The National Park Service just entered its second century of existence. The National Park system “features over 400 stunning landscapes, iconic historic sites, battlefields, and cultural treasures that define our country, its evolving story and the enduring legacy we are called upon to uphold,” a recent National Park Foundation informational declared. I have chosen a dozen National Park sites to highlight, today. Places that must be protected for future generations.
We have been entrusted with so much natural beauty and we cannot shrug our responsibility to future generations. We must protect these treasured locations and prevent Trump & Associates from raping the environment. Please join the National Park Foundation, Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and dozens more organizations that are hitting all the alarm bells and filing lawsuits against the Trump Administration to stop these fossil fuel profiteers before they can start drilling, logging, and fracking on these precious lands. Join the Resistance against the environmental attack. Stop the Trump wrecking crew before the damage becomes irreversible.
Over the last several weeks I have hit the dangers to the environment button pretty hard. I promise this is my last post on the environment and, or, climate change for a while. Please, please, please give to any of the organizations fighting to save our threatened wild places. There is so much flim-flam, and “keep your eye on the pea” that I am worried that what is happening behind closed doors will decimate our park system before the public even finds out that it has happened.
So, with the beauty of our country at stake due to Trump’s Administration intention to dig, plow, pump, drill, log and frack every corner of the planet, starting on our public lands. Because of the danger, I thought it might be a nice reminder of our nation’s beauty by taking a short tour of 12 of our most remarkable National Parks.
Badlands National Park, South Dakota: Established on Jan. 29th, 1939 the Badlands National Park protects 242, 796 acres of southwestern South Dakota. The park terrain is dramatic with sprawling grasslands, deep canyons and towering rock spires.. The park is habitat for Bighorn Sheep, American Bison and small rodents such as the prairie dog. Inside the park at Fossil Exhibit Trail fossils recovered within the park are on display for visitors.
Yosemite National Park, California: Yosemite was first protected in 1864. Yosemite is famous for its waterfalls and steep peaks. Within 1,200 square miles there are deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoia, and a vast wilderness area. Yosemite is a World Heritage Site and entertains 5 million tourists annually.
National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, D.C.: A centerpiece of the Mall is the Lincoln Memorial, an enduring symbol of freedom. The memorial was designed after an ancient Greek temple. The 36 outer fluted columns represent the number of states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death. The “park/mall” is in downtown Washington, D.C. Unofficially it is the area between the Lincoln Memorial on the West and East to the U.S. Capitol grounds. The mall contains the Smithsonian, art galleries, cultural institutions and many memorials, sculptures and statues. Some of the greatest assemblage of humanity in giant protests have occurred on the National Mall.
Glacier National Park, Montana: Glacier National Park was established May 11, 1910. The park covers 1,583 square miles of wilderness in Montana’s Rocky Mountains. Glacier carved peaks and valleys run all the way to the Canadian border. There are more than 700 miles of hiking trails. Diverse wildlife include Grizzly bears and Mountain goats. The park is known as the “Crown of the Continent.” Glacier is the headwaters for streams that flow to the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and to Hudson Bay. What happens at Glacier affects waters in a huge section of North America.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park cover 816 square miles straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. Lush forests where wildflowers bloom year round is a delightful park that offers camping and hiking among rivers, creeks and waterfalls. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park entertains more than 11 million visitors annually. Rainfall rushes down the mountainsides of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, creating an abundance of waterfalls . Visitors will find cascades and waterfalls on nearly every stream or river in the park.
Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania: The park protects and interprets the landscape of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. The park commemorates the largest battle fought during the American Civil War. It was after the tragedy at Gettysburg where so many died on both sides that Abraham Lincoln came to give one of the most famous and memorable speeches of all time, forever known as the “Gettysburg Address.” The park is about 9.5 square acres. The park welcomes over a million visitors annually.
Crater Lake National Park, Oregon: Crater Lake is 1950 ft deep. The lake was formed when Mount Mazama erupted nearly 8,000 years ago and then collapsed, forming the lake. The park is the only National Park in the state of Oregon and entertains over 800,000 visitors each year. The lake is fed only by rain and snowfall and is a photographer’s dream blue. The park was established by Teddy Roosevelt in May 1902 and encompasses over 183,000 sq acres.
Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida: The Dry Tortugas is a small archipelago of coral islands which are the most western and most isolated of the Florida Keys. The park is 99% water and is located 68 miles west of Key West, Florida. The area is home to sea turtles, and multiple sea birds. The seven small islands in the Gulf of Mexico offers picturesque blue waters, superlative coral reefs and marine life, and the historic Fort Jefferson and is skin divers paradise.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona: The canyon is one mile deep and 277 miles long. The Grand Canyon was formed during six million years of geological and erosion activity. Teddy Roosevelt famously said, it is “the one great sight which every American should see.” The park was established in February 1919, and covers over 1900 square miles. Layered bands of red rock frame the Colorado River at the bottom of a mile deep canyon. The Grand Canyon is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the United States accommodating more than 6 million visitors annually.
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming:
Located in NW Wyoming the Grand Teton National Park encompasses 310,000 acres. The park was established in 1929 and entertains 3.5 million annual tourists. The park includes the 4,ooo meter Grand Teton Peak and the valley known as Jackson Hole. Grand Teton Park is linked to the nearby Yellowstone National Park by the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway. Rugged mountain peaks rising above a rich landscape with extraordinary wildlife, pristine lakes, and alpine terrain are the Grand Tetons. The park provides 200 miles of trails for hiking, fishing and back country camping. Exploring the Snake River and experiencing the serenity of the region is memory making.
Arcadia National Park, Maine:
The Arcadia National Park consists of 49,000 + acre Atlantic coast recreation area, primarily on Maine’s rugged coast including Mount Desert Island. The landscape is woodland, rocky beaches and glacier scoured granite peaks such as Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the Atlantic coast of the United States. Visitors come to bike historic carriage roads, fish the waterways and enjoy the abundant wildlife, including moose, bear, whales and sea birds.The park was established in 1919.
Arches National Park, Utah: Described as a “red rock wonderland,” Arches National Park is a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures. The park has more than 2,000 natural stone arches, as well as hundreds of soaring pinnacles, massive fins, and giant balanced rocks.” The Arches National Park is north of Moab, Utah. The 119.8 square miles park is bordered by the Colorado river in the southeast. The park entertains over 1.5 million visitors annually. Park was established in 1929.
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