You may have visited one of the National Parks when you were younger. It’s a common destination for parents who want to bring their children outside of the city and show them the natural wonder of the country we call home. They exist across the United States, and each one is so different from one another. Having just wrapped up another National Park Week, we wanted to share some fascinating facts about the park system and the history behind it.
Over 100 Years Old
The National Park Service has existed since 1916, serving the more than 330 million visitors every year. They’re dedicated to more than just keeping the land clean and beautiful, though. Their goal is to revitalize local communities through the preservation of local history and the celebration of local heritage. Plus, they want to create better opportunities for families to get outdoors, be active, and explore.
418 National Parks
Starting as a single park (Yellowstone National Park), the park system has grown into the 418 parks and recreational or cultural areas we have today. The most popular parks in 2018 were determined by the number of visitors. The Great Smoky Mountains, located in North Carolina and Tennessee, made the list. Unsurprisingly, the Grand Canyon in Arizona was on there as well. Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado was a major spot for locals and visitors alike. Yellowstone is still one of the most visited as well.
Civilian Conservation Corps
The National Parks provided more than just a place to relax and unwind in the beauty of nature, though. Starting in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt provided extra manpower and employment options through building and the parks. They had more than 600 camps going at the peak of the CCC.
Unusual National Parks
Not every National Park is an obvious forest or canyon, though. Places you might not have known were national parks include the Statue of Liberty and even Alcatraz Island, where infamous prisoners were held. There are even some small islands, called the Dry Tortugas National Park 70 miles off of Key West.
It’s important for the current generation to protect these beautiful and culturally relevant place for future generations.