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What is a National Park?

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

An area set aside by a national government for the preservation of the natural environment. It may be set aside for purposes of public recreation and enjoyment or because of its historical or scientific interest.

Most of the landscapes and accompanying plants and animals in a national park are kept in their natural state, forbidding extractive activities and hunting.

A national park can focus on the protection of land and/or wildlife.

Did you know that national parks are all over the world?

I thought "national" meant our nation, America, nonetheless, the concept was adopted globally.

In 1872 a legislation passed creating the first national park - Yellowstone.

However, some sources claim that a century earlier in 1783, the Mongolian government established Bogd Khan Uul, a mountain that overlooks today's capital of Ulaanbaatar, as a protected reserve or national park.

Which was first?

Then there is the question of which is the biggest?

Some say:

Northeast Greenland National Park, is the ninth-largest protected area on Earth with 375,291 mi², of interior and northeastern coast of Greenland.

And some say:

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawaii is 583,000 square miles of ocean waters, including 10 islands.

The sense of the concept ‘national park’ has changed over time, facilitated by various historic and political processes, leading to the reason for debate.

On with the history...

Starting in the mid-1880s, other countries adopted the idea and established national parks of their own.

Nature reserves have been around since medieval times, but with this new format, the sparing of larger parcels of land as reserves and protective spaces for the local flora and fauna to thrive took hold. Giving more humans a place to enjoy and appreciate what God and mother nature gave us.

  • Currently, there are over 400 national Parks in America and over 4,000 in the world.

  • The United States ranks 5th in the number of national parks.

  • In the United States, the state of California ranks #1 with 9 national parks!

Here they are in order of date of recognition.

1890 Sequoia

1890 Yosemite

1908 Pinnacles National Park

1916 Lassen Volcanic

1940 Kings Canyon

1968 Redwood

1980 Channel Islands

1994 Death Valley. It became a national monument in 1933

1994 Joshua Tree. It became a national monument in 1936

Watch the spectacular documentary series on Netflix called “Our great National Parks” narrated by Barack Obama. The series covers several National Parks in many countries.

The beautiful cinematography is breathtaking and Barack has such a soothing voice. #nationalparks #parks #nationalparksinamerica #americanparks

National Park
National Parks


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