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US National Parks

There are 58 National Parks in the United States, not counting the 151 National Forests and the almost 350 National Monuments, National Historic Parks, National Seashores and other unites in the US National Park System.

The idea to set aside an area of land to protect its natural beauty or historical significance is one of the great contributions the United States made to world, as it originated in the USA. Today, there are thousands of national parks all over the world, but it all started in Arkansas in 1832, when President Andrew Jackson signed legislation to set aside four sections of land around what is now Hot Springs, Arkansas to protect the natural, thermal springs and the adjoining mountainsides. It was known as the Hot Springs Reservation. However no legal authority was established and federal control of the area was not clearly established until 1877.

The next effort by any government to set aside such protected lands was, again, in the United States, when President Abraham Lincoln signed an Act of Congress on June 30, 1864, ceding the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias to the state of California. However, Yosemite didn't become a National Park until 1906.

The world's first true National Park was established in 1872, when the US Congress created Yellowstone National Park.

"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the tract of land in the Territories of Montana and Wyoming, lying near the head-waters of the Yellowstone river, ... is hereby reserved and withdrawn from settlement, occupancy, or sale under the laws of the United States, and dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people...".

Theodore Roosevelt Arch at the Montana entrance to Yellowstone National Park,
honoring the environmental commitment of the 26th President of the United States.

We have so far visited 16 of these national crown jewels in seven states
In due time they will all be listed here.

If you only want to see our favorite pictures, check out the Travel USA site in our photo album.
If you want a more detailed description, select any of the sites listed below.

Carrizo Plain National Monument, California

California's largest native grasland and one
of the largest undisturbed alkali wetlands.

Inyo National Forest, California

Ancient Bristlecone Forest in Inyo National Forest is the world's oldest grove. Many of the trees here are over 4,000 years old.

Kings Canyon National Park, California

California's forgotten National Park; featuring North America's deepest canyon and the world's third largest tree.

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