Parks are zones of recreation and play a vital role in a country’s environment. Being termed as National Parks, they usually have a number of natural resources spread over a large area. Unlike humans, who are extremely good at surviving in all extreme conditions, some plants and animals find it exceedingly difficult, or even impossible, to survive in areas where their habitat gets disturbed or changed, due to any probable factors. This gives rise to need for preservation of their species artificially, which eventually turns true either in the form of a National Park.
United States is well known for its extraordinary parks. There are about 59 national parks, operated by the National Park Services (NPS) of the country, which is responsible for the proper care and maintenance of all these.
Twenty seven states in US have national parks within their borders. California has the lead with nine of them, followed closely by Alaska with eight, Utah five, and Colorado four. Signed by the President Ulysses S.Grant in March 1872, Yellowstone in the state of Wyoming was the first US National Park while recently upgraded Pinnacles is the last one in this chain. Out of seven national parks which are paired with a National Preserve, six are located in Alaska. Having an area of 8 acres, the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park of Alaska is the largest of all. An interesting fact about this park is that it is larger than each of the nine US smallest states. The next three largest parks are also in Alaska with Hot Springs, Arkansas being the smallest, less than 6 thousand acres (24 km2). The total area protected by national parks in US is approximately 51.9 million acres (210,000 (km2)), for an average of about 895 thousand acres (3,620 (km2)).
Fourteen of the national parks are designated World Heritage Sites. Glacier National Park is named after the glacier that carved its landscape millions of years ago. Native Americans call it as the “Backbone of the World”. The park has 13 campsites and more than 700 miles of hiking trails. It experiences Glacier’s pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes. With over 700 miles of hiking area, Glacier is a hiker’s paradise for adventurous visitors seeking wilderness.
Acadia is the first park of the Mississippi, expanded over an area of 125 miles and is famous for water sports. Attracted by the beauty and importance, 20th century visionaries fully donated their lands. The tallest mountains of US are also located in here.
Cuyahoga National Park offers multiple ways to get around. Sightseers can hop on and off the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, which operates year round. The park has a sum of five campgrounds and a historic bed-and-breakfast where guests can stay and rest. It is also called as “A Land of Giants”.
Grand Teton National Park covers 485 square miles of mountains, rivers and forests. The park is extremely famous for its wildlife preservation.
Besides, Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited one, with over nine million visitors in 2011, followed by the Grand Canyon, with over four million; in contrast, less than 5,227 people visited the remote Lake Clark.
Walking around US National Parks, one not only achieves recreational pleasure but also adds plenty of information in his knowledge bank.