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National Park Passport Stamps facts for kids

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Example of a National Park Passport Stamp for the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area

At nearly all of the 417 American National Park units of the United States (and many of the National Park Service's affiliated areas), one or more National Park Passport Stamps (cancellation stamps) can be acquired at no cost at park visitor centers and ranger stations. The stamps are similar in nature to passport stamps stamped in a traveler's national passport. The stamps serve as a record of each park visit. The Passport to Your National Parks program is run by Eastern National, a non-profit organization. The program began in the middle of 1986. Collectors of the stamps have formed a non-profit social club, the National Park Travelers Club, a group which holds annual conventions. The 2015 convention was held at Chamizal National Memorial.

Passport books

Passport books, sold at Eastern National park stores and, provide a place for park visitors to collect National Park cancellation stamps. Over 1,300,000 Passport books have been sold. The 3.25" x 5.5" passport book provides five pages for each of the nine regions where the passport user can place ink stamp cancellations and can affix one featured stamp per page. A featured stamp collector's passport would therefore be filled after five years of use as long as the featured stamps were added to the book each year. In 2006, for the program's 20th anniversary, the "Passport Explorer" was released, featuring a binder and larger pages. Due to its binder format, the Passport Explorer allows the user to easily add extra pages for additional cancellation stamps and featured stamps.

National Park Passport Regions

Map of USA NP passport regions
The nine passport regions (The DC area is its own region)

The National Park Service is administratively divided into regions. Each region provides oversight and guidance to the park units within its geographic area. While the NPS currently divides the various parks, monuments, and other units among seven regions, the passport booklet observes the nine regions in effect when the program was established.

Passport to Your National Parks annual stamp series

In addition to the cancellation stamps, each year the National Parks Passport Program releases a set of ten full-color collector stamps featuring a photo and description of one park per region. Passport holders can affix these adhesive stamps to their Passport book in a designated space below which they can stamp the corresponding cancellation. The Park units featured on the stamp sets change each year.

The stamp sets, dating back to their inception in 1986, are still readily available at most park unit gift shops for under $10, or on the internet through Eastern National.

Originally, the featured stamps were only available in the region they represented, save for Colonial National Historical Park, where Eastern-National was headquartered. In 1986 the stamps were printed on thin cardboard, which distorted the passbook due to the combined thickness of the cardboard. Each stamp would be mounted onto its respective page with a lightweight, black, adhesive-backed plastic sleeve. Since 1987, the annual stamp series have been minted on a single sheet of adhesive-backed glossy paper, of a quality similar to that of conventional postage stamps.

Featured stamps

Year National Stamp Regional Stamps
1986 Statue of Liberty
1987 Independence National Historical Park/Independence Hall
1988 The five winners of the Arts for the Parks contest:
1989 Yellowstone National Park
1990 Sequoia National Park
1991 Muir Woods National Monument
1992 San Juan National Historic Site
1993 Grand Teton National Park
1994 Golden Spike National Historic Site
1995 Glacier National Park
1996 Mesa Verde National Park
1997 Everglades National Park
1998 Women's Rights National Historical Park
1999 Mount Rainier National Park; Bonus Stamp - Commemorative Issue: U.S. Department of the Interior.
2000 Minute Man National Historical Park
2001 Independence National Historical Park - The Liberty Bell
ENP Stamps 2001
2002 Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
2003 Saguaro National Park
2004 Navajo National Monument
2005 George Washington Memorial Parkway
2006 Petrified Forest National Park
2007 Kalaupapa National Historical Park
2008 Pinnacles National Park
2009 Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site
2010 Dinosaur National Monument
2011 Fort Sumter National Monument in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War
2012 Shiloh National Military Park in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War
2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
2014 Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
2015 Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
2016 National Park Service Turns 100
2017 Denali National Park and Preserve
2018 Appalachian National Scenic Trail
2019 Grand Canyon National Park
2020 Women’s Rights National Historical Park
  • North Atlantic Regional Stamp: Stonewall National Monument
  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Stamp: Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site
  • National Capital Regional Stamp: Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail
  • Southeast Regional Stamp: Jimmy Carter National Historic Site
  • Midwest Regional Stamp: First Ladies National Historic Site
  • Pacific Northwest and Alaska Regional Stamp: Alagnak Wild River
  • Western Regional Stamp: Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park
  • Rocky Mountain Regional Stamp: Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
  • Southwest Regional Stamp: Waco Mammoth National Monument
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