A national park is an area of land reserved for conservation purposes. National parks are usually created in areas of natural habitat that hasn’t been adversely affected by human development. The aim of this is to protect these environments, and their delicate ecosystems, while still allowing people to visit these areas to enjoy their beauty. Each country has control over their national parks and there are many differences in how these are created and governed. Because each country has a different system, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has developed a set of requirements for defining National Parks that meet their definition. Let’s find out which national park is the largest in the world.
What is the largest national park in the world?
Within the IUCN definitions of a national park the largest in the world is the Northeast Greenland National Park, which is managed by the Greenland Department of Environment and Nature. As the name suggests, this park covers the entire northeastern portion of Greenland. This park was created in 1974 and further expanded in 1988 to cover a total area of 972,000 km2 (375,000 sq mi). This is more than 350,000 km2 (135,000 sq mi) larger than the next largest national park. To give you an idea of the size of the Northeast Greenland National Park, if it was a country it would be the 31st largest in the world! The following map shows the location and size of the national park (marked in red).
Did you know?
This national park is also the most northern national park in the world.
A large part of the Northeast Greenland National Park is part of the Greenland Ice Sheet with smaller areas that are ice free. Despite this, the park is home to many land and aquatic animals. It is estimated that 40% of the world’s population of musk oxen live in the park!