There are 59 National Parks in the Park Service. By contrast, Australia has more than 500. There are 117 U. S. National Monuments. Some of them might become National Parks. This is what happened to Pinnacles in California. It was a National Monument until 2013. The 3rd youngest National Park, South Carolina’s Congaree, sounds fascinating but Ruth & I haven’t been there yet. I took her to Big Bend for her birthday a couple of years ago. It’s remote but worth the journey.
Ruth & I love our National Parks. Over time, we’ve been to 45 of them. Most recently we’ve travelled to Mount Rainier, the Redwoods, the Petrified Forest in Arizona, and Pinnacles, which had just been named a NP when we saw its traveling landscape in the last week in December. Snow fell. I’ve blogged about these and more. Next month we plan to visit 2 of the 14 we haven’t been to–Biscayne and Everglades, the largest tropical wilderness in the United States. Some of the others we have not experienced are a bit hard to get to, like Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic. We have, however, been to Denali and Glacier Bay.
Alaska and California both have 8 National Parks. They’re tied for the most. Last year we saw Califronia’s Lassen Volcanic, which was seriously drought affected, for the 1st time. It’s getting more rain and snow this year, so the situation might improve. There are only 11 National Parks east of the Mississippi. My favorite is Maine’s Acadia, home to the tallest peak on the United State’s Atlantic coast. Like Saguaro, Acadia is in 2 sections.
Some other National Parks are in sections. Washington’s North Cascades, for example, is divided into 2 parts. Glorious Highway 20 runs between them. American Samoa spreads over 3 islands. California’s Channel Islands National Park is on 5. Visitors get to them by ferries from the mainland.
Yellowstone is considered the first National Park, but some say that Arkansas’s Hot Springs deserve that designation. It has had the attention of the Federal Government since 1832. Only 27 states have National Parks.
There are currently 10 proposed. It’s a fairly arduous process to become a National Park with Congress and the President both involved. Some day Mount Hood, which is near me, could receive this designation. Erupting might change its fate. Mount St. Helens, for example, remains a National Monument. I took Ruth to Idaho’s Craters of the Moon in summer, 2016. It’s a not-so-beautiful but dramatic landscape that is awful on a really hot day. It might one day become a National Park. So might Arizona’s Chiricahua. If High Allegheny receives NP status, West Virginia will get its 1st National Park.
West of the Mississippi, my favorite National Parks are Bryce Canyon, Wind Cave, and Joshua Tree. Really.