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National Parks

National parks, historical sites, landmarks, and monuments hold such a revered status to Americans that it is hard to imagine the U.S. without them. The concept of nationalized parks and special places began in earnest in the late 1800s, and since that time the preservation has expanded to more than 420 parks, historical sites, preserves, recreation areas, trails, battlefields, and memorial sites, as well as more than 2,500 designated landmarks.

Click on the links below to read about the evolution of national parks and places, some of the people involved, and lists of a few national parks, recreation areas, historic sites, and landmarks.

    ORIGINS OF THE NATIONAL PARKS

  • George Catlin - George Catlin was an artist, writer, historian, reporter, explorer, trailblazer, anthropologist, and geologist, crusader, businessman, opportunist and also is considered to be a pioneer in American et... Continue Reading
  • Theodore Roosevelt & Conservation - It had long been believed in the United States that the supply of new lands and natural resources was unlimited.... Continue Reading
  • National Park Service - "There is nothing so American as our national parks.... The fundamental idea behind the parks... is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the li... Continue Reading
  • NATIONAL REGISTERS

  • National Register of Historic Places - The National Register of Historic Places is America's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation.... Continue Reading
  • National Historic Landmark - A National Historic Landmark is a nationally significant historic place so designated by the Secretary of the Interior because it possesses exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting... Continue Reading
  • NATIONAL PARKS

  • Yosemite National Park - Founded in 1890, Yosemite National Park is the nation’s third oldest national park, located east of Modesto, California. A world heritage site, the park serves as an outdoor classroom for environmenta... Continue Reading
  • Rocky Mountain National Park - Established in January 1915, Rocky Mountain National Park is a living showcase of the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains, with elevations ranging from 8,000 feet in the wet, grassy valleys, to 14,259 fee... Continue Reading
  • Redwood National Park - Redwood National Park was created in 1968, by Congress, in order to assure the preservation of these old and mighty forests. The Redwood trees are more than 2,000 years old, and can grow to more than ... Continue Reading
  • Channel Islands National Park - The park consists of about 250,000 acres, half of which are under the ocean, and include the islands of Anacapa, San Miguel, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa. Even though the islands seem tan... Continue Reading
  • Sequoia National Park - Located adjacent to Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park was California’s first and is America’s second-oldest national park. It is an unspoiled treasure of some of the most striking scen... Continue Reading
  • Kings Canyon National Park - Located east of Fresno in east central California, Kings Canyon National Park is the sister of Sequoia National Park. Both parks are administered as a single unit. Kings Canyon was established as a na... Continue Reading
  • Hot Springs National Park - Hot Springs National Park, the smallest and oldest of the parks in the National Park System, is situated in the heart of Hot Springs' Historic Downtown District, Arkansas. This 5,500-acre park’s recom... Continue Reading
  • NATIONAL RECREATION AREAS

  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area - The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is one of the largest urban national parks in the world. It was established in 1972 as part of a trend to make national park resources more accessible to urban... Continue Reading
  • Hells Canyon National Recreation Area - Famed Chief Joseph and his tribe of Nez Percé Indians lived in Hells Canyon. Shoshone-Bannock, Northern Paiute and Cayuse Indians were drawn to the area because of its mild winters. Plenty of wildlife... Continue Reading
  • Sawtooth National Recreation Area - Establishment of the National Forest System in the early 1900s, included the Sawtooth National Forest, in 1905. In 1972, Congress established the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. It is located near ... Continue Reading
  • NATIONAL HISTORIC SITES & LANDMARKS

  • Independence National Historical Park - As armed revolt was fomenting throughout the 13 colonies, it was within the city limits of Philadelphia that the seeds of liberty were sown.... Continue Reading
  • Nicodemus National Historic Site - Nicodemus National Historic Site, located in northwestern Kansas along U.S. Highway 24, depicts the stories and experiences of African Americans on the Great Plains in the late 1800s and early 1900s. ... Continue Reading
  • H.M. Anderson House - The Anderson House in Little Rock, Arkansas, was listed in National Register of Historic Places on May 2, 2001, under Criterion C with its local significance as an excellent example of a Craftsman bun... Continue Reading
  • Central High School National Historic Site - Central High School National Historic Site is a national emblem of the often violent struggle over school desegregation. The line in the sand was crossed when nine African-American teenagers, "The Lit... Continue Reading
  • Horsheshoe Curve - Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark, located near Altoona, Pennsylvania, marks an engineering marvel created in February 1854. This is a 220-degree railroad curve built to overcome the height d... Continue Reading
  • Columbia City Landmark District - The area that became Columbia City, Washington, was still heavily timbered when an electric railway south from downtown Seattle into the Rainier Valley began.... Continue Reading