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National Parks

National parks, historical sites, landmarks, trails, and monuments hold such a revered status to Americans that it is hard to imagine the U.S. without them. The concept of nationalized parks and special places began in earnest in the late 1800s, and since that time the preservation has expanded to more than 420 parks, historical sites, preserves, recreation areas, trails, battlefields, and memorial sites, as well as more than 2,500 designated landmarks.

Yellowstone National Park Click on the links below to read about the evolution of national parks and places, some of the people involved, and lists of a few national parks, recreation areas, historic sites, and landmarks.

    ORIGINS OF NATIONAL PARKS

  • George Catlin - George Catlin was an artist, writer, historian, reporter, explorer, trailblazer, anthropologist, and geologist, crusader, businessman, opportunist and also is considered to be a pioneer in American et... Continue Reading
  • Theodore Roosevelt & Conservation - It had long been believed in the United States that the supply of new lands and natural resources was unlimited.... Continue Reading
  • National Park Service - "There is nothing so American as our national parks.... The fundamental idea behind the parks... is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the li... Continue Reading
  • NATIONAL DESIGNATIONS

  • National Register of Historic Places - The National Register of Historic Places is America's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation.... Continue Reading
  • National Historic Landmark - A National Historic Landmark is a nationally significant historic place so designated by the Secretary of the Interior because it possesses exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting... Continue Reading
  • National Trails System - "A national trail is a gateway into nature’s secret beauties, a portal to the past, a way into solitude and community. It is also an inroad to our national character. Our trails are both irresistible ... Continue Reading
  • NATIONAL PARKS

  • Yosemite National Park - Founded in 1890, Yosemite National Park is the nation’s third oldest national park, located east of Modesto, California. A world heritage site, the park serves as an outdoor classroom for environmenta... Continue Reading
  • Rocky Mountain National Park - Established in January 1915, Rocky Mountain National Park is a living showcase of the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains, with elevations ranging from 8,000 feet in the wet, grassy valleys, to 14,259 fee... Continue Reading
  • Redwood National Park - Redwood National Park was created in 1968, by Congress, in order to assure the preservation of these old and mighty forests. The Redwood trees are more than 2,000 years old, and can grow to more than ... Continue Reading
  • Channel Islands National Park - The park consists of about 250,000 acres, half of which are under the ocean, and include the islands of Anacapa, San Miguel, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosa. Even though the islands seem tan... Continue Reading
  • Sequoia National Park - Located adjacent to Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park was California’s first and is America’s second-oldest national park. It is an unspoiled treasure of some of the most striking scen... Continue Reading
  • Kings Canyon National Park - Located east of Fresno in east central California, Kings Canyon National Park is the sister of Sequoia National Park. Both parks are administered as a single unit. Kings Canyon was established as a na... Continue Reading
  • Hot Springs National Park - Hot Springs National Park, the smallest and oldest of the parks in the National Park System, is situated in the heart of Hot Springs' Historic Downtown District, Arkansas. This 5,500-acre park’s recom... Continue Reading
  • Death Valley National Park - Death Valley is located in the Mojave Desert in eastern California. Due to its location to the east of four mountain ranges, which produce increasingly severe rain shadows, Death Valley has several di... Continue Reading
  • NATIONAL RECREATION AREAS

  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area - The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is one of the largest urban national parks in the world. It was established in 1972 as part of a trend to make national park resources more accessible to urban... Continue Reading
  • Hells Canyon National Recreation Area - Famed Chief Joseph and his tribe of Nez Percé Indians lived in Hells Canyon. Shoshone-Bannock, Northern Paiute and Cayuse Indians were drawn to the area because of its mild winters. Plenty of wildlife... Continue Reading
  • Sawtooth National Recreation Area - Establishment of the National Forest System in the early 1900s, included the Sawtooth National Forest, in 1905. In 1972, Congress established the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. It is located near ... Continue Reading
  • NATIONAL MONUMENTS

  • Cabrillo National Monument - Cabrillo National Monument was established in 1913, in San Diego, California. It was put in place to recognize Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, who landed at San Diego Bay in September 1542. This... Continue Reading
  • El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument - El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument is a historic landmark located in Los Angeles, California. There are 27 historic buildings, built during the 18th century and clustered around an old plaza, ... Continue Reading
  • NATIONAL TRAILS

