Hispanic Heritage Month Brings Travel Itineraries To National Park System, Events In The Parks

Rich Latino history can be found throughout the United States, and during Hispanic Heritage Month that history is being celebrated in the National Park System.

Special events are being held across the system through October 15, from tours of Rancho de las Cabras at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park in New Mexico to the Cabrillo Festival and Re-enactment at Cabrillo National Monument in California.

At the same time, the National Park Service has created an on-line travel itinerary to help you experience and understand American Latino heritage as it's interpreted in the park system.

"From Christopher Columbus’ expeditions to the New World, to the struggle for civil rights spearheaded by Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta, American Latino heritage spans five centuries and is an integral part of the story of the United States," said a Park Service release announcing the new web tool. "The itinerary, which includes stops at nearly 200 historic sites in 33 states and the District of Columbia, as well as the territories of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, is loaded with information, images, maps, and essays."

The website is just the latest effort by the Park Service to recount the country's history to park visitors, NPS Director Jon Jarvis said in the release.

"The National Park Service is committed to connecting people with the places and stories of the diverse peoples who have come together to create the heritage of the United States,” the director said. “Our American Latino Heritage comes alive in this itinerary, the latest in the ongoing series that invites Americans and others to ‘Discover Our Shared Heritage.’”

Each destination on the itinerary is connected to a park or program administered by the National Park Service, including units of the National Park System, National Historic Landmarks, National Heritage Areas and National Historic Trails. Most sites are also included in the National Register of Historic Places, which the National Park Service expands and maintains. Together they reflect the many diverse ways Latino peoples have contributed to and shaped the rich heritage of the United States for some 500 years.

The National Park Service’s Heritage Education Services produced this itinerary in partnership with the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers. The American Latino Heritage itinerary is the 55th in the online Discover Our Shared Heritage travel itinerary series and is part of the Department of the Interior’s American Latino Heritage Initiative. The series supports historic preservation, promotes public awareness of history, and encourages visits to historic places throughout the country.

As to special events marking Hispanic Heritage Month in the park system, the following list was prepared by the American Latino Heritage Fund of the National Park Foundation:

* September 30 - Cabrillo Festival and Re-enactment at Cabrillo National Monument (California)

* October 6 and 7 - Hispanic Heritage Month Commemoration at Gulf Islands National Seashore, (Florida)

* October 7 - Archeological Tour of Barrio de Tubac and Tumacacori Mission at Tumacacori National Historical Park (Arizona)

* October 13 - International Rio Grande Delta Archeology Fair at Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park (Texas)

* Saturdays - Tour of Rancho de las Cabras at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (Texas)

* Saturdays and Sundays - Ranger-led kayak tours at De Soto National Memorial (Florida)

* Saturdays - Art for Starters at El Morro National Monument (New Mexico)

You can discover more about Hispanic Heritage Month at this website.