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UT geology class to celebrate National Park Service centennial with trip to 20 parks, monuments

Before fall semester begins, a group of 20 undergraduate students at The University of Toledo is heading west for the mountains, hiking, hot springs, and hope of an antelope siting.

“I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon,” Angela Williams, a UT junior and geology major, said.

Angela Williams, a UT junior majoring in geology, submitted this photo from a previous UT geology class trip to Badlands National Park in South Dakota. She is excited for this year’s trip.

Angela Williams, a UT junior majoring in geology, submitted this photo from a previous UT geology class trip to Badlands National Park in South Dakota. She is excited for this year’s trip.

The National Park Service turns 100 years old this month, and a geologist at The University of Toledo is taking his class on the two-week field trip to celebrate.

“Although national parks commonly are featured on my trips, this year’s excursion includes more parks than we have ever visited in a single trip in honor of the centennial,” said Dr. Mark Camp, associate professor of geology in the Department of Environmental Sciences. “There is no better way to see the geology and natural history of the United States than to explore our national parks. Many were created simply to focus on one landscape feature, like a cave or volcano.”

The group will depart Saturday, Aug. 6, at 7 a.m. from Bowman-Oddy Laboratories.

The tour through Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Nebraska called “Cavalcade of Parks” is packed with visits to 20 parks, monuments and recreation areas in the Rocky Mountains and Colorado Plateau regions.

Locations will include Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Arches National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Dinosaur National Monument.

“I’m looking forward to finally being able to say I’ve been to every national park in Utah,” said Williams, a Toledo native who has already visited 25 national parks. “Each park is full of its own history. The National Park Service has been able to save so much of this country — not just the natural environment and animals, but a lot of the parks incorporate battle sites, forts, and amazing manors where people lived.”

Students will spend most evenings at campgrounds in state or national parks and return to UT Friday, Aug. 19. A $200 field trip fee covers student expenses for camping and motel costs, as well as admission fees to the parks.