Cedar Pass Campground
Finding 'Americana' in the Badlands
If you’re going to visit Badlands, make sure to check out the Park Ranger Evening Talk at the Cedar Pass Campground amphitheater in the national park. For more than an hour, the ranger fascinated both young and old alike with his self-made PowerPoint presentation about the night sky. We learned about supernovas and the constellations. I found out how to identify one of the oldest stars in the solar system and saw the international space station orbiting above us. Then he told us about what his 19-year-old son who’s serving in Iraq recently told him, that the only stars that really matter are the 50 found on an American flag. When he followed that story up with a short video clip featuring some of the other 56 spectacular national parks in this country (with "America the Beautiful" as the soundtrack), the applause that followed was as genuine and well deserved as any I’ve ever witnessed. Thank you Ranger Smith for helping me discover the true spirit of America, and perhaps teaching me and my son the meaning of Americana—the culture of the United States!
By Rainer Jenss, Family Travel Correspondent
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