Jefferson’s Blog: The National Parks
Hello My Destination Pen Pals!
It is no secret that here at America’s Destination Pen Pals we love America’s National Parks. As a matter of fact, our national parks are some of our favorite places to learn about America’s natural beauty, history and even some really cool fun facts!
So, you might be asking “What is a National Park?” Well, first of all, a National Park must be created by the United States Congress, that’s part of our government here in the United States. The most important job of the U.S. Congress is making laws for our country, but they are also responsible for deciding which parks become national parks.
To be a national park, the park must be an outstanding example of resources. Natural resources are things that come from the earth we can use to make our lives better. Some examples of natural resources are minerals, forests, water and land. America’s national parks must also display our nation’s heritage and must offer recreation for public use and enjoyment or scientific study.
Sometimes national parks and national monuments are confused. National parks are chosen for their natural beauty, unique geological features, and unusual ecosystems. Geologic features are things such as valleys, canyons, rivers, waterfalls, caves and cliffs. Ecosystems are groups of living things, including, plants and animals that live together and depend on each other to live. National monuments are chosen for their historical or archaeological importance. Archaeology is the study of objects and monuments left behind by people who lived before us.
Yellowstone National Park was the first national park, signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. The U.S. National Park System now covers more than 400 national parks and 84 million acres across the 50 United States and its territories. The creation of Yellowstone began a worldwide national park movement. Today, more than 100 nations around the world have national parks.
Yellowstone National Park
Photos obtained via Wikimedia Commons
President Theodore Roosevelt used his authority to protect wildlife and public lands by creating the United States Forest Service (USFS) and establishing 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks, and 18 national monuments. During his presidency, Theodore Roosevelt protected approximately 230 million acres of public land.
Here are some fun facts for you to explore with your friends and family:
- The smallest national park is 5, 500 acres and the largest is 8.3 million acres
- The largest living things in the world are found in America’s National Parks: the beautiful Sequoia tress in Sequoia National Park
- The National Park Service cares for many different kinds of places, including battlefields, historic homes, natural areas, prehistoric dwellings, rivers, trails and seashores
- The largest living single-stem tree in the world lives in Sequoia National Park. It is named General Sherman. It stands at 275ft tall and weighs about 1,900 metric tons
- Of all the 401 National Park sites, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt have the most sites named after them
- The Florida Everglades is the only true tropical forest in the northern hemisphere. It is home to plants and animals you can’t find anywhere else, including the very rare and beautiful Florida Panther
- Park Ranger Roy Sullivan was struck by lightning seven times at Shenandoah National Park
President Theodore Roosevelt
“We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Well, I’m off on another destination adventure, but I will be sure to blog again soon! In the meantime, be on the lookout for new blogs from my destination adventure Pen Pal buddies! You just never know who might show up here!
America’s Original Destination Pen Pal
For more information and fun activities, check out some of these cool videos and sites about U.S. National Parks:
Jefferson Eagle, Blog Contributor
Jefferson Eagle is an America’s Destination Pen Pals blog contributor and Destination Pen Pal adventurer. He has become one of ADPP’s foremost experts on the culture and geography of the United States, The Constitution and America’s rich history. Jefferson Eagle currently travels the United States with his Pen Pal Buddies exploring America and teaching children about the traditions, history and culture which built this great nation.