National Parks are protected areas that have significant or unique natural and/or cultural features. These parks are designed to provide good access and facilities to tourists while protecting the environment from damage. National parks in the United States are run by the National Park Service, which was created in 1916 by Congress. National Parks can only be established by Congress. Generally, National Parks are different from National Monuments, National Historic Landmarks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites; although some of these areas have more than one classification.
How many National Parks are there in the United States?
There are 58 National Parks in the United States and 7 National Parks that have been disbanded. The first National Park created in the US was Yellowstone National Park in 1872. By the time the Congress passed the Organic Act in 1916 to establish the National Park Service there were 18 National Parks in the United States (some of these have since been disbanded). The last National Park to be created was the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, which was given this status in 2004.
Did you know?
The state with the most National Parks is Alaska, with a total of 8. The first National Park in Alaska was Denali National Park and Preserve, which was created in 1917. The remaining 7 National Parks in the state were all created in 1980.