Now that the national park centennial day has come and gone, the hoopla over America’s best idea has died down a bit. Entities that rarely think about or cover the national park system–mainstream media–have moved on to other topics. But those of us who spend a good chunk of our lives outside haven’t forgotten. We’re still planning our next trip.

Of course, there’s more to American public lands than just national parks. There are national forests, national wildlife refuges, national monuments, Bureau of Land Management land, national seashores…and each brings with it a different set of rules, typical user groups, and vibe.

Which is best? The answer depends on your expectations for public lands and what you want to do there. National park wilderness is the most restrictive. BLM is usually the least. You wanna car camp for free or pay and see El Cap from your tent?


Let’s see where this goes.

This week, one poll participant will receive Smith Optic’s Lowdown sunglasses. We’ll pick the winner via random number generator (and announce it here) – all you have to do to enter is vote and leave a comment so we have your email to contact you. Must have a U.S. or Canadian address. Contest ends Sunday, October 2, 2016, at midnight PST.


Photo of Glacier Bay by Hector Mota


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Steve Casimiro is the editor of Adventure Journal. Follow him on Instagram at @stevecasimiro.