Cowpens National Battlefield

Audio Available:

OVERVIEW: About this audio-described brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of Cowpens National Battlefield's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that Cowpens visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about 30 minutes, which is approximately how long the Battle of Cowpens lasted.  We have divided this audio description into 25 sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections 1 through 9 cover the front of the brochure and include information regarding the Battle that took place here, as well as a basic timeline of the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution. Sections 10 through 25 cover the back of the brochure which consists of a map of the park grounds, the cultural and natural resources of Cowpens, and information about visiting the park.

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OVERVIEW: Cowpens National Battlefield

Cowpens National Battlefield, located in South Carolina, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The eight hundred and forty two acre park is situated forty-five miles north of Greenville, South Carolina and sixty-two miles east of Charlotte, North Carolina. This park, established in 1929, provides for over two hundred thousand visitors a year, who come to enjoy the unique experiences that only can be had at Cowpens National Battlefield. We invite you to explore the park's battlefield landscape, hear the stories of the men who fought and died on these hallowed grounds, and listen for the sounds of muskets during special events at the park. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.



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Section 1: OVERVIEW: Front side of brochure

The front side of this brochure is comprised of a painting depicting the battle, three battlefield tactic maps, one region overview map, two color portraits, images of two artifacts, and text for all of these features. The painting is the top two-thirds of the page, with the other elements and most of the text listed on the bottom section. 

The text sections provide many descriptive details about the Battle of Cowpens as well as a basic timeline of the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution. 

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Section 2: IMAGE and TEXT: "The Battle of Cowpens"

DESCRIPTION:

“The Battle of Cowpens” is a painting by Don Troiani and depicts the Patriot forces breaking through the British battle line at the Battle of Cowpens. Men in blue coats with red trim are depicted charging in, bayonets on muskets, from the right side of the image and plowing through and over men in red coats with white trim. At the center of the image is a Patriot officer on horseback with his sword raised as he prepares to strike down a British soldier. The horse is light gray and his eyes and mouth are wide with terror. On the ground beneath and near the horse's feet are fallen British soldiers. In the left foreground is a young boy, a British drummer in uniform, retreating while looking back at the battle scene.


CAPTION:

At the brief, fierce Battle of Cowpens in January 1781, Brigadier General Daniel Morgan’s seasoned Continentals and Southern militia defeated the formidable British Legion and set the stage for American victory.


CREDIT:

Illustration by Don Troiani.

QUOTE: "On this ground I will beat Benny Tarleton or I will lay my bones" — Daniel Morgan, 1781.


RELATED TEXT:

Gen. Daniel Morgan’s army posed an ever-increasing threat to Loyalist outposts in the South Carolina backcountry. Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton’s British forces were in pursuit. Early on January 16, 1781, as the American camp on Thicketty Creek readied for the day, scouts brought news that Tarleton was approaching. Through cold rain, Morgan marched his troops northwest along the Green River Road to a wooded cow pasture. Before dawn the next morning, anticipating that Tarleton would attack head-on from the southeast, Morgan formed his men into three lines concealed behind low hills.


In the early morning of January 17, Tarleton’s cavalry advanced. American sharpshooters on the front line fired a few rounds before dropping back. As the British Army came within range, Col. Andrew Pickens’s militia took out two-thirds of their officers before withdrawing to the Continental line. British dragoons pursued, but Lt. Col. William Washington’s cavalry drove them back while American lines re-formed.

The British surged onto Lt. Col. John Eager Howard’s line of Continentals and Virginia militia. Just as Tarleton’s Highlanders threatened to outflank the American right, Howard called out to his right flank to fall back and form a new front, an order they misunderstood as “retreat.” As the British pursued the Americans, Morgan rode up and rallied the Continentals on new ground. They faced about, fi red pointblank at the closing redcoats, then plunged into their broken ranks wielding bayonets.

Meanwhile, Washington’s cavalry entered the fray, while on the British left, Pickens’s militia opened fire on the dragoons and Highlanders—completing the double envelopment maneuver that secured Morgan’s reputation as a master tactician. Trapped, the British ranks dissolved into chaos. A few dragoons rallied, but they soon followed Tarleton and the British Legion cavalry in a withdrawal from the battlefield.

The battle was over in less than half an hour, with British losses far outnumbering American. After Cowpens, the British continued to chase Morgan farther into the backcountry—and away from their own supplies. The battle for allegiance, which turned toward the patriot cause at Kings Mountain, was won with the improbable victory at Cowpens.

