For all of you that love the great outdoors we are fortunate enough to have an incredible amount of National Parks you can explore on your next vacation. Whether you’re into cycling, hiking, camping, rock climbing or white water rafting there is definitely a place for you to enjoy. Not only that, there are all kinds of wildlife and plants that you can see on your journey. Here are the most visited national parks in America.
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon, named as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is one of the most amazing sights that you will ever see. The mighty Colorado River took thousands of years to cut through and carve the Canyon leaving some breathtaking views. It was declared a National Monument in 1908 and then later in 1919 it was changed to a National Park. Outdoor lovers flock here year after year for the hiking and whitewater rafting. Head on over to the Tuweep Overlook and feast your eyes on the Colorado River more than 3000 ft below.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains it has some incredible granite cliffs that lure rock climbers from all over the world. It also has stunning waterfalls and sequina groves that bring in hikers, bikers and families that want to enjoy the outdoors. While you’re here don’t forget to see the 5000 ft granite Half Dome, even if you’re not a climber it’s a sight to behold. Yosemite covers an area almost the size of the state of Rhode Island and it has been a National Park since 1890. Be sure to head to the park in early spring after the snow melts and the waterfalls are just beautiful. Here is a closer look at the sights to see at Yosemite.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone is absolutely huge and it definitely a must see! The famous geyser Old Faithful, hot springs and mud pots along with the huge wilderness that is just waiting for you to go exploring, along the route you can run into bison, wolves, elk and grizzly bears. Yellowstone was the first to be declared a National Park by President Grant. The best time to head over is late spring and summer, many of the roads are impassable and closed throughout the fall and winter.
Rocky Mountain National Park
The Rockies in Colorado have more than 60 mountain peaks that reach over 12,000 feet and among them you will find glaciers and waterfalls. Throughout the park there are lakes, meadows and streams and an impressive collection of wildlife you won’t find anywhere else. There is plenty to explore throughout Rocky Mountain National Park including the continental divide and the headwaters of the Colorado River.
If you have ever toured or visited any of the national parks throughout the country you may have wondered when exactly the US National Parks were created. They were created way back in 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act. At this time care and control of the parks were the responsibility of the Department of the Interior. At that time there were already 40 national parks already in existence, most of these parks are located in wilderness areas. Most would be inaccessible except that this protection allows visitors to enjoy them.
First Official National Park
Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming was the first official US National Park that was created and it was done earlier by a previous act of Congress. The whole process was started in 1872 and it took until 1890 to complete. Before the process got started Yosemite Valley had been donated to the state of California in 1864 as a state park in order to keep the wilderness land preserved. Later in 1891 President Harrison the first establishment of the forest reserve, Yellowstone Timberland Reserve. A little later in 1903 in Florida, President Roosevelt protected Pelican Island as the first of the national wildlife refuges.
Yellowstone National park was the first time that public lands were used “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people”. It was the first in a long line of lands that have been dedication to National Parks, National Monuments, National Historical Parks and National Forests. As of today the US enjoys more than 58 National Parks. Not only that the US started a trend with other countries establishing their own national park systems.
Preservation of Land
While National Parks not only preserve the land but they serve as important places of recreation and education. Tourism brings in funds that allow the National Park Service to take care of the parks and the people who enjoy them. You have many college students that work here during the summer as interns in exchange for room and board along with a small salary. These parks ensure that wildlife, forests and mineral reserves all stay protected. Nearby there are hotels, motels and campgrounds that the public can stay in while coming to visit the park system. Many of the park rangers will offer tours and have a pretty extensive knowledge of the park and the wildlife that call it home.
While the credit for setting up the first of the US National Parks goes to President Wilson back in 1916, it should be noted that American artist George Catlin back in 1832 first proposed the idea of protecting the land he loved. It doesn’t matter really where the credit goes but take the time and visit some of the incredible parks that make up the landscape of our country.