Yellowstone National Park
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Today, it might seem easy to take the national parks in America for granted. They have existed since... forever? Wrong! The first official national park (Yellowstone in Montana and Wyoming) was declared "a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people" by Congress in 1872. Our national parks are run by the National Park Service (NPS), which is part of the Department of the Interior. The establishment of Yellowstone National Park triggered a worldwide movement that eventually grew to our current 62 national parks in the U.S. and over 1,000 worldwide in over 100 countries. As a result, citizens and tourists can experience incredible nature preserves that might have otherwise been tarnished. In addition to the preservation of natural monuments, the National Park Service also protects sites of historical and scientific importance. So, the next time you get out to a national park, take a moment to give thanks that we have these wonderful opportunities to enjoy nature and history in their truest forms. We would like to highlight some of these national parks around the country that you may consider visiting the next time you hear the call of the wild.
Yellowstone National Park provides sights, sounds, and activities that will satisfy the outdoor enthusiast's wildest dreams. Established in 1872, it is the nation's oldest national park. From mountains to lakes, geysers, hot springs, horseback riding, diverse wildlife, and much more, Yellowstone will not disappoint. This immense park covers over 3,000 square miles, and some of its residents include buffalo, elk, moose, and grizzly bears. The park is visited by millions of people every year, but that does not mean it will be crowded when you visit since the area is so large. Some of the park's highlights include camping, Old Faithful, and year-round guided tours. Yellowstone is a must-visit for anybody passionate about the outdoors; its untouched beauty and one-of-a-kind features offer the wilderness experience of a lifetime.
Forged over the course of millions of years by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon is a site in Arizona that cannot be done justice until you see it with your own eyes. The canyon measures almost 300 miles in length and up to 18 miles in depth. The site attracts over six million visitors a year and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Unlike most of Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon can be very crowded at times as it is a centuries-old hot spot for visitors from all over the world. However, the North Rim will afford you a more secluded experience, as well as backcountry camping and rugged hiking opportunities.
Spanning almost 50,000 acres in New England on the coasts of Maine, Acadia National Park offers incredible exploration opportunities for rugged adventure enthusiasts. Located along the Atlantic Ocean, this national park includes islands, winding trails, and rugged coastline. Visitors can enjoy thrilling activities that include horseback riding, camping, biking, hiking, and rock climbing. The small town of Bar Harbor, Maine is located nearby and offers a quiet place to relax after an adrenaline-fueled adventure at Acadia National Park.
Located in California, Yosemite includes towering waterfalls, cliffs, Sequoia trees, and some of the most unique rock formations in the world. Other highlights include Half Dome and El Capitan, or "El Cap," which you might recall from the recent award-winning documentary Free Solo, featuring the world-renowned climber Alex Honnold. If some of these features seem intimidating, fear not; Yosemite offers hiking and climbing opportunities for even the most novice adventurers, and there are even guided hikes and climbing lessons available.
Located on the border of the United States and Canada, Glacier National Park covers over 1,500 square miles. The park is named for glacial remains from the ice age and features about 700 lakes. It offers hiking for all skill levels, plus waterfalls, mountain ranges, vast geological features, and natural history landmarks. Drive, hike, or even boat along this historic park with guided boat tours. This national park will offer unique experiences and activities for young and old that are sure to create memories that will last visitors a lifetime.
Whether you live near one of these spectacular national parks or will be traveling a long distance to visit them, it will be worth the trip. These wildlife areas will give you unique insights into the natural history and world heritage. Since these parks are so vast, you may find it necessary to visit more than once in your lifetime to try to experience as much of the splendor as possible. Just don't take these parks for granted; we are very lucky to have them! For a complete list of America's National Parks, click here.
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