4 Newest U.S. National Parks

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

Newest National Parks

The National Park System dates back to 1872. Since Yellowstone became the first national park, dozens of locations have been recognized as well (61 total, as of 2019, though there are 419 NPS-operated units like national monuments and historic sites). However, new parks are few and far between. The most recent four were established between 2004 and 2019 (yes, a new national park was added to the list this year!) Every now and again, the United States sees a reason to add to the list. Be sure to grab a park pass and go visit. Here are the four newest national parks.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Credit: Kris Wiktor/Shutterstock

Established as a national park in September 2004, the Great Sand Dunes preserve is located in Colorado. The large sand dunes tower at up to 750 feet on the eastern edge of the San Luis Valley. The park has the tallest sand dunes in North America, spanning an area of about 30 square miles. Evidence of human habitation in the sandy park and its surrounding valleys dates back about 11,000 years. The first people known to inhabit the area were the Southern Ute Tribe. Apaches and Navajo also have cultural connections to the dunes area.

Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles National Park

Credit: yhelfman/Shutterstock

With the most national parks in the nation (and some of the oldest and best), you may have overlooked California’s most recent addition to the National Park Service inventory: Pinnacles National Park. Located mid-state toward the coast, Pinnacles protects the mountainous area east of the Salinas Valley, a prominent farming community. The national park is divided by rock formations, which are only connected by foot trails. Pinnacles has a long history as public land, despite being established as a national park by President Barack Obama in 2013. It was originally established as a national monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908. The most developed areas of the park are on its East side, but Pinnacles still offers mostly pristine wilderness.

Gateway Arch National Park

Gateway Arch National Park

Credit: Paul Brady Photography/Shutterstock

You may have missed it in the news, but the St. Louis Gateway Arch was designated as a national park after many years as a national memorial in 2018. The city-defining Gateway Arch is a 630-foot monument that was completed in 1965 and is known as The Gateway to the West. The memorial was initially established to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase and subsequent westward movement of American explorers and pioneers, as well as the first civil government west of the Mississippi. Today, there is a museum on the 91-acre property as well.

Category IconGeneral
5pts

Daily trivia question

Test Your Knowledge!

What is the only airport to have a terminal in two countries?

PLAY!Plane icon

Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana Dunes National Park

Credit: Anna Westman/Shutterstock

On the shores of Lake Michigan is the newest national park in the U.S., the Indiana Dunes, authorized by Congress as a national lakeshore in 1966 and upgraded to national park status on Feb. 15, 2019. Containing approximately 15,000 acres of land, the park runs for nearly 25 miles along the lake’s southern shore. It’s Indiana’s first national park, and contains a surprising amount of rare plants and animals, some of which are on the federal list of threatened and endangered species (Mead’s milkweed and Pitcher’s thistle among them). The park is more than just sand dunes, too. You’ll find wetland, prairie, river and forest ecosystems.

The Surprising Stories Behind 5 State Nicknames

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

The Surprising Stories Behind 5 State Nicknames

For most Americans, we study U.S. history several times throughout our educational experience. And in most cases, sometime in elementary school, one year is entirely dedicated to learning about your state history. The first things you learn are the iconic associations for your state such as the state flower, bird, tree, and nickname. While most state nicknames are named after indigenous flowers, wildlife, or geographic features, the following states break the mold with head-scratching nicknames that need a story to explain how they came to be.

Indiana: The Hoosier State

Credit: Black Salmon / Shutterstock.com

Unless you’re familiar with the classic sports movie Hoosiers or are a fan of Indiana University’s athletic teams, you’re probably scratching your head and asking “What’s a Hoosier?” There are countless explanations as to why the name “Hoosier” came to be, but a true Hoosier knows there’s only one that’s acceptable. Fun fact: A resident of Indiana is known as a Hoosier (don’t call them an “Indianian” unless you enjoy receiving annoyed looks). Back during the pioneer days, it was common for settlers to be spread out miles apart from each other. When a traveler would come upon a settlement and knock on the cabin door, the usual response was, “Who’s there?” in a local twang that sounded more like “Who’s yere?” Shortened down over time, it somehow became “Hoosier.”

