Redwoods National and State Parks. Courtesy/NPS
America’s national parks, monuments and lands are uniquely different — in their make-up and their locale — but they all seek to tell a part of America’s story.
Monday, April 16, we kick off National Park Week: one of our nation’s largest celebrations of nature, history and culture. This year is special because it comes as we celebrate 100 years of the National Park Service — that’s 100 years of protecting America’s best idea!
Over that century, our national park system has grown to more than 400 sites, and has inspired many other countries around the world to expand their own national parks.
President Obama understands the importance of protecting America’s special places for future generations. In the seven years since taking office, he’s set aside more than 265 million acres of land and water — that’s more than any other president. And it’s having a huge impact on local communities. Every $1 invested in the National Park Service returns $10 to the U.S. economy.
Gila Cliff Dwellings in New Mexico. Photo by Janet Wei
These places preserve the heritage of cultures that came before ours, like at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument in New Mexico, where visitors can see the shelters erected by people of the Mogollon Culture in the 1200s.
Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan. Photo by Steve Perry
They connect visitors to the incredible, awe-inspiring beauty of nature—from the sandstone cliffs and beaches hugging Lake Superior at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to the breathtakingly beautiful star-scattered night sky at Lassen Volcanic National Park in Northern California.
Regardless of whether we are talking about the Grand Canyon or the Washington Monument, these places all have one thing in common: they belong to you, the American people.
National Park Week is about making connections, exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces, enjoying affordable vacations, and getting closer to nature.