National Parks and the Importance of Maintaining Them
The US is covered in beautiful landmarks and stunning vistas. Many of these places are in national parks. But, what are these places? And, why is it so important that we continue to maintain them? In today’s blog we’ll answer these questions. Plus, recommend some locations for you to check out!
What is a National Park?
A national park is a park in use for conservation purposes. It is created and protected by the government. Almost always open to visitors, these locations allow the public to view the beauty of the country. Thus, national parks are a symbol of pride.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature defines national parks as having the following characteristics:
- One or several ecosystems unaltered by humans. Plus, the inclusion of plant and animal species, important sites, and/or habitats of scientific, historical or recreational interest. Additionally, it contains a mutual landscape of great beauty.
- The government has taken steps to preserve the features which have led to its establishment.
- Visitors are allowed to enter for inspirational, educational, cultural, and recreational purposes.
- Minimum size of 1,000 hectares where the protection of nature takes precedence.
- Legal protection.
- Budget and staff sufficient to provide effective protection.
- Prohibition of activities such as hunting and fishing
The United States defines their national parks as: “public pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people”. The first mass of land to celebrate this mission is Yellowstone. Founded in 1872, it is one of the oldest conservation spaces in the world. Other contenders for this title include Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve and Bogd Khan Uul Mountain (in Mongolia).
How Are They Maintained?
The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the US government that manages the conservation of protected land and monuments. They are in charge of staffing, maintaining, and sustaining all “units” around the country.
However, due to cuts in funding, the parks need our help! Money is needed to restore roadways and trails. What’s more, donations help to further the protection of endangered species!
What to Do
Not sure what you can be up to in a national park? Here are a few options!
- Stay the night! Most locations have impeccable camp grounds offering incredible views.
- Explore scenic trails. From climbs to strolls, there are routes for hikers of all experiences and ages. You could even partake in a scavenger hunt!
- Learn the History. Whether it be natural or human, these locations offer the opportunity to learn more about this country.
The National Parks of the USA
Check out the top 5 spots you should visit!
- Yellowstone. Spanning over Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, this location hosts lakes, mountains, buffalo-filled valleys as well as geysers and hot springs.
- Yosemite. Located in California, this area has ample scenic hiking with views of waterfall and unique rock formations.
- Glacier. Including more than 700 lakes across Montana, Glacier is the perfect spot for stargazers.
- Grand Canyon. A famous US landmark, the Grand Canyon is a must-see Nevada staple. What’s more, visitors have the opportunity to raft down the Colorado River.
- Zion. The perfect place for thrill seekers, this Utah national park has a 1,500-foot natural stair c