National Park Week Quiz #9 Revealed: What The Bartender Knew

National Park Week Quiz #9 asked you to explain why three seemingly implausible claims could be true.

Jim said “One time while Diane and I were in South Dakota, I went to sleep in a National Park and woke up in a National Monument.”

That’s not at all hard to believe. There is a cluster of National Park System units in southwestern South Dakota that includes two National Parks (Wind Cave and Badlands) and a National Monument (Jewel Cave). If Jim had fallen asleep in a vehicle while in either National Park, he could have been transported to the National Monument and awakened there. A variety of conveyances would do the trick, including a tour bus or a car or RV driven by Jim’s wife.

John said “One time when Sylvia and I were backpacking, we went to sleep in a National Monument and woke up the next morning in a National Park.”

That could have happened if the couple was backpacking in a National Monument at the time it was redesignated from National Monument to National Park or abolished and merged into a National Park-designated unit of the National Park System. For example, thanks to the California Desert Protection Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-433), both Death Valley National Monument and Joshua Tree National Monument became National Parks on October 31, 1994. Anybody who camped in the park on the eve of the redesignation and woke up there the day the redesignation took effect would be able to say that they went to sleep in a National Monument and woke up in a National Park. Some other examples: Zion National Monument (Zion National Park, 1956); Petrified Forest National Monument (Petrified Forest National Park, 1962); Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument (Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, 1999); Congaree Swamp National Monument (Congaree National Park, 2003); and Great Sand Dunes National Monument (Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, 2004). There are several other plausible explanations. As one reader reminded me, John might have been old enough to have been backpacking with Sylvia in Jackson Hole National Monument when most of the park was absorbed into Grand Teton National Park in 1950.

Jeremy said “One time while Judy and I were staying with some friends, we went to sleep next to a National Memorial, and when we woke up it was gone.”

There are several possibilities here, but none more bizarre than the case of Hamilton Grange. The early 19th-century home of Alexander Hamilton in upper Manhattan is preserved as Hamilton Grange National Memorial. When the National Park Service acquired the house in 1962 it had already been relocated once and was then tucked tightly between a church and a six-story apartment building. On June 7, 2008, the Hamilton Grange National Memorial was moved several blocks to a more appropriate site in St. Nicholas Park. Thus, someone who fell asleep near the original location of the National Memorial before the six-hour move got underway could have awakened to find it gone. Another example of removal is the David Berger National Memorial (not a national park), a black steel sculpture that was "transplanted" to a new site in Beechfield, Ohio, in 2005 when a demolition project forced its removal from its original site in Cleveland Heights. Other cases involve National Memorials that have been abolished. New Echota Marker National Memorial, for example, was abolished by an act of Congress on September 21, 1950, transferred to the state of Georgia, and subsequently absorbed into New Echota Historic Site.

Congratulations to the Traveler readers who provided plausible explanations: EEW, viewmtn, toothdoctor, Ranger Dave, and Caprice Kutz. All are eligible for Traveler’s National Park Week prize drawing and a chance to win a National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map for a national park of their choice.