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Special Live Chats on AOL



Expedition America,
A National Park Odyssey

A Live Chat with
Terry and Stevie Halbert

Sept. 19, 2001

Moderator: Davinder Khanna

Terry and Stevie Halbert


HOST TRAVEL Park: Hello everyone, I am Davinder Khanna your host, and we are pleased to welcome our guests to our chat series "Parks & People Live." Tonight's chat is on "Experiencing America's Parks."

Our guests are Terry (TCHalbert) and Stevie (Naseby) Halbert, of Expedition America. They have traveled to every National Park and would like to share their experiences tonight.

They have just published a wonderful guidebook, Expedition America, A National Park Odyssey.

Let us welcome our guest, and begin our session.

Terry and Stevie, thanks for being our guests tonight and sharing with us your experience and knowledge of the the National Parks.

Here is a question to start our session....How many U.S. National Parks have you visited, and how long it did it take you to complete your journey? :)

TCHalbert: Welcome, we are pleased to be here.

Naseby: We visited all 53, (4)legislated parks and it took 11 1/2 months..

TCHalbert: We went to each of the National Park and enjoyed them all.

NPTWRO: Which was your favorite and why?

TCHalbert: Yosemite, I lived in CA and went there while growing up. An emotional attachment

Naseby: Mine was Smoky Mountain because it was spring and it was most like home (Missouri). As for land mass we both LOVED Alaska

HOST TRAVEL Park: How many miles total did you travel to cover all National Parks?

TCHalbert: We traveled bout 50,00 in the van and even more in planes and boats.

NPTWRO: What condition did you find most of the parks in? We hear a lot about maintenance backlog.

TCHalbert: The time was Jan. 1996 and some had been closed. Not all the employees were happy. Nothing was wrong that a lot of money would not help. There were never enough rangers and others

Naseby: For the most part the remaining Rangers were doing a pretty good job of keeping the parks up - there were also many students and volunteers

TCHalbert: Some visitor services needed work. We even found some areas closed.

BNTO 49ST8S: 1st trip yellow 67, last 99. I saw improvement.

Parkslands: What is your opinion of the new transportation plans for Yosemite?

TCHalbert: I was not excited until I saw how well Zion is working. This is a must. There are too many visitors not enough parking in most parks.

Naseby: We used the system that was there in 1996 and were pleased. We try to use public transport and park van when available.

TCHalbert: Zion is a good model.

Monacoman: How far away from the park will RVs have to park?

TCHalbert: Bryce is not as good, but it works. Not far enough, I am sure.

BNTO 49ST8S: Do you take photos?

TCHalbert: Yes, about 5,000 on the trip and I continue. Slides mostly. I use a canon.

BNTO 49ST8S: Same here.

Naseby: We make a pretty good photo team as I look down at flora and Terry looks up at scenery.

TCHalbert: Many of the photos are in our book and video.

HOST TRAVEL Park: What was the most exciting thing you both experienced in National Parks?

TCHalbert: A big bear at Brooks Camp Close, very close.

Naseby: The scenery and history were informative and fascinating, but I loved the people and their stories. And of course Terry's BEAR - and of course he didn't have the correct lens. 

HOST TRAVEL Park: I would like to introduce NPTWRO (Barbara Zurhellen) who is the Western Regional Director of the National Park Trust.

NPTWRO: Hi all! Did you experience overcrowding?

TCHalbert: Welcome, Yes but only during peak season for those parks. Many did not have many folks. There was a shortage of Americans. At times it was like visiting another country. Our parks are appreciated by all.

Naseby: The ones with too many cars (Zion) at the time seemed the most crowded - the transport systems really help.

BNTO 49ST8S: Are you in favor of the wolves back in yellowstone? I am.

TCHalbert: I would like to see one, I have looked. It makes for an interesting debate. We have seen fights in parks over the wolves. I am not sure about the road. Can someone help?

BETHEREF8: Is the Going to the Sun Road due to close for repair or has it started already?

Parkslands: Check with the Park on Going to the Sun. 


Parklands: The plan was to work in stages.

Naseby: Good. It would be a shame to close all of it for any length of time.

Parkslands: Which parks are in need of special attention, funding?

TCHalbert: Most, if improvements could be made like those at Zion.

TCHalbert: I think more could be willing to give

HOST TRAVEL Park: What role can private citizens play in the protection of our National Parks?

