I was so busy last week that I forgot that it was National Parks Week. All National Parks were offering free admission. I have found in the past that free admission also applies to National Monuments and National Forests, and I usually take advantage of the opportunity here to visit Cabrillo National Monument and to do more in Cleveland National Forest than just drive through on the freeway.
Since I missed it, I thought I’d visit some National Parks right here in my blog!
The first national park in the world was founded right here in the United States, in California even. Yellowstone National Park was established by Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone is located mostly in Wyoming but extends into Montana and Idaho. Those three states did not exist in 1872; they were territories, which is why the Federal Government took control of Yellowstone as a National Park.
Some people in Arkansas might argue that the first National Park was established there since the Hot Springs Reservation was set asied on April 20, 1832, when President Andrew Jackson signed legislation protecting it. No legal authority was established and federal control of the area was not definitively established until 1877.
The world’s second National Park was established in Australia in 1879 as the Royal National Park. Other significant National Parks throughout the world:
Rocky Mountain National Park was created in 1885 as Canada’s first national park in 1885.
New Zealand’s Tongariro National Park came along in 1887.
Europe’s first National Parks were nine parks created in Sweden in 1909.
Africa’s first National Park was established in 1925 as Albert National Park, now named Virunga National Park).
France’s first National Park was Vanoise National Park in the Alps, created in 1963.
The largest National Park in the world is Northeast Greenland National Park with 240,000,000 acres, making it larger than 219 countries.
The largest National Park in the United States is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska at 13,175,790 acres.
The smallest National Park in the United States is Hot Springs National Park at 5,550 acres. It also is the only National Park located in an urban area.
The newest National Park is Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, created in 2004.
The National Park Service was created in 1916 to administer the growing number of National Parks in the United States, now numbering 58.
The United States started recognizing National Parks on its postage stamps in 1934 with the release of a set of ten stamps, shown below. The Scott number shown with each stamp is an internationally recognized system for identifying stamps of the world.
Yosemite National Park
California — Created October 1, 1890
Scott #740, issued July 16, 1934
Since those ten stamps were issued in 1934, another ten stamps have been issued recognizing National Parks, most recently in 1990 when the Grand Canyon appeared on Scott #2512. The Grand Canyong is so well-known that the name of the National Park wasn’t even on the stamp.