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Section 3: MAP: Overview of the region

DESCRIPTION:

The purpose of this southern region map is to provide overview location points of major battle sites within the southern colonies, now states, of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Virginia has the battles of Petersburg and Yorktown labeled, as well as the city of Richmond. North Carolina has the battle of Guilford Courthouse labeled, as well as the cities of Hillsborough and Wilmington. South Carolina has the battles of Cowpens, Kings Mountain, Camden (also known as Hobkirk's Hill), Ninety Six, Eutaw Springs, and Charleston labeled, as well as the site of Fort Granby. Also labeled in the map is the colony, now state, of Georgia with both August and Savannah labeled as well. The map is at a 100 mile per inch scale.


CREDIT:

NPS

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Section 4: MAPS: Battlefield tactics maps

MAP 1 of 3: The battle's beginning 

DESCRIPTION:

The purpose of this map is to show the troop movements at the beginning of the battle. It shows the three parallel, dashed blue Patriot lines, representing Washington's Cavalry, Howard's Continentals, and Picken's Militia, set behind multiple blue dots representing sharpshooters. Blue arrows indicate that the sharpshooters eventually retreated back to Picken's Militia line. There are also three parallel, dashed red British lines positioned opposite of the blue Patriot lines, with one large line representing Tarleton's Main Line and Dragoons, and two smaller lines representing the Highlanders and the Legion Cavalry. Red arrows indicate the British lines advanced forward to the Patriot troops. A gray line representing the Green River Road runs through the battle intersecting all troop lines.


CREDIT:

NPS


MAP 2 of 3: The battle's middle 

DESCRIPTION:

The purpose of this map is to show the troop movements in the middle of the battle. It shows the three parallel, dashed blue Patriot lines, representing Washington's Cavalry, Howard's Continentals, and Picken's Militia. Blue arrows indicate that Pickens Militia retreated back to Howard's Continental line and Washington's Cavalry moved to the Patriot's left flank. There are also three parallel, dashed red British lines positioned opposite of the blue Patriot lines, one large line representing Tartleton's Main Line and dragoons, and two smaller lines representing the Highlanders and the Legion Cavalry. Red arrows indicate that Tarleton's Main Line and the Legion Cavalry advanced forward towards the Patriots, while the Highlanders advanced to the left of Tarleton's Main Line and specifically towards Picken's Militia. Another red arrow indicates that Tarleton's Dragoons advanced to meet Washington's Cavalry but then retreated. A gray line representing the Green River Road runs through the battle intersecting all troop lines.

CREDIT:

NPS


MAP 3 of 3: The battle's end 

DESCRIPTION:

The purpose of this map is to show the troop movements at the end of the battle. It shows the three dashed blue Patriot lines. One is a small line representing Washington's Cavalry, one is a large line representing Howard's Continentals, and one is a small line representing Picken's Militia. Blue, curved arrows indicate that Howard's Continentals tried to retreat but then regrouped to stand against Tarleton's Main Line. Another blue arrow indicates that Washington's Cavalry attacked the right flank of Tarleton's Main Line and then chased after Tarleton's Dragoons and the Legion Cavalry. 

There are now four roughly parallel, dashed red British lines positioned opposite of the blue Patriot lines. One is a large line representing Tartleton's Main Line, and three are smaller lines representing the Dragoons, the Highlanders, and the Legion Cavalry. The Highlanders' line is positioned directly parallel and next to Picken's Militia's line, and red arrows indicate that the Dragoons and Legion Cavalry retreated away from the battle.A gray line representing the Green River Road runs through the battle intersecting all troop lines.

CREDIT:

NPS

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Section 5: IMAGE and TEXT: Virginia frontiersman Daniel Morgan

DESCRIPTION:

This image shows a painted portrait of Daniel Morgan showing only his head and neck against a dark gray background. He is an older white male with straight light gray and white ear-length hair and a high forehead, looking slightly off to the right of the image. He has small eyes, rosy cheeks, a large nose, and a pursed mouth. He also has a small, straight vertical scar running from his left nostril to his upper lip. Under his double chin, he has a high-collared white shirt tied with a black cravat (or tie), and a yellow, collared heavyweight coat.

CAPTION:

Virginia frontiersman Daniel Morgan (1736–1802) served in the British Army as a “waggoneer”— teamster — during the French and Indian War. In the Revolutionary War, he fought the British at Quebec in 1775 and Saratoga in 1777, earning respect as a leader and strategist. At age 45, now a brigadier general, he took command of about half the Continental forces in the Southern Campaign. After Morgan left the army in February 1781 due to illness, Greene remarked: “Great generals are scarce—there are few Morgans to be found.”


