100 Facts About the National Park Service (Part 2)

By Christina Maness

Editor’s Note: This is part 2 of a four-part series celebrating the centenary of the National Park Service. Please enjoy reading part one, part three, and part four of this series.

26. The largest gypsum dune fields in the world are found in New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument, which covers 176,000 acres.

27. In 1832, President Andrew Jackson proclaimed land in Hot Springs, Arkansas, as a reservation—40 years before Yellowstone became a national park. Hot Springs was redesignated as a national park in 1921.

28. In 2012 the César Chávez National Monument in California was established to celebrate the Latino leader’s driving role in creation of the first permanent agricultural union in the United States.

29. The longest hike maintained by the National Park Service is the California National Historic Trail, which covers 5,665 miles and ten states. 

30. Yellowstone’s famous geyser, “Old Faithful,” typically erupts every 60-to-110 minutes. Its eruptions range from 106-to-184 feet.

Old Faithful Geyser from Geyser Hill - Diane Renkin-NPS

31. The Hubbell Trading Post, in Ganado, Arizona, is the oldest operating trading post of the Navajo Nation. It’s been open since 1978 and it still operates as a store today under national historic site status.

32. The rock columns at Bryce Canyon, known as hoodoos, are a product of erosion. They are also called tent rocks, fairy chimneys, or earth pyramids. [source]

33. Haleakala National Park, on the island of Maui, was originally part of the Hawaiian National Park before it was declared a separate park in 1961. [source]

34. The Eielson Visitor Center in Denali National Park and Preserve is the first building in the National Park System to be LEED certified as sustainable. The building blends into the landscape and its roof—made of salvaged tundra mats—reduces stormwater run-off. 

35. 134 degrees Fahrenheit. The hottest temperature ever officially recorded. In, yes, Death Valley National Park. The temperature was recorded on July 10th, 1913. 

A stormy backdrop at the Badwater Salt Flats in Death Valley National Park Credit-NPS

36. In 1917 sisters Esther and Elizabeth Burnell became the first women to be designated as naturalists by the National Park Service. They studied in Rocky Mountain National Park.

37. Yellowstone National Park is home to the world’s tallest granite monolith: El Capitan, which stands 3,000ft above the valley floor.

38. Assateague Island National Seashore, which runs along parts of the Maryland and Virginia coast, has made significant strides in its use of solar power. Solar power provides electricity for its Beach Hut convenience store, campground office and ranger station, as well as its restrooms and the lights in the visitor center parking lot.

39. Around 277 miles of river run through the Grand Canyon. At points, the Grand Canyon stretches as wide as 18 miles.

40. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to synchronous fireflies, photinus carolinus, the only species of fireflies in North America capable of cooperating with other lightning bugs to time their flashes at the same time.

Sunrise over the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Photo: Zygmunt Spray

Sunrise over the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Photo: Zygmunt Spray

41. The smallest property managed by the National Park Service is Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Pennsylvania, at 8,61.1 ft². It honors the Polish general for his bravery in the American Revolution. [source]

42. The nation’s first national monument for LGBT people was established in 2016 at NYC’s Stonewall Inn, where the gay rights movement was launched in 1969.

43. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is home to the highest sand dunes in North America, which range from 8,000 to 13,000 feet.

44. In Alabama, history lovers can visit the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, which preserves the airfield where black pilots known as Tuskegee Airmen—depicted in the 2012 movie Red Tails—received flight training before World War II.

45. The First State National Historical Park in New Castle, Delaware celebrates the state’s  achievement of being the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. It’s the only National Park Service-managed site in the state.

Jasper Forest, Petrified Forest National Park - avk - Credit NPS

46. Get your kicks on Route 66 in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park. It’s the only national park that contains a historic segment of this iconic road.

47. The Everglades National Park in Florida protects the contiguous United States’ largest subtropical wilderness. It’s home to rare species like the manatee and the Florida panther. 

48. The largest icefield solely contained within the United States—Harding Icefield—is located in Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska.

49. The fight for women’s equal rights is commemorated in Seneca Falls, New York. The Women’s Rights National Historical Park includes the site of the first Women’s Rights Convention in 1848, as well as Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s home.

50. The volcano known as Kilauea in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park has been erupting continuously since 1983.

Volcanoes National Park, Hawai'i - Photo: Zygmunt Spray

Volcanoes National Park, Hawai'i - Photo: Zygmunt Spray

Published: 8/26/2016

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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