The National Park Madness sweet sixteen are set. Many of the favorites continued their march toward the final four. However, we saw our first of the big four go down.
In the East, the Washington Monument's height proved too much for Acadia and the GW monolith moved on to the next round. Arches continued its deep run into the tournament with outstanding shooting beyond the three point arch, upsetting its Utah brethren for its spot among the 16 best. Glacier found itself in a big hole early in its battle with the Grand Canyon, but in the second half was able to dig its way out. In the South, a monster match up of two gulf coast parks will go at it. While in the West, Death Valley was hot early, but Olympic's shooting rained down in the second half, moving the triple threat park (beaches, mountains, and forests) onto the next round. Yosemite continues its climb toward the finals, but Denali, Olympic, and Lassen hope to knock the Granite gamers off their perch.
Sean Smith is a former Yellowstone Ranger, and an award winning conservationist, TEDx speaker, and author. He writes national park thrillers from his home in the shadow of Mount Rainier National Park. To learn more about his conservation work and novels, follow him on twitter: @parkthrillers