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National Park Service Fun Facts


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A Photographer's GuideNational Park Service Frequently Asked Questions >
  • There are 375 national park areas that go from A to Z Acadia (ME) to Zion (UT).
  • More than 265 million people visited our national park areas in 1996.
  • The first national park, Yellowstone, was created in 1872 through a law signed by President Ulysses S. Grant. The calvary was the first caretaker.
  • The largest living things in the world live in national parks; Sequoia Trees, and the world’s largest carnivore; the Alaska Brown Bear.
  • National park areas have volcanos, glaciers, white sand beaches, and dinosaur fossils.
  • Starting in 1910 with “The Immortal Alamo”, film makers have been coming to national parks year after year to capture majestic scenery for their productions.
  • Russell Cave National Monument (AL) has an almost continuous record of human habitation going back to 7000 BC.
  • In national park areas you’ll find:
    • the highest point in North America, Mt. McKinley at 20,320 feet (Denali National Park and Preserve)
    • the lowest point in the western hemisphere, Death Valley National Park, CA
    • the longest cave system in the world with more than 345 miles mapped (Mammoth Cave National Park, KY)
    • a 630-foot-high stainless steel arch (Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, MO)
    • the world’s largest geyser area (Yellowstone National Park, WY, MT, ID)
    • the Nation’s deepest cave at 1,593 feet deep (Carlsbad Caverns National Park,NM)
    • the world’s largest gypsum dunefield rising 60 feet high and covering 275 square miles (White Sands National Monument, NM)
    • the world’s most massive Doric Column (Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, OH)
    • the deepest lake (1,932 feet) in the United States (Crater Lake National Park, OR)
    • the second and third largest natural bridges in the world (Natural Bridges National Monument, UT).
  • In national park areas you will find grizzly bears, Dall sheep, timber wolves, peregrine falcons, flying fox, Pacific Boa, gray whales, moose, Roosevelt Elk, and Olympic Marmot.
  • Tuskeegee Institute National Historic Site (AL), founded by Booker T. Washington for African American students in 1881, the students built the brick buildings themselves, still an active educational institution with a visitor center housed in the George Washington Carver Museum.
  • Two National Parks are located north of the Artic Circle Gates of the Artic National Park and Preserve and the Kobuk Valley National Park
  • One National Park is also home to two tropical rain forests (NationalPark of American Samoa)
  • Saguaro cacti is found in Saguaro National Monument, AZ
  • 47 thermal springs with year-round temperature of 143 degrees are found in Hot Springs National Park, AR
  • Coral Reefs are inBiscayne National Park, FL, and Buck Island Reef National Monument, VI.
  • Kenai Fjords National Park (AK) has the 300-square-mile Harding Icefield.
  • Oldest intact piece of Russian American architecture—Russian Bishops House built in 1842 (Sitka National Historic Park, AK)
  • The largest national park: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve (AK) at more than 8.3 million acres.
  • The National Park Service still holds an active trading post, Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site,AZ (established in 1878).
  • Hohokam Pima National Monument (AZ) preserves the archeological remains of the Hohokam culture, Hohokam means “those who have gone” in the Pima Indian language.
  • Best preserved cliff dwellings in the United States: five-stories and 20 rooms at Montezuma Castle National Monument, AZ.
  • National Parks preserve the culture of many Native American people including:
    • Navajo
    • Hopi
    • Hohokam Pima
    • Timucuan
    • Kayenta Anasazi
    • Nez Perce
    • Salado
    • Hodats
    • Pueblo
    • Mandan
    • Zuni
    • Chickasaw
  • National park areas preserve the history of early American settlers:
    • Mormon Pioneers (Pipe Spring National Monument, AZ)
    • 1691 Spanish Catholic Mission (Tumacacori National Historical Park, AZ)
    • 1686 French settlers (Arkansas Post National Memorial,AR)
    • Portuguese explorers (Cabrillo National Monument, CA)
    • Spanish explorer DeSoto in 1539 (DeSoto National Monument, FL)
    • French Huguenots (Fort Caroline National Monument, FL)
    • pioneers who settled the west (Homestead National Monument of America, NE)
    • the first English colony, 1585-87, in North America (Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, NC)
  • National park areas have castles:
    • Scottys Castle (Death Valley National Monument, CA)
    • Montezuma Castle National Monument, AZ
    • Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park in New York City that served as an immigration depot for 8 million people from 1855-1890.