CREDIT:

Independence NHP



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Section 6: IMAGE and TEXT: Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton

DESCRIPTION:

This image shows a painted portrait of Banastre Tarleton showing only his head and neck against a dusty yellow background. He is an young white male with brown hair, looking to the left of the image so as to see mostly the left side of his face. He is wearing a domed riding hat with a small brim on the front and a large black feather plum on top of it, and the hat is tilted slightly over the right side of his face, which puts that side mostly in shadow. He has large eyes, a sharp pointed nose, and full lips. He is wearing a high-collared white shirt tied with a white cravat (or tie), and a dark, collared coat.


CAPTION:

Banastre Tarleton was, by all accounts, brilliant and ruthless in battle. He was born in Liverpool, England, in 1754 into a wealthy merchant family. He purchased his commission in the British Army and at 21 became a cavalry officer in the King’s Dragoons. He volunteered for the American war, serving with distinction in the north. In his mid-20s Tarleton took command of the British Legion, a mobile force of cavalry and infantry. Even long after the war, American writers vilified him as “Bloody Tarleton.”


CREDIT:

National Portrait Gallery

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Section 7: The American Revolution turns south

After years of fighting, the Revolutionary War is at a stalemate. In 1778 the British launch an effort to regain control of the southern colonies, capturing Savannah, GA. With the May 1780 surrender of Charleston, SC, the British army under General Cornwallis is poised to sweep inland through the Carolinas to Virginia.


Important dates:

1780, Aug. 16

In a major defeat for the Americans, General Horatio Gates fails to stop Cornwallis at Camden, SC.


Oct. 7

Overmountain men from west of the Appalachians help turn the tide and secure patriot victory at King’s Mountain, SC; battle lasts 65 minutes.


Oct. 14

Commander-in-Chief George Washington names Gen. Nathanael Greene commander of the Southern Army.


1781, Jan. 17

Morgan and Tarleton clash at Cowpens, SC. Patriots win crucial victory.


March 1

Articles of Confederation adopted after years’ long ratification process.


March 15

Cornwallis drives Greene from battlefield at Guilford Courthouse, NC. British win is costly: because of heavy losses, Cornwallis retreats to Wilmington, NC.


Apr. 25

Greene defeated at Hobkirk’s Hill in SC.


May 15

British Major Andrew Maxwell cedes Fort Granby, SC, to Lt. Col. Henry Lee’s force.


May 22–June 19

Greene lays siege to British outpost at Ninety Six, SC. British repel American assault on June 18, but soon evacuate and burn the post.


Sept. 8

Battle at Eutaw Springs, SC, ends in a draw. British retreat to Charleston.


Sept. 15

French fleet drives British navy from Chesapeake Bay


Oct. 19

Surrounded on land and sea by Americans and French, Cornwallis surrenders British army at Yorktown, VA.


After Yorktown, the British evacuate Savannah in July 1782 and Charleston in December. On Sept. 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris officially ends the war. The last British troops sail out of New York Harbor in November.

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Section 8: IMAGE: Tin canteen used by British regulars

DESCRIPTION:

This image is of a cylindrical tin canteen, standing vertically, that is brass in color. It has one large dent towards to the top with several smaller dents below it. There are also two brackets on the left side, one towards the top and one towards the bottom, that would have been used to attach a shoulder strap to carry the canteen.


CAPTION:

Tin canteen used by British regulars.


CREDIT:

NPS.

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Section 9: IMAGE: Leather cartridge box and cartridges used by Americans

DESCRIPTION:

This image is of a leather cartridge box that was used by American forces during the American Revolution. It is made of a stiff, dark-colored leather. The square-shaped bag is attached to a fabric shoulder strap. A block of wood on the inside, just the top of which can be seen in this open bag, has two purposes. For one, it helps the box to maintain its shape. The wood block also has cylindrical holes drilled evenly into two rows, into which the cartridge rounds can be stuffed. Sticking out of this cartridge box are three cartridge rounds. Those rounds are tubes of paper, twisted at the end, sticking up. They each hold black powder and a musket ball. These cartridges were used to load and fire muskets during the Revolutionary War.


CAPTION:

Leather cartridge box and cartridges used by Americans


CREDIT:

NPS

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Section 10: OVERVIEW: Back side of brochure

The back of the brochure has a row of five images at the top, a map of the park grounds in the middle on the left hand side, text about the park in the middle on the right hand side, and the bottom portion of the brochure shows a photo of the Green River Road, the battlefield, and several features of wildlife as well as corresponding text.

