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10 Things about our National Parks

Have you ever dreamed of owning a piece of land? The type of place where you could camp, hike, fish and just get away from it all? Well…you already do. America invented National Parks, and the rest of the world followed.

1. There are 58 National Parks in the United States. However, just a handful see the most traffic. Here are the top 10:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: 10,712,674 annual visitors Grand Canyon National Park: 5,520,736 annual visitors Rocky Mountain National Park: 4,155,916 annual visitors Yosemite National Park: 4,150,217 annual visitors Yellowstone National Park: 4,097,710 annual visitors Zion National Park: 3,648,846 annual visitors Olympic National Park: 3,263,761 annual visitors Grand Teton National Park: 3,149,921 annual visitors Acadia National Park: 2,811,184 annual visitors

and Glacier National Park: 2,366,056 annual visitors

2. The National Park System employees more than 20,000 people.

Even more interesting, in 2016 the National Park Service was assisted by nearly 340,000 volunteers!

3. The National Park Service operates across every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

The San Juan National Historic site, fully operated by the National Park Service occupies 75 acres on the island of Puerto Rico

4. The equivalent of the population of the entire United States visited our national parks in 2016!

Total recreation visitors to the national parks in 2016: 330,971,689. Population of the U. S. in 2016: 323.1 million

5. The largest National Park in the system is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska, clocking in at over 13 million acres!

That’s bigger than the states of Massachusetts, New Jersey and Connecticut combined

6. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) played a huge role in establishing trails, buildings and conservation in our National Parks.

In 1933 the first CCC camps were established in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. More than 1,200 men per year worked at the camp in this park alone!​

7. Seven National Parks have been “disbanded” since the inception of the National Parks System.

Abraham Lincoln National Park

Disband: August 11, 1939

Redesignated as Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park

Fort McHenry National Park

Disbanded: August 11, 1939

Redesignated under the unique designation of Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

General Grant National Park

Disbanded: March 4, 1940

Incorporated: to Kings Canyon National Park

Hawaii National Park

Disbanded: September 13, 1960

Divided into Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Haleakala National Park

Mackinac National Park

Disbanded: March 2, 1895 Transferred to Michigan; now operated as Mackinac Island State Park

Platt National Park Disbanded: March 17, 1976 Redesignated as Chickasaw National Recreation Area

Sullys Hill National Park Disbanded: March 3, 1931 Transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; now operated as Sullys Hill National Game Preserve

8. Yellowstone National Park wasn’t just the first National Park in the United States, it was also the first National Park in the world. Established on March 1, 1872!

9. Our National Parks are home to many record-setting animals and locations
  1. World’s largest land carnivore : Alaskan Brown Bear

World’s largest living thing : Giant Sequoia trees

The highest point in North America : Denali 20,310’

Longest cave system : Mammoth Cave

America’s deepest lake : Crater Lake 1,943’ deep

  1. Lowest point in the Western Hemisphere : Badwater Basin 282’ below sea level

10. They’re forced to keep deferring crucial maintenance…nearly $12 Billion dollars worth.
  1. There isn’t enough money to even maintain them. Deferred Maintenance (DM) is maintenance and repairs of assets that was not performed when it should have been and is delayed for a future period. Here’s where the parks stood towards the end of 2016:

  2. Current Status: Total DM (Sept. 30, 2016) – $11.331 Billion


Picture: Yellowstone_National_Park_Buffalo_Crossing

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