TCHalbert: We need to just appreciate them, be willing to pay a fair price for them and make sure groups have our attention like NPT. There is much to be done....

Naseby: And take care of them - keep them clean, use public transport, etc when we visit.

TCHalbert: Make your opinions known.

BNTO 49ST8S: How long was an average stay in the parks? did u c any in the winter?

TCHalbert: We were out all year, some visits were short others long.

Naseby: We stayed in Yosemite in winter.

HOST TRAVEL Park: We heard you have compiled a new guide to National Parks. Could you tell us about it?

TCHalbert: Yes, we hope everyone likes it and gives it a look We tried to make it personal so there are a lot of must sees it is loose leaf so you can keep it up as things change you can keep track of your park visits. There is weather information.

Naseby: It also contains names of campgrounds and hotels, tour services, etc. It is loose leaf so you can take just one park with you in a plastic sleeve.

HOST TRAVEL Park: What's it called and where it is sold?

TCHalbert: We tried to make it useful. Expedition America, it will be in book stores soon and you can get it at NPT.

Parkslands: Are there other areas that should be established or upgraded as National Parks?

TCHalbert: Yes, many Custer State Park is wonderful

Parkslands: Any priorities?

NPTWRO: Are you planning another trip?

TCHalbert: Yes next weekend. We are going to a new park.

Naseby: Always!

TCHalbert: Great Sand Dunes National Park

HOST TRAVEL Park: Where did you spend nights when traveling?

TCHalbert: Park lodges, and in our VW

BNTO 49ST8S: what about Monument Valley? Lake Powell area?

TCHalbert: Love it. We live near by have been several times.

Naseby: Especially awesome during a storm.

BNTO 49ST8S: future np scenery.

TCHalbert: The Indians love it to it is there home

Parkslands: Have you been to any of the new National Monuments?

TCHalbert: Yes, many along the way.

Naseby: do you have specific ones in mind ?

HOST TRAVEL Park: What was your most favorite activity when visiting a National Park?

TCHalbert: Many visitor centers were wonderful, good information, places we enjoyed playing with the rangers. We often looked for small facts and stories people watching, walking and talking to visitors.

Naseby: Always meeting and visiting with people.

HOST TRAVEL Park: What would you say to the statement "National Parks are the best idea America had"?

TCHalbert: Wonderful. It is good to see other countries with NPs. A GREAT export!

Naseby: Many other countries are imitating - have been to Norway and Nepal's.

HOST TRAVEL Park: You have any interesting incidents while visiting National Parks you would like to share with us?

TCHalbert: There are so many. We enjoyed all the parks. The winter snows in Yosemite. and the folks in Samoa The National Park of American Samoa is wonderful. We were one of a few to visit. And it does rain there.

Naseby: The BEAR and many small plane rides in Alaska, too many to name

TCHalbert: We almost had a plane crash in Alaska exciting, ran out of gas.

HOST TRAVEL Park: Terry, what kind of work you do these days?

TCHalbert: I am a Boy Scout Executive in northern New Mexico, the 4 corners area.

Nizlady: Were you staying in each of the parks you visited such as campground hosts for a summer? or visiting as travelers? We were visiting as travelers.

TCHalbert: From one to several nights in each park, stayed in many of the old lodges. They are national treasures. We loved them. They are part of the park experience.

NPTWRO: Would you recommend this sort of expedition to others? It has always been a dream of mine.

Naseby: YES

TCHalbert: Yes, just do it we would love to go again.

Naseby: An experience of a lifetime!

Parkslands: What is the current status of the Valles Caldera? Should it be A NP?

TCHalbert: I do not know. Are you speaking of Baca?

Parkslands: Have you been to Hanford Reach NM? Yes, Baca in NM.

Naseby: Terry we must go again - there is still so much to see.

TCHalbert: We were just at Baca Ranch and it is something. It has been set aside as a national trust. 

BNTO 49ST8S: If a person has not seen any parks which one would you suggest?

TCHalbert: The one nearest their home. They are all exciting and GREAT. Be sure to see the visitor center for information. And an orientation the rangers are helpful.

Naseby: My suggestion is to pick one easy to get to from their home - just get started - you'll be hooked.

HOST TRAVEL Park: Terry and Stevie, Paul Pritchard wanted me to give you his regards and had hoped to join us

Naseby: Our best to him.

TCHalbert: We have enjoyed Paul.

HOST TRAVEL Park: What State of the Union has the most National Parks?

TCHalbert: Alaska and Utah, there are more in the west. We have been very lucky to live so near Utah's.

HOST TRAVEL Park: That's why NPT has Barbara covering the West!

TCHalbert: Barbara, you have a big job. We should meet.

NPTWRO: Indeed but love it! 

HOST TRAVEL Park: What's your favorite quote about our national parks?

TCHalbert: There are so many TR is good for parks. He wrote one about the Uncommon Man.

Parkslands: Have you been to Grand Staircase? Are more facilities needed?

TCHalbert: Yes, we went through there on Memorial Day. Sounds like some would like to go backwards there. We heard of several town meetings none seemed productive for the park.

HOST TRAVEL Park: What do you think of Entrance Fees to National Parks?

TCHalbert: Great, we as Americans value what we pay for

Naseby: A real bargain - in Norway it costs 30 us dollars to get into the visitor center

TCHalbert: No one complains about the $50 to go to Disney. The money can be put to good use; the Park Pass is cheap and a great value.

HOST TRAVEL Park: National Parks Pass is a real bargain $50 for a carload for a year

TCHalbert: Where else can you get this kind of value?

Naseby: Less than the cost of a day at Disney for one.

PHorstrans: Does the admission generally pay for the cost of maintaining the parks?

TCHalbert: Some does, and some goes to the US Treasury.

HOST TRAVEL Park: NPTWRO, could you tell us about National Park Trust and how it helps America's Parks?

NPTWRO: We assist the NPS acquire threatened properties within the boundaries of parks to prevent them from development We refer to these as inholdings. There are millions of acres.

HOST TRAVEL Park: Acquire by paying a fair market price to a willing seller?

NPTWRO: Yes. We only work with willing sellers

rw28jl52: Are you familiar with Canaveral National Seashore and how the homes there were given a 25 year lease?

TCHalbert: Yes this has been done at these areas.

rw28jl52: It is kind of sad to see homes abandoned though.

TCHalbert: Yes, Pt. Reyes is doing the same.

HOST TRAVEL Park: what happened there?

Nizlady: My Grandfather and Father ran lighthouses on the CA coast.

TCHalbert: Great, did you spend time there?

PHorstrans: What has been the largest donation as far as land to NPT?

NPTWRO: We have several programs, one is called Property for Parks where people can donate land to NPT and when we sell it we use the proceeds to assist National Parks.

NPTWRO: We have had a million dollar donation towards our Tallgrass project...but the need is great - visit us at

HOST TRAVEL Park: Terry, you have traveled to foreign National Parks? How would you describe or compare them with America's National Parks?

TCHalbert: Yes, we went to Norway where the entrance fee to the visitor center was $40.00 We have also traveled to three NPs in Nepal and are planning a trip to Panama All to national parks 

HOST TRAVEL Park: When you traveled to all US National Parks, did you receive any grants?

TCHalbert: We had some help but no grants. We have been lucky.

Naseby: In Nepal the rangers carry machine guns and every ID is checked.

NPTWRO: Have you been to China's NP's?

TCHalbert: Not yet. I guess Paul is the authority on them. I understand NPT is taking tours.

HOST TRAVEL Park: What would be one thing that stood out again and again during your journey?

TCHalbert: The wonderful people. They are at their best in the parks.

HOST TRAVEL Park: Individually and collectively.

Naseby: What a great country this is and continues to be.

TCHalbert: We are lucky to have so many wonderful places in our country America the Beautiful.

Naseby: Remember the parks belong to ALL of us.

HOST TRAVEL Park: How much expense did you incur during your expedition?

TCHalbert: $70,000 plus.

Naseby: Too much but worth every penny.

TCHalbert: We would do it again.

HOST TRAVEL Park: Wonderful! Our special thanks to Terry and Stevie Halbert for being our guests and talking to us about America's National Parks.

TCHalbert: Thanks to all, visit our parks and appreciate them.

HOST TRAVEL Park: Hope you can join us again some time!

TCHalbert: Always.

HOST TRAVEL Park: Wish you good luck in your future endeavors.

Nizlady: Thanks for being here to share your travels with us!

Naseby: Our pleasure.

PHorstrans: Thank you. Always enjoy coming to this chat

HOST TRAVEL Park: Thanks every one for joining us tonight

NPTWRO: God Bless America!!!!

HOST TRAVEL Park: Good night and God Bless!


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