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Section 11: IMAGES: Exploring Cowpens Battlefield

IMAGE 1 of 5:

DESCRIPTION:

This is a black and white photo of a group of 14 men and women in 1930s-era clothing. There are four flags among them. One is the US Flag, one is the South Carolina state flag, one is a Daughters of the American Revolution flag, and the fourth one cannot be determined. They are standing on light colored gravel in a grassy field and there is a large tree in the background on the right hand side. A large wreath of flowers sits in the foreground just right of the center of the image.

CAPTION:

Groundbreaking for the US Monument, 1932

CREDIT:

NPS


IMAGE 2 of 5:

DESCRIPTION:

This color photo shows a narrow worn hiking trail weaving its way through a grove of trees. Green vegetation lines both sides of the trail.

CAPTION:

Cowpens Nature Trail

CREDIT:

NPS


IMAGE 3 of 5:

DESCRIPTION:

This color photo shows three Patriot cavalry reenactors on horseback standing between two trees on a cold morning. The horse on the left is a gray horse whose warm breath is visible because of the cold air. The other two horses are dark brown. Each rider is wearing light colored linen coats and two are wearing tri corner hats. The third rider has no hat. In the background are a grove of bare trees.

CAPTION:

Patriot cavalry reenactors

CREDIT:

Steve Mitchell


IMAGE 4 of 5:

DESCRIPTION:

In the foreground of this color photo is the Robert Scruggs House on a bright, clear, sunny day. The house is a single room log cabin with a simple front porch with no railing and a small set up steps leading up onto the porch. The roof is covered in wooden shingles and a red brick chimney sticks up above the roof on the end furthest from view. In the background is a grove of trees full of green leaves. 

CAPTION:

Robert Scruggs House

CREDIT:

NPS


IMAGE 5 of 5:

DESCRIPTION:

This color photo is of two bicycle riders from a distance on the two lane tour road on a bright day in summer. The road is lined with a variety of trees with full leaves of green and there is a several foot wide grassy shoulder on either side of the road. The sky above them is bright blue with fluffy white clouds.

CAPTION:

Auto Loop Road

CREDIT:

NPS

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Section 12: MAP: Cowpens National Battlefield

DESCRIPTION:

Taking up most of the left side of the back of the brochure is a map of the entire park, including the main entrance, Visitor Center, tour road, picnic area, hiking and walking trails, pull off and parking areas along the tour road, park headquarters, and trail head parking lot. The map is oriented north-south. On the left, or west, side of the map, the park is bordered by US Route one-ten and on the upper, or north, side of the map, the park is bordered by US Route eleven. 


The park boundary is indicated by a solid black line, with the entrance located off US Route eleven. The entrance to the park is located in the upper right corner of the map and northern section of the park. The entrance road leads directly to the main parking lot and Visitor Center, then connects to the one-way tour road. The tour road serpentines in a loop around the majority of the park and ends near the park entrance. 

At the bottom of the map is a key to identify roads and trails.

CREDIT:

NPS

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Section 13: TEXT: Plan your visit

Cowpens National Battlefield is open daily from dawn to dusk. You can park at the visitor center from 9 am to 5 pm. At other times use the Trailhead parking lot.


Stop first at the visitor center for information, a fiber-optic map of the battle and the Southern Campaign, a short movie, and a museum featuring Revolutionary War weapons and uniforms. Open daily; closed on some federal holidays.

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Section 14: TEXT: Picnic area

Find picnic tables, grills, and restrooms at this shaded area. For group events, you can reserve the covered picnic shelter; contact the visitor center staff for permit and fee information. The loop road and picnic area close at 4:30 pm.

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Section 15: TEXT: Accessibility

We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all; call or check our website.


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Section 16: TEXT: Stay safe, protect the park

Federal law protects all natural and cultural features in the park. Metal detecting and digging for artifacts are prohibited, as is climbing on the monuments. • Bicyclists are allowed only on the loop road and parking lots and must wear helmets and observe traffic laws. • Pets must be on leashes 6 feet or shorter and are not allowed in buildings. • For a full list of regulations, including firearms information, check our website.

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Section 17: IMAGE: The Washington Light Infantry

DESCRIPTION:

This image show the Washington Light Infantry Monument from a short distance, approx. 30 feet away. It is a foggy winter morning and the numerous trees in the foreground and background are bare of leaves and their branches seem to fade into the fog towards the upper part of the image. 


