The first national park was Yellowstone in Wyoming created by President Grant in 1872. Some 30 years later, President Theodore Roosevelt would create an additional 5 national parks, 18 national monuments, including the Grand Canyon; set aside 51 federal bird sanctuaries, four national game refuges, and more than 100 million acres’ worth of national forests.
President Theodore Roosevelt at Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park, California, 1903
“Here is your country,” President Theodore Roosevelt once said. “Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children.”
These protected and preserved parks, trails and areas contain natural wonders, like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and Niagara Falls on the border between New York and Canada.
Some of the parks are historical, and tell the story of America.
Fort McHenry near Baltimore, Maryland, which held out during the War of 1812 against British cannons overnight and provided the inspiration for our national anthem.
Ellis Island in New York harbor is preserved and houses an impressive museum detailing the stories of over 22 million people who came to America in pursuit of their American Dream.
The National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania allows visitors to walk the preserved battlefield of what was a major turning point in the American Civil War. The battle served as the inspiration for President Abraham Lincoln’s immortal “Gettysburg Address.”
Hiking and walking outdoors, participating in a natural science or historical learning activity, touring a museum, taking a boat ride, or just having a picnic lunch, these are all just a few of the things you can do at a national park.
With over 400 trails, areas, preserves and parks across the country there is bound to be one near you.
The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) works to safeguard our national parks—to protect, cherish and celebrate these great American places.
National Parks Conservation Association:
If you are a veteran, or are currently serving in the armed forces of America, please take a moment to answer a few questions about your relationship with the national parks of America.
To find a national park near you:
To learn more about our national parks, you can visit the PBS site: “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” (A PBS-Ken Burns documentary)
If you don’t happen to live near a national park, there are still many other state and city parks to enjoy.
To find the parks near you, visit Discover the Forest at http://www.discovertheforest.org/
Article by: Ned M Campbell is the head coach of James Madison High School’s wrestling team in Brooklyn, NY, and is a USA Wrestling nationally certified coach. He is a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army Officer, who also teaches history at James Madison High School. Prior to teaching, Ned M Campbell worked with children and adults with disabilities during summer programs with IAHD and Southeast Consortium, and volunteered time supporting a therapeutic horseback riding program for youth and adults with disabilities.
Campbell is a published writer, and a contributing writer to the “Can Do” Street blog for kids and parents. In addition, he is the voice of Coach Campbell in “Can Do” Street programs.
Editor’s Note: Be sure to check out Coach Campbell’s co-article for kids, on this subject, featured on the “Can Do” Kids blog at http://candostreet.com/blog-kids/