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. More than 330 million recreational visitors visited America’s National Parks in 2016 – but do you know these 10 Things Every American Should Know About Our National Parks:
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
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
Total population of the United States 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
Disbanded: 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 into 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.
- 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
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.
- 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:
Total DM (Sept. 30, 2016) – $11.331 Billion
Bonus Tip : Buy Granola Bars – Help Save The Parks
Nature Valley has developed an easy way to support America’s National Parks. In addition to the $2.5 million dollars they’ve earmarked for donations to the parks over the next 3 years, they’re also donating 10 cents for every 6-count box of Oats and Honey flavored granola bars they sell between March 1 and May 15 which could increase Nature Valley’s support of the parks up to $3 million!