Missouri: The Show-Me State

Credit: DenisTangleyJr / iStock

You’ve probably heard that Missouri is called “The Show-Me State.” But what are they showing, and who is doing the showing? Missouri is yet another state with dueling explanations for its nickname, but the most popular is attributed to U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver, who represented the state from 1897 to 1903. During his tenure, Vandiver gave a speech during a naval banquet, during which he stated, “I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.” The rest, as they say, is history.

Montana: The Treasure State

Credit: svedoliver / iStock

When most people think about Montana, they’re probably more familiar with the phrase “Big Sky Country.” That’s a play on the book titled “Big Sky” by Alfred Bertram Guthrie, Jr. and references the endless horizons and unobstructed landscape views the state offers. But the 41st state in the U.S. is actually rich in minerals. Long before it became a destination for travelers seeking unspoiled nature, prospectors hoping to find gold and silver called the territory home in the 1800s. And they were successful—even sapphires have been found in Montana’s mountains. So, “The Treasure State” is actually a pretty apt name for this western land.

New Mexico: Land of Enchantment

Credit: mtilghma / iStock

Of all the states in this article, New Mexico’s nickname is the youngest. “Land of Enchantment” was officially adopted as the state’s nickname in 1999. However, the earliest known use of this phrase began in 1935 as part of a tourism campaign to increase travel to the Four Corners state. In 1941, the state began printing license plates with the nickname. Anyone who’s visited this state knows that this nickname is well deserved: New Mexico is most popular for its scenic plateaus, mountains, and brilliant blue skies.

Wyoming: The Equality State

Credit: Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

This is probably one of the most interesting state nicknames. If you’re not well-versed in U.S. history, you might not think Wyoming is at the forefront of breaking barriers in women’s rights. But the 44th state was the first to grant women the right to vote. Wyoming passed this law in 1869 when it was still a territory, over 50 years before Congress would ratify the 19th Amendment, which gave select women the unfettered right to vote in 1920. Additionally, this state was also the first to allow women to hold public office and serve on juries. The first female governor in the U.S. was Wyoming’s own Nellie Tayloe Ross in 1924. She would later go on to serve as the first female Director of the United States Mint.

Honorable Mention – Tennessee: The Volunteer State

Credit: LifeJourneys / iStock

Tennessee also has a unique nickname, so it deserves an honorable mention. If you’re a University of Tennessee fan, then this probably sounds familiar as their mascot is a Bluetick Coonhound named Smokey, yet they call themselves the Volunteers. While the first use of this nickname is fiercely debated even among state residents, everyone agrees that it’s well-earned. As far back as the War of 1812, Tennesseans were ready to take up arms and volunteer to make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their country. However, most historians agree that this commendable nickname really became commonplace during the Mexican-American War in the 1840s as droves of Tennesseans headed south to Texas to fight in the war—including the legendary frontiersman and Tennessee native, Davy Crockett.

Trending on

You may like

Sponsored Links by Taboola

BACK TO TOP

Missouri To Approve Legal Marijuana For All Adults In 2019

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF MARIJUANA NEWS)

Missouri’s voter-approved medical marijuana law hasn’t even gone into effect yet, but one state lawmaker is already taking steps to legalize cannabis across the board in 2019.

Rep. Brandon Ellington (D) prefiled a bill on Monday for the upcoming session that, if enacted, would permit adults 21 and older to legally grow, possess and consume marijuana. Individuals would be allowed to keep up to two ounces of cannabis and grow up to six plants—three of which could be “mature, flowering plants” at a time.


