100 Facts About the National Park Service (Part 1)

By Christina Maness

Editor’s Note: This is part 1 of a four-part series celebrating the centenary of the National Park Service. Please enjoy reading, part two, three, and part four of this series.

1. There are 59 National Parks in the United States.[source]

2. Of those national parks, 47 are located on the mainland United States.[source]

3. All of the national parks combined cover a whopping 51.9 million acres of land.[source]

4. In 1872, Yellowstone became the first national park in the world.[source]

5. The National Park Service is comprised of: 124 historical parks or sites, 78 national monuments, 59 national parks, 25 battlefields or military parks, 18 preserves, 18 recreational areas, 10 seashores, 4 parkways, 4 lakeshores and 2 reserves.[source]

Geothermal pods pushing back winter's snow in Yellowstone National Park - Credit: NPS/Damon Joyce

6. The “youngest” national park in the United States is Pinnacles National Park, which was established in 2013.

7. National Parks were visited 307 million (307,247,252 to be exact) times in 2015.[source]

8. At 8,323,148 acres, Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska is the largest national park in the United States. The park is larger than each of the 9 smallest states.[source]

9. The smallest national park? Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, at 5,550 acres. It’s 1,500 times smaller than Wrangell–St. Elias.[source]

10. The most-visited national park in the United States is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located in North Carolina and Tennessee.

Tennessee Smokey Mountains National Park - Credit: Zygmunt Spray

11. Want to get away from the crowds in the park? Head north to Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska. It’s the least-visited national park and the northernmost national park. It’s within the Arctic Circle and it has no roads, trails, campgrounds or facilities.

12. California boasts the most national parks of any state with nine parks: Joshua Tree, Channel Islands, Sequoia, Pinnacles, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Lassen Volcanic, Redwood and Death Valley.[source]

13. The National Park System has 18,000 miles of trails. That’s almost a decade of your recommended 5 miles of walking per day.

14. The National Park Service employs 22,000 people and relies of 221,000 volunteers.[source]

15. Fourteen of the National Parks are also designated UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Going-to-the-Sun Road Glacier National Park - Photo Credit: NPS/Tim Rains

Going-to-the-Sun Road Glacier National Park - Photo Credit: NPS/Tim Rains

16. America’s deepest lake, at 1,943 feet, is Crater Lake, in Crater Lake National Park in Oregon.[source]

17. At 282 feet below sea level, the lowest point in a national park is located in Death Valley National Park.

18. Get high in Denali National Park. The highest peak in North America is Denali, formerly called Mt. McKinley, which stands at 20,320 feet tall.

19. The first man to hike that peak? Walter Harper, a native Alaskan Athabaskan who hiked to the top of Denali on June 7th, 1913.

20. Kentucky is home to the largest cave system in the world. It’s Mammoth Cave National Park. Mammoth Cave celebrates 200 years of tours in 2016.

First Light on Turret Arch Framed by North Window - Photo Credit: NPS/Jacob W. Frank

21. The National Parks Conservation Association is researching ways to implement a zero landfill initiative. Visitors at the parks threw away 100 million pounds of trash in 2015.

22. The rocks known as gneisses and schists in Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota were thought to form 2.85 billion years ago. That’s older than the rocks at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. (Source)

23. In Lassen National Park visitors can see (hopefully not experience) “Big Boiler,” one of the hottest fumaroles in the world. A fumarole is an opening that releases sulfurous gases. This fumarole has recorded temperatures up to 322 degrees Fahrenheit.

24. Two national monuments honor women’s history: The Harriet Tubman National Monument in Cambridge, Massachusetts and The Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument in Washington, D.C. (Source)

25. The largest living single-stem tree in the world, called “General Sherman,” stands 275 feet tall in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in California.

Published: 8/25/2016

While traveling the world as a digital nomad, Christina found it difficult to find the fine travel experiences that satisfied her conscience. She started The Wayward Post with Ziggy to help travelers find those travel experiences that are driving positive change and to give the Wayward hat tip to travel-related brands doing the right thing. All while amplifying the work of amazing writers and photographers.

When she's not writing for The Wayward Post, you'll find her working with do-good brands run by amazing people with the marketing agency, ZATWIC. Or maybe just drinking a craft cocktail.  Follow her on Twitter.

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