Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Top 10 National Parks are Free Today

1. June 21st, the first day of summer is one of the Free Entrance Days in National Parks.

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Acadia National Park, Maine, USA
Photographer M  A Fiebert

2. Check this link for a park in your area listed by state.

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah, USA
Photographer David Marcus Fiebert

3. A national park is a reserve of natural or semi-natural land, declared or owned by a government, that is restricted from most development and is set aside for human recreation and environmental protection.

Canyonlands National Park, Moab, Utah
Photographer David Marcus Fiebert

4.  In 1969 the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) declared a national park to be a relatively large area with particular defining characteristics.  A national park was deemed to be a place.
  • with one or several ecosystems not materially altered by human exploitation and occupation, where plant and animal species, geomorphological sites and habitats are of special scientific, educative and recreative interest or which contain a natural landscape of great beauty.
  • the highest competent authority of the country has taken steps to prevent or eliminate exploitation or occupation as soon as possible in the whole area and to effectively enforce the respect of ecological, geomorphological, or aesthetic features which have led to its establishment.
  • visitors are allowed to enter, under special conditions, for inspirational, educative, cultural, and recreative purposes.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA
Photographer M A Fiebert

5. The first effort by any government to set aside such protected lands was in the United States, on April 20, 1832, when President Andrew Jackson signed legislation to set aside four sections of land around what is now Hot Springs, Arkansas to protect the natural, thermal springs and adjoining mountainsides for the future disposal of the US government. It was known as the Hot Springs Reservation. However no legal authority was established and federal control of the area was not clearly established until 1877.

Grand Tetons and Jackson Lake Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA
Photographer Randall Wise

6. The next effort by any government to set aside such protected lands was, again, in the United States, when President Abraham Lincoln signed an Act of Congress on June 30, 1864, ceding the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias (later becoming the Yosemite National Park) to the state of California.

Yosemite National Park, California, USA
Photographer M A Fiebert

7. "The said State shall accept this grant upon the express conditions that the premises shall be held for public use, resort, and recreation; shall be inalienable for all time." — U.S. Congress, 1864.

Muir Woods National Monument, California, USA
Photographer M A Fiebert

8. In 1872, Yellowstone National Park was established as the world's first truly national park. When news of the natural wonders of the Yellowstone were first promulgated, the land was part of a federally governed territory.

Upper Yellowstone Falls of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
Photographer Randall Wise

9. The "dean of western writers", American Pulitzer prize-winning author Wallace Stegner, has written that national parks are 'America's best idea,'—a departure from the royal preserves that Old World sovereigns enjoyed for themselves—inherently democratic, open to all, "they reflect us at our best, not our worst".

Thermal Pool in Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
Photographer Randall Wise

10.  I couldn't agree with Wallace Stegner more. See his quote above at #9. We live in a beautifully landscaped country but at times it is difficult to see the forest for the trees. Turn off the television and get your kids out in nature to appreciate all the magnificence our country has to offer.

Randy Wise and his mom Cheryl Wise at Mud Volcano, Yellowstone National Park.
Photographer Randall Wise

The grand canyon of the Yellowstone River.
Photographer Randall Wise

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