Marijuana Moment is currently tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

Retail sales would still be prohibited under the proposed legislation, however, meaning that the Show Me State would have a form of noncommercial legalization similar to those that exist now in Vermont and Washington, D.C.

Read the text of the new bill here:

Missouri marijuana legalization bill by Marijuana Moment on Scribd

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/395010906/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-pA73ntDVrUNPmKNKNEzz&show_recommendations=true

Voters in the state approved one of three competing medical cannabis measures during November’s midterm election, 66-34 percent. The law is set to formally go into effect on Thursday.

Even so, Ellington seems to be wasting no time getting the ball rolling on adult-use legalization.

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/the-midwest-may-be-the-next-frontier-in-marijuana-legalization/embed/#?secret=WO4tY1hhrT

 

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

Ten U.S. States Are Trying To Make Peaceful Protest A Criminal Offence

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF EVAN GREER’S WEBSITE AND FFTF NEWS)

 

Hi,

Ten states have legislation pending to criminalize some peaceful protest. [1]

80,000 of us have already spoken up about a bill in Washington state, in which any protesters deemed “disruptive” could be charged with “economic terrorism.”[2] But the idea is spreading — in Missouri, wearing a hood at a protest would be considered “criminal identity concealment”; in North Dakota, drivers would be allowed to run over and kill a protester with no legal liability, as long as it was done “negligently.”[3]

These bills are an urgent threat to free speech and patriotic dissent. If we speak up now and raise the alarm, we can make them politically toxic and protect the right to protest.

Sign the petition to stop laws that attack our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly!

No matter what your cause is, we should all have the basic right to speak out — and lots of people have been using it. But powerful and corrupt institutions are threatened by people getting together to make their voices heard, that’s why they want to silence them. So they’re trying to insulate themselves from the public by making it effectively too dangerous to actually use our constitutional right to free speech.

The ten states already considering these bills are Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia, and Washington [4] — click through for links to each bill. Lawmakers seeing these bills fly under the radar could get the wrong idea. We’ve got to speak up now to make sure our ability to speak up on any issue is not silenced.

Authorities argue that these laws are necessary to protect the public from radical protesters. But these laws are not even written to do that — they’re so vague that they could criminalize completely nonviolent protest, or leave it to local authorities to pick and choose the groups they want to silence. Any one of these laws even getting serious debate in a state house is a threat to our freedom to express ourselves, online and offline, everywhere.

Sign the petition to reject laws that criminalize protest!

Fight for the Future exists to support the Internet’s ability to do good. So let’s come together as Internet users to defend our rights.

Sincerely,
Evan
[1] The Intercept – https://theintercept.com/2017/01/23/lawmakers-in-eight-states-have-proposed-laws-criminalizing-peaceful-protest/

[2] Fight for the Future – https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/urgent-new-law-would-charge-protesters-with-terrorism/

[3] The Intercept – see [1]

[4] NPR – http://www.npr.org/2017/01/31/512636448/bills-across-the-country-could-increase-penalties-for-protesters

 

Study: States with medical marijuana have lower prescription drug use—Plus Fewer Drug Overdoses And Deaths

 

Study: States with medical marijuana have lower prescription drug use—This Causes Fewer Drug Overdoses And Fewer Drug Related Deaths As It Is Impossible To Overdose (Die) From Marijuana Usage!

Prescription drug prices are up, making policy experts increasingly anxious. But relief could come from a surprising source. Just ask Cheech and Chong.

New research found that states that legalized medical marijuana — which is sometimes recommended for symptoms like chronic pain, anxiety or depression — saw declines in the number of Medicare prescriptions for drugs used to treat those conditions and a dip in spending by Medicare Part D, which covers the cost on prescription medications.

The study, which appears in Health Affairs, examined data from Medicare Part D from 2010 to 2013. It is the first study to examine whether legalization changes doctors’ clinical practice and whether it could curb public health costs.

