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Exploring The National Parks

Exploring The National Parks

Yellowstone National Park was established by an Act signed by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, as the first U.S. national park and the first national park anywhere on Earth. The US National Park Service was later created by an act signed by President Woodrow Wilson on August 25, 1916. Today, the system includes 409 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The diversity of the parks is reflected in the variety of titles given to them. These include such designations as national park, national preserve, national monument, national memorial, national historic site, national seashore, and national battlefield park. Areas added to the National Park System for their natural values are expanses or features of land or water of great scenic and scientific quality and are usually designated as national parks, monuments, preserves, seashores, lakeshores, or riverways. Such areas contain one or more distinctive attributes like forest, grassland, tundra, desert, estuary, or river systems; they may contain windows on the past for a view of geological history; they may contain imposing landforms like mountains, mesas, thermal areas, and caverns; and they may be habitats of abundant or rare wildlife and plantlife. Although best known for its great scenic parks, over half the areas of the National Park System preserve places and commemorate persons, events, and activities important in the nation’s history. These range from archeological sites associated with prehistoric Indian civilizations to sites related to the lives of modern Americans. Historical areas are customarily preserved or restored to reflect their appearance during the period of their greatest historical significance. (Text from: nps.gov)

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