  • National park areas preserve the works of great American artists and writers:
    • Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site, CA
    • American impressionist John Alden Weir (Weir Farm National Historic Site, CT)
    • John Muir National Historic Site, CA
    • Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site,MA, Olmsted was a conservationist, landscape architect and founder of city planning.
    • Longfellow National Historic Site, MA, (poet Hnery Wadsworth Longfellow 1837-1882, the house he used while teaching at Harvard is the same house George Washington used as his headquarters during the siege of Boston 1775-1776)
    • Augustus St. Gaudens, America’s foremost sculptor of the late 19th and early 20th century (Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, NH)
    • Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, NC
    • Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site, PA
  • Manzanar National Historic Site commemorates the WWII internment of Japanese Americans at Manzanar War Relocation Center in the Owens Valley of California.
  • Teddy Roosevelt has the most sites named for him:
    • Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site, NY
    • Theodore Roosevelt Island, D.C.
    • Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, NY
    • Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND
    • His head is reproduced with Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln on Mount Rushmore, SD
  • National park areas are home to federal prison; Alcatraz (Golden Gate National Recreation Area, CA), and a leper colony , Molokai Island Hansen’s Disease Settlement (Kalaupapa National Historical Park, HI)
  • The statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., is 19 feet tall.
  • The national park areas remember the struggles that have shaped this nation:
    • Minute Man National Historical Park, MA, where fighting erupted on April 19, 1775 to start the American Revolution.
    • Antietem National Battlefield, MD, where General Robert E. Lee’s first invasion of the north ended in 1862
    • theVietnam Veterans Memorial, DC, where 58,000 were killed or missing from that war
    • Andersonville National Historic Site, GA, where a Civil War prisoner of war camp commemorates the sacrifices of American POWs in all wars
    • the USS ARIZONA National Memorial, HI, sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.
  • Fort Pulaski National Monument, GA, took 18 years and 25 million bricks to build and only 30 hours of cannon fire to destroy, causing the defending confederate garrison to surrender in 1862.
  • Brown v Board of Education National Historic Site, KS, 1954 landmark supreme court case to end racial segregation in public schools; Monroe School in Topeka, attended by Linda Brown, who was represented by Thurgood Marshall before the Supreme Court, who later became the first African American to sit on the Supreme Court.
  • National park areas include:
    • 2,000 miles of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail that stretches from Maine to Georgia.
    • 37-mile long barrier island (Assateague Island National Seashore, MD)
    • 184-mile-long canal from Washington, D.C., to Cumberland, MD ( C&O Canal National Historical Park).
  • Clara Barton , the founder of the Red Cross; led the Red Cross in its first disaster relief effort at the Johnstown Flood (also a National Memorial).
  • National park areas preserve Marconi’s Wireless Station Site( Cape Cod National Seashore, MA); Thomas Edison’s “Invention Factory” and laborartory (Edison National Historic Site, NJ); Wilbur and Orville Wright’s December 17, 1903, flight in a heavier-than-air machine at Kitty Hawk (Wright Brothers National Memorial, NC)
  • 15,000 historic and prehistoric petroglyphs, Native American andHispanic images carved on rock, stretch for 17 miles near Albuquerque at Petroglyph National Monument, NM.
  • The Statue of Liberty (NY) was a 152-foot-tall copper gift from the French in1886. Ellis Island, which processed 15 million immigrants to America, opened again in 1990 as the only museum dedicated to the history of immigration.
  • Women’s Rights National Historical Park, Seneca Falls, NY, is the site of the first women’s rights convention at the Weslyan Methodist Chapel in 1848.
  • William Howard Taft National Historic Site, OH. Commemorates the only person to serve as President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
  • 40 million years of the history of mammals is preserved in fossils at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, (OR).
  • The completion of the first transcontinental railroad is celebrated at the Golden Spike National Historic Site, UT, where the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroads met.
  • Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts, VA, can accomodate an audience of 6,786 including 3,000 on the lawn.
  • The “Pig War” of 1859 was one of the events leading up to the final settlement of the Oregon Territory’s boundary San Juan Island National Historical Park, WA.


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