The findings add context to the debate as more lawmakers express interest in medical marijuana. Ohio and Pennsylvania have this year passed laws allowing the drug for therapeutic purposes, making the practice legal in 25 states, plus Washington D.C. The question could also come to a vote in Florida and Missouri this November. A federal agency is considering reclassifying it under national drug policy to make medical marijuana more readily available.

Medical marijuana saved Medicare about $165 million in 2013, the researchers concluded. They estimated that, if the policy were nationalized, Medicare Part D spending would have declined in the same year by about $470 million. That’s about half a percent of the program’s total expenditures.

That is an admittedly small proportion of the multi-billion dollar program. But the figure is nothing to sneeze at, said W. David Bradford, a professor of public policy at the University of Georgia and one of the study’s authors.

“We wouldn’t say that saving money is the reason to adopt this. But it should be part of the discussion,” he added. “We think it’s pretty good indirect evidence that people are using this as medication.”

The researchers found that in states with medical marijuana laws on the books, the number of drug prescriptions dropped for treating anxiety, depression, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders and spasticity. Those are all conditions for which marijuana is sometimes recommended. Prescriptions for other drugs treating other conditions, meanwhile, did not decline.

The study’s authors are separately investigating the impact medical marijuana could have on prescriptions covered by Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for low-income people. Though this research is still being finalized, they found a greater drop in prescription drug payments there, Bradford said.

If the trend bears out, it could have meaningful public health ramifications. As doctors and public health experts grapple with the consequences of excessive prescription painkiller use, medical marijuana could provide an alternate path. Experts say abuse of prescription painkillers — known as opioids — is in part driven by high prescribing. In states that legalized medical uses of marijuana, painkiller prescriptions dropped — on average, the study found, by about 1,800 daily doses filled each year per doctor. That tracks with other research on the subject.

Questions exist, though, about the possible health harms or issues that could result from regular use.

It’s unlike other drugs, such as opioids, in which overdoses are fatal, said Deepak D’Souza, a professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, who has researched the drug.

“That doesn’t happen with marijuana,” he added. “But there are whole other side effects and safety issues we need to be aware of.”

“A lot of people also worry that marijuana is a drug that can be abused,” agreed Bradford. “Just because it’s not as dangerous as some other dangerous things, it doesn’t mean you want to necessarily promote it. There’s a lot of unanswered questions.”

Meanwhile, it is difficult to predict how many people will opt for this choice instead of meds like antidepressants or opioids.

Because the federal government labels marijuana as a Schedule I drug, doctors can’t technically prescribe it. In states that have legalized medical marijuana, they can only write patients a note sending them to a dispensary. Insurance plans don’t cover it, so patients using marijuana pay out-of-pocket. Prices vary based on geography, but a patient’s recommended regimen can be as much as $400 per month. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency is considering changing that classification — a decision is expected sometime this summer. If the DEA made marijuana a Schedule II drug, that would put it in the company of drugs such as morphine and oxycodone, making it easier for doctors to prescribe and more likely that insurance would cover it.

To some, the idea that medical marijuana triggers costs savings is hollow. Instead, they say it is cost shifting. “Even if Medicare may be saving money, medical marijuana doesn’t come for free,” D’Souza said. “I have some trouble with the idea that this is a source of savings.”

Still, Bradford maintains that if the industry expanded and medical marijuana became a regular part of patient care nationally, the cost curve would bend because marijuana is cheaper than other drugs.

Lester Grinspoon, an associate professor emeritus of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, who has written two books on the subject, echoed that possibility. Unlike with many drugs, he argued, “There’s a limit to how high a price cannabis can be sold at as a medicine.” He is not associated with the study.

And, in the midst of the debate about its economics, medical marijuana still sometimes triggers questions within the practice of medicine.

“As physicians, we are used to prescribing a dose. We don’t have good information about what is a good dose for the treatment for, say pain,” D’Souza said. “Do you say, ‘Take two hits and call me in the morning?’ I have no idea.”

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.