  • Appalachian National Scenic Trail - The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a 2,174-mile footpath along the ridgecrests and across the major valleys of the Appalachian Mountains from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in northern G... Continue Reading
  • El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail - El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail was recognized as the primary route between the colonial Spanish capital of Mexico City and the Spanish provincial capitals at San Juan de Los ... Continue Reading
  • Santa Fe National Historic Trail - An overland trail from the eastern United States to the Southwest was first popularized by the trading venture of William Becknell in 1821.... Continue Reading
  • Trail of Tears National Historic Trail - The Trail of Tears was the journey of the eastern Cherokees to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) during the Indian Removal of 1838.... Continue Reading
  • California National Historic Trail - The California Trail was the southern counterpart of the Oregon Trail.... Continue Reading
  • Oregon National Historic Trail - The Oregon Trail was an overland path to the West, taken by U.S. settlers in the mid-1800s. The trail originated in Missouri and eventually lead to the Columbia River and the Willamette Valley in Oreg... Continue Reading
  • Lewis & Clark Expedition and National Historic Trail - On January 18, 1803, President Thomas Jefferson requested ,500 from Congress for exploration of the trans-Mississippi west, which was approved on February 28.... Continue Reading
  • Under Review: Chisholm Trail - The Chisholm Trail was a cattle trail leading north from Texas, across Oklahoma to Abilene, Kansas. There is considerable controversy over the origin of the name, but if may have been derived from Jes... Continue Reading
  • NATIONAL HISTORIC SITES & LANDMARKS

  • Cumberland Gap National Historical Park - Cumberland Gap National Historical Park became a National Park in 1940. The first doorway to the west is commemorated at the national park, located where the borders of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virgin... Continue Reading
  • Independence National Historical Park - As armed revolt was fomenting throughout the 13 colonies, it was within the city limits of Philadelphia that the seeds of liberty were sown.... Continue Reading
  • Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park - Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park is located in Dayton, Ohio. Congress authorized the park on October 16, 1992. It commemorates the legacies of three of the region's most notable resid... Continue Reading
  • Nicodemus National Historic Site - Nicodemus National Historic Site, located in northwestern Kansas along U.S. Highway 24, depicts the stories and experiences of African Americans on the Great Plains in the late 1800s and early 1900s. ... Continue Reading
  • Daly Mansion National Historic Site - Daly Mansion is a historic house located in the heart of the Bitterroot Valley, just outside of Hamilton, Montana. Operated by the Daly Mansion Preservation Trust, the structure is a National Historic... Continue Reading
  • Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park - It all started that shocking Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, as 183 Japanese warplanes attacked America’s Hickam Field, Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii.... Continue Reading
  • Edgerton Park - Edgerton Park is a public park located at 75 Cliff Street, near the base of East Rock, fittingly on the edge of the Hamden-New Haven, Connecticut boundary. The entrance to the park is at the corner of... Continue Reading
  • Ball-Sellers House - Located in Arlington, Virginia, is a well-preserved 18th-century home called the Ball-Sellers House. The historic building is owned by the Arlington Historical Society and is listed on the Virginia La... Continue Reading
  • H.M. Anderson House - The Anderson House in Little Rock, Arkansas, was listed in National Register of Historic Places on May 2, 2001, under Criterion C with its local significance as an excellent example of a Craftsman bun... Continue Reading
  • Central High School National Historic Site - Central High School National Historic Site is a national emblem of the often violent struggle over school desegregation. The line in the sand was crossed when nine African-American teenagers, "The Lit... Continue Reading
  • Horsheshoe Curve - Horseshoe Curve National Historic Landmark, located near Altoona, Pennsylvania, marks an engineering marvel created in February 1854. This is a 220-degree railroad curve built to overcome the height d... Continue Reading
  • Electric City Trolley Museum - In 1887, Scranton became Pennsylvania’s first city with a successful pioneer trolley line, and came to be known as "The Electric City."... Continue Reading
  • Ballard Avenue Historic District - The Seattle City Council created the Ballard Avenue Landmark District, located in the northwest corner of Seattle just north of Salmon Bay, in 1976. The district reflects the changing history of indus... Continue Reading
  • Capitol View Neighborhood Historic District - Capitol View Neighborhood Historic District lies west of Little Rock, Arkansas. One of the district’s most distinctive features is a view of the Arkansas State Capitol.... Continue Reading
  • Columbia City Landmark District - The area that became Columbia City, Washington, was still heavily timbered when an electric railway south from downtown Seattle into the Rainier Valley began.... Continue Reading
  • Paul Dresser Birthplace - Dresser Birthplace – situated on Dresser Drive in Fairbanks Park – is a house museum preserved in honor of the famous musician and composer, Paul Dresser. It was in this two-storied edifice in Terre H... Continue Reading
  • Empire State Building National Historic Landmark - The Empire State Building (ESB), a national historic landmark, stands at 350 Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th Streets, in midtown Manhattan, New York City. The 102-story, contemporary Art Deco-styl... Continue Reading