CAPTION:

The Washington Light Infantry, a Charleston militia organization, erected this monument in 1856 for the battle’s 75th anniversary. 


CREDIT:

NPS

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Section 18: TEXT: Explore the Battlefield and Beyond

This label covers several of the items below.
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Section 19: TEXT: Park Loop Road

Park Loop Road: This 3.8-mile road follows the perimeter of the battlefield. Don’t miss the audio tour, narrated by noted historian Ed Bearss, downloadable from the park website. Pullouts have wayside exhibits and short trails to the battlefield. Stop at the Robert Scruggs House, an early-1800s log cabin typical of frontier dwellings.


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Section 20: TEXT: Battlefield Trail

Battlefield Trail: A 1.25-mile self-guiding battlefield tour begins and ends at the visitor center. The trail includes the Green River Road along which the battle was fought—one of the few remaining stretches of the original road. Check at the visitor center for guided tour schedules. The park website has a video tour, also by Ed Bearss.

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Section 21: TEXT: Learn more about the Southern Campaign

In 1778 the British turned toward the southern colonies in an effort to control valuable resources and secure loyalist support for a military push back into the north. The Americans, led by Gen. Nathanael Greene, mounted the Southern Campaign to ignite the patriot spirit and turn the tide against the British.


Several National Park Service sites commemorate the people and places crucial to the Southern Campaign’s success.


Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail follows the route of the backcountry militia men from Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and the Carolinas in October 1780 to what is now Kings Mountain National Military Park. Neighbor against neighbor and brother against brother, this patriot victory thwarted British efforts to move north.


Four months later the battle of Cowpens gave the Continental Army a strategic victory and dealt the British another morale-crushing defeat. Although the battle at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park in March 1781 was technically a loss for the Americans, the British never recovered from heavy casualties here. In May and June, Greene lay siege to the British outpost at Ninety Six National Historic Site, forcing a British retreat to Charleston, SC. Emboldened, the  Americans pushed on to victory at Yorktown in October.


The Southern Campaign may be a lost chapter in the story of American independence, but these events solidified the young nation’s patriot spirit and helped win the war.


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Section 22: IMAGE and TEXT: Take a walk in the woods

DESCRIPTION:

This image of the dwarf flower heartleaf shows an up close shot of a dozen green leaves of this plant, which are in the shape of a heart.

CAPTION:

Dwarf flower heartleaf. 

CREDIT:

NPS


RELATED TEXT:

The park’s 2-mile Nature Trail leads you through varied habitat—from floodplain to forest—typical of the South Carolina upcountry. Sycamores, hollies, hickories, cedars, and 12 species of oak shade the trail. Look carefully on the forest floor for fan clubmoss and dwarf flower heartleaf, a threatened species. Of the 500-plus plant species in the park, most are native.

Morning and evening are the best times to spot wild turkeys, white-tailed deer browsing on tender underbrush, and cottontail rabbits and gray squirrels scurrying for cover at the sound of your footsteps. As you cross the footbridges, look for turtles sunning on rocks, as well as frogs, salamanders, and perhaps snakes.

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Section 23: IMAGE: Northern bobwhite quail, a forager in open grasslands

DESCRIPTION:

The image shows a northern bobwhite quail sitting on top of a fence post, which is just visible in the frame. The bird has the chunky, rounded shape of a quail with a short, curved and brown black color beak. The bird's overall plumage is gray-brown mottling on the wings and white scalloped stripes on the flanks. Its white throat and brow stripe bordered by black indicate that the bird in the image is a male. 

CAPTION:

Northern bobwhite quail, a forager in open grasslands

CREDIT:

NPS

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Section 24: IMAGE: Green River Road and Cowpens Battlefield

DESCRIPTION:

The lower quarter of this side of the brochure is an image of the Green River Road and the battlefield in fall. The wide, tan,  gravel road takes up the left hand side of the image. The right hand side of the image shows an open field with tall brown grass and dotted with trees in fall foliage.

CAPTION:

Green River Road and Cowpens Battlefield

CREDIT:

NPS


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Section 25: OVERVIEW: More information

Cowpens National Battlefield is one of more than 400 areas in the National Park System. To learn more visit, www.nps.gov.


Physical ADDRESS:

Cowpens National Battlefield

338 New Pleasant Road

Gaffney, SC 29341


PHONE: 864-461-2828

EMERGENCIES CALL 911


WEB SITE:

www.nps.gov/cowp


OTHER INFORMATION:

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.


National Park Foundation.

Join the park community, www.nationalparks.org.

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