[IMAGE]Grand-Canyon-full.jpg[/IMAGE]Amtrak introduced a new Website designed to show travelers how convenient it is to travel by train to visit the country’s national parks. With the theme “Parks in Your Backyard,” Amtraktoparks.com allows users to see the nearest Amtrak route to featured national park sites, each of which can be reached using public transportation from an Amtrak station.
Amtraktoparks.com offers a trip wizard, which allows users to customize their search
based on geographic location and personal interests — Monuments/Memorials, Revolutionary History or Water Activities to name a few. Information on accommodations such camping sites and hotels is also provided. Once the user selects a national park, information on the park, as well as which Amtrak route provides service to that park, is shown.
The site provides a direct link to Amtrak.com, allowing users to book rail travel. Initially, the featured national parks include Glacier, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Everglades, Sequoia & Kings Canyon, Rocky Mountain, and 50 others located along the Northeast Corridor and in the nation’s capital. These parks were selected due to their proximity to an Amtrak route. There are plans to add more national parks to the site.
Eight routes are currently highlighted on the site. They are Acela Express (Washington – New York – Boston); Northeast Regional (Virginia Beach – Richmond – Washington – New York – Boston); Silver Service (New York – Miami); Palmetto (New York – Savannah); Empire Builder (Chicago – St. Paul – Portland/Seattle); San Joaquins (Bakersfield - Sacramento – Oakland); California Zephyr (Chicago – Denver – San Francisco Bay Area) and Southwest Chief (Chicago – Albuquerque – Los Angeles).
“This new Website brings together two of America’s favorite pastimes — traveling by train and visiting national parks,” said Emmett Fremaux, Amtrak’s vice president of marketing and product development. “With more than 500 Amtrak stops in 46 states and the District of Columbia, a national park is as close as your backyard.”
“Passenger rail and national parks have rolled through history in tandem since the 1880s,” said Dean Reeder, national tourism director of the National Park Service. “By facilitating visitor access to the many wondrous experiences available in many of our nation’s parks, Amtrak helps us advance the values of sustainable tourism.”
In addition to the highlighted Amtrak routes, seven other routes are also included so users may see other Amtrak routes that offer service to stations near national parks. Those routes are the Capitol Limited (Washington – Pittsburgh – Chicago), City of New Orleans (Chicago – Memphis – New Orleans), Coast Starlight (Seattle – Portland – Los Angeles), Crescent (New York – Washington – Atlanta – New Orleans), Lake Shore Limited (New York/Boston – Albany – Chicago), Texas Eagle (Chicago – St. Louis – Dallas – Los Angeles), and Sunset Limited (New Orleans – Houston – Los Angeles).
Under the "Find a Park" function, users may view a complete list of national parks that are accessible by train. Another link provides details on special fares and Amtrak Vacations packages which include rail travel, hotel accommodations and tour tickets.