US Stamps

By Michael Baadke

Fourteen of 16 U.S. National Parks stamp designs have been revealed

April 21, 2016 12:12 PM

  • Kevin Ebi’s photograph from Haleakala National Park in Hawaii appears on a forever stamp that will be issued June 2 in the National Parks set of 16.
  • A sacred lotus aquatic plant is featured on a forever stamp commemorating Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C. The stamp will be issued June 2 in the National Parks set of 16.
  • An Albert Bierstadt painting showing a scene from the Grand Tetons hangs in the mansion at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Vermont. The painting will appear on one of the National Parks stamps in June.
  • Star trails are captured on this dramatic photograph for the Mount Rainier National Park stamp.
  • Two ships from the park fleet are featured on a forever stamp to honor San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in California.

By Michael Baadke

United States stamp designs honoring five national parks were revealed during mid-April.

The parks that are newly featured are Haleakala National Park in Hawaii; Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C.; Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Vermont; Mount Rainier National Park in Washington; and San Francisco Maritime Historical Park in California.

Over the course of three weeks, the U.S. Postal Service has revealed 14 designs of the 16 National Parks stamps that will be issued June 2.

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The 16-stamp set will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the National Park Service. The stamps will be issued at the Javits Center in New York City with a first-day ceremony at World Stamp Show-NY 2016.

According to the Postal Service, dedication ceremonies will also take place at or near each of the parks depicted on the stamps.

Stories published on page 1 of the April 25 Linn’s and page 1 of the May 2 issue described and pictured the first nine designs revealed, which celebrate Acadia National Park, Arches National Park, Assateague Island National Seashore, Bandelier National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Everglades National Park, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Grand Canyon National Park, and Gulf Islands National Seashore.

Haleakala National Park

A forever stamp picturing a rainbow across the volcanic landscape of Haleakala National Park on the Hawaiian island of Maui will be part of the National Parks set.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Haleakala National Park, which was established as part of Hawaii National Park in 1916.

The park today is described by the National Park Service as an international biosphere reserve that supports native ecosystems in a maturing volcanic landscape. The park covers 30,183 acres of public land that ranges from sea level to 10,023 feet above.

The Haleakala (or East Maui) volcano on the island is dormant.

The photograph by Kevin Ebi, which he titled Rainbow on Haleakala, was shot during a break in a dramatic storm that soaked the nature photographer and pelted him with hail.

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens

Another stamp commemorates the 700-acre Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C.

The area was developed by Walter Shaw on land he purchased in the 1880s, in an effort to recreate some of the familiar surroundings of his native Maine. Congress purchased the land in 1938 to add it to Anacostia Park.

Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens includes a boardwalk through the aquatic gardens and fields of water lilies. The park includes birds and other wildlife, recreation areas, and more.

The stamp photograph of an aquatic plant called sacred lotus was taken at the park by Cindy Dyer, whose photographs of water lilies previously appeared on four forever stamps issued March 20, 2015 (Scott 4964-4967). Those water lily images were also photographed at Kenilworth Park.

Dyer also created the five photographs that appeared on the 49¢ Ferns coil stamps issued Jan. 27, 2014 (Scott 4848-4852). The same designs were used to create forever coil stamps issued March 6, 2014 (Scott 4874-4878), and Ferns coil stamps issued March 27, 2015 (4973-77).

Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park

A stamp representing Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Vermont will show a detail of an Albert Bierstadt landscape painting that is “linked to the Conservation Movement that supported interest in creating the National Park System,” according to the USPS.

“This stamp exemplifies how our national park treasures extend beyond stunning vistas, wildlife, flora and fauna,” said Stephanie Toothman, Associate Director, Cultural Resources, Partnerships, and Science, National Park Service.

“Albert Bierstadt’s painting represents the convergence of artistic, literary and political attention toward America’s scenic beauty in the 19th century, which helped establish conservation as a national value and laid the foundation for the first national parks a century ago.”

Instead of picturing a scene from the Vermont park, the stamp shows a detail of Bierstadt’s painting, known today as Scenery in the Grand Tetons.

The Grand Teton mountain range is in Wyoming along the Idaho border, today part of Grand Teton National Park.

The painting, however, was acquired by Laurance Rockefeller in the 1960s and now hangs in the study in the Marsh-Billings Rockefeller Mansion.

The Vermont park includes the mansion, surrounding property, and a 550-acre forest. It was created in 1992 as a gift to the American people from Laurence Rockefeller (1910-2004) and his wife Mary Rockefeller (1910-97), according to the National Park Service. It is named for the Rockefellers, and for two earlier owners: author and conservationist George Perkins Marsh (1801-82), and railroad entrepreneur Frederick Billings (1823-90), who purchased the property from Marsh and maintained his tradition of conservation.

Bierstadt’s artwork appeared previously on a 32¢ stamp in the Four Centuries of American Art set in 1998 (Scott 3236m), and on a 42¢ stamp in the American Treasures series in 2008 (4346).

Mount Rainier National Park

The forever stamp commemorating Mount Rainier National Park in the state of Washington will show what the U.S. Postal Service is describing as a “star trail photo merged from 200 images” by photographer Matt Dieterich of Pittsburgh, Pa.

On his website, Dieterich provides a date for the photo of June 22, 2015, and describes it as showing “star trails and pink aurora over Mount Rainier.”

Mount Rainier National Park is even older than the National Park Service. Established by an Act of Congress in 1899, today it encompasses 236,381.49 acres, according to National Park Service statistics, with more than 260 miles of maintained trails.

Its centerpiece is the 14,410-foot-high volcano Mount Rainier, which last erupted about 1,000 years ago. The volcano is described as episodically active.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

The stamp design for San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in California uses part of a photograph by Tim Campbell that pictures the 1886 301-foot square-rigger Balcutha in the foreground and the 1907 151-foot steam tugboat Hercules in the background.

The two craft are part of the fleet of eight historic vessels moored at Hyde Street Pier.

The park, located near San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf waterfront neighborhood, also includes Aquatic Park cove and beach, a maritime museum in the Aquatic Park Bathhouse building, a maritime research center, and a visitor center.