10 Things Every American Should Know 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. 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!

    Photo Credit : National Park Service

    Photo Credit : National Park Service

    Photo Credit : National Park Service

    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:

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


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