can see the cancellation stamp on paper scrap method that I used for every stamp after my first.

Now that I’ve been using the scraps for several years, I actually prefer to do it that way.  I even keep scraps of paper in my wallet (which I almost always remember to bring inside with me) because sometimes the provided scraps are recycled paper and the printing shows through from the back side.  What can I say? Even though I’m a proponent of recycling, I’m a cancellation scrap snob!  If it makes you feel any better, the scraps I bring are cut from leftover scrapbooking, card making, or school projects. So technically, still recycling.

Let’s look around inside my passport…

National Park System passport book includes a map of the geographic regions within the park system
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Inside the passport there is a map showing the various regions.
A list showing the various National Park abbreviations that are used in the National Park System.
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A list showing the various National Park abbreviations that are used.
page inside national park system passport showing how to use the cancellation stamp pages
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Did you know the cancellation stamps were color-coordinated to match the different regions? I had no idea!
The beginning of each regional section includes a map of the region with the park locations marked.
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The beginning of each regional section includes a map of the region with the park locations marked.
Each regional section also includes a checklist of the parks located within.
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Each regional section also includes a checklist of the parks located within.
Following the checklist and regional map are summaries and location details for each park.
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Following the checklist and regional map are summaries and location details for each park.
My National Park System Passport - the Explorer Edition
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My National Park System Passport – the Explorer Edition. It is all contained in a very nice zipper binder with a shoulder strap (I don’t use mine).
National Park System cancellation stamps color-coded by region
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My current collection of cancellation stamps that haven’t been taped in to my passport yet. Notice the color-coding from the various regions. Don’t look too close or you’ll notice I’m 3 years behind in my stamp filing!

Where can you get an NPS Passport?

I’ve seen them for sale at most larger parks inside the gift shop.  If you’d like to order one before you go, you can buy online. You can download a PDF of locations with location cancellation stamps here.  Also there is apparently a free app that goes along with the passport.  (There’s an app for everything these days!)  Once you’re at the park, the cancellation stamp can usually be found in the gift shop or at the front desk.  The rangers are very helpful so just ask if you can’t find it.  I’ve got my kids so well trained that they always point it out to me if they see it because they know I MUST HAVE MY STAMPS!

 

I love visiting National Parks.  It’s one of my life goals to visit all 417 sites.  My passport is a fun way to keep track of where I’ve been and which parks I still need to see.  Want to follow along?  Check my National Park System page to see a list.  Hopefully I will update that page more often than I tape the stamps into my book!

 

Be sure to get your own NPS passport to track your visits to the national parks.
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My NPS Passport via @behindeveryday
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