Let’s talk about the importance of national parks. In the modern world, the human population continues to increase which also means that we occupy more space on the planet. Sadly, as we occupy more livable space, it negatively impacts native plants and wildlife.
So about a century ago, it was generally agreed that the pristine nature of the United States should be conserved and preserved for posterity. In March 1872, the United States Congress established the very 1st national park, the Yellowstone National Park.
“National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” — Wallace Stegner
So why are national parks important?
In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of national parks, from its economic impacts to health benefits.
But first, let’s go over what criteria is needed to establish a national park.
- It must possess unique natural, cultural, historical, or recreational qualities
- The area must be in need of protection and no other organization than the National Park Service (NPS) would be able to meet this need
- The area must be able to be protected
The Importance of National Parks: What Are They?
As part of the United States Department of Interior, the National Park Service (NPS) holds the role of preserving our national park system – 391 areas covering more than 84 million acres across all fifty states. These areas not only include national parks but also historic monuments, military and historical parks, battlefields, seashores and lakeshores, recreational areas, and scenic rivers and trails. Other notable landmarks include the White House, the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, etc.
Part of the importance of national parks lies in their rich history. The first established national park was Yellowstone back in 1872. Today, the national park movement has established over one thousand national parks in more than one hundred countries.
After some time, the U.S. government approved extra national parks and landmarks, generally settled on bureaucratic terrains in the West and leveled out of the Department of the Interior.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson marked enactment (the National Park Service Organic Act) making the NPS, another government authority in the Department of the Interior in charge of ensuring the 35 national parks and landmarks. In 1933 an official request moved 56 national landmarks and military destinations to the NPS from the Forest Service and the War Department. (Some time ago, an organization for different landmarks and regular and chronicled zones had been under the aegis of these last two offices).
The General Authorities Act of 1970 emphasized the administration’s expectation to bring every government parkland, just as authentic landmarks and beautiful locales, under the administration of a solitary organization: “the National Park System, which started with the foundation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, has since become to incorporate superlative common, noteworthy, and diversion territories in each district . . . furthermore, that it is the motivation behind this Act to incorporate every single such region in the System. . . .”
The National Park System of the United States currently involves 391areas covering in excess of 84 million sections of land in 49 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands.
NPS deals with just about 400 destinations in the National Park framework covering 84. 6 million sections of land, or 3.4 percent of U.S. land. 79 million sections of land of this are NPS stewardship land, and the rest of the grounds are not governmentally possessed, yet overseen by NPS.
Generally consigned toward the Western U.S., presently the greater part of national park zones are east of the Mississippi River. NPS territories and locales incorporate regular, recorded and recreational regions. Stops in every class are administered by explicit administration frameworks.
Notwithstanding the national park framework, the organization likewise supervises the National Historic Landmarks program and the National Register of Historic Places, including in excess of 8,000 landmarks and statues.
In its conservation work, the NPS offers awards and help to enroll, record and spare notable terrains and areas, to make network parks and entertainment offices, just as moderate conduits and natural life and create trails and scenic routes.
The organization is regulated by a Secretary, designated by the President and affirmed by the Senate. A great part of the office’s tasks is legitimately overseen by the Secretary to the National Park Service Director, who should likewise be affirmed by the Senate.
The NPS regulates 391 units, of which 58 are assigned national parks. As indicated by the National Park Service, the unit assignments include:
– National Park – These are commonly huge characteristic spots having a wide assortment of traits, now and again including huge memorable resources. Chasing, mining, logging, and touching are not approved.
– National Preserves are areas in which Congress has allowed proceeded with open chasing, catching, oil/gas investigation and extraction. Many existing national jelly, without game chasing, would meet all requirements for national park assignment.
– National Recreation Area – Twelve NRAs in the framework is focused on huge repositories and underline water-based entertainment. Five different NRAs are situated close real populace focuses. Such urban parks join rare open spaces with the safeguarding of critical noteworthy assets and significant normal zones in an area that can give outside entertainment to huge quantities of individuals.
– National Seashore – Ten national seashores have been set up on the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific drifts; some are created and some moderately crude. Chasing is permitted at a large number of these locales.
– National Lakeshore – National lakeshores, all on the Great Lakes, firmly parallel the seashores in character and use.
– National River – There are a few varieties to this classification: national waterway and diversion territory, national beautiful stream, wild stream, and so on. The first was approved in 1964 and others were set up following section of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.
– National Trail – National grand trails and national notable trails are the titles given to these direct parklands (more than 3,600 miles) approved under the National Trails System Act of 1968.
– National Parkway – The title turnpike alludes to a roadway and the parkland paralleling the roadway. All were planned for grand motoring along a secured hallway and regularly associate social locales.
– National Monument – The Antiquities Act of 1906 approved the President to proclaim milestones, structures, and different objects of memorable or logical intrigue arranged on terrains possessed or constrained by the legislature to be national landmarks.
– National Historic Site – Usually, a national notable site contains a solitary recorded element that was straightforwardly connected with its subject. Gotten from the Historic Sites Act of 1935 (PDF), various memorable locales were set up by secretaries of the Interior, yet most have been approved by demonstrations of Congress.
– List of National Historic Landmarks by State
– National Historical Park – This assignment, for the most part, applies to memorable parks that reach out past single properties or structures.
– National Memorial – A national dedication is dedicatory of a notable individual or scene; it need not involve a site generally associated with its subject.
– National Battlefield – This general title incorporates national front line, national combat zone park, national war zone site, and national military park. In 1958, an NPS advisory group prescribed national war zone as the single title for all such parklands.
– National Cemetery – There are by and by 14 national burial grounds in the National Park System, which are all managed related to a related unit and are not represented independently.
– Affiliated Areas – In an Act of August 18, 1970, the National Park System was characterized in law as, “any region of land and water now or from now on regulated by the Secretary of the Interior through the National Park Service for park, landmark