What does this mean? Well, perhaps National Park hopping isn’t just for adventure travelers. Here are five fun facts to remember as we celebrate the preservation of our country:
· The National Park Service, the body that oversees the parks today, was created by an act signed by President Woodrow Wilson on August 25, 1916.
· Yellowstone National Park was the first, established by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872.
· The largest park is Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, sprawling a ridiculous 13.2 million acres, or 20,625 square miles. Believe it or not, the park is bigger than the country of Switzerland. One of its flagship landmarks is Mount St. Elias that tops out at 18,008 ft.
· The smallest is Philadelphia’s Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial at 0.02 acres, or 871 square feet. The museum details the life and heroics of Thaddeus Kosciuszko, a Polish engineer who built war fortifications for the Americans during the Revolutionary War, including a major strengthening of the defenses at West Point.
· The place where our nation was founded is a national park and is called Independence National Historical Park. You might know it better by its centerpiece, Independence Hall, shown above, in Old City Philadelphia.
[Photo: M. Edlow]