The United States created the world’s first national park on March 1, 1872, when President Ulysses S. Grant signed legislation setting aside Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Before the century was out, the country had four more parks – General Grant (now Kings Canyon), Sequoia, and Yosemite in California, and Mount Rainier in Washington. By that time the idea of preserving stretches of wilderness was spreading to other countries.
Today the United States has the finest, most extensive system of national parks in the world with about 400 parks, historic places, monuments, battlefields, preserves, and more. As the conservationist J. Horace McFarland observed, “The parks are the nation’s pleasure grounds and the nation’s restoring places. . . . [They] are an American idea. . . . These great parks are, in the highest degree, as they stand today, a sheer expression of democracy.”
Provided courtesy of The American Patriot’s Almanac. For information go to: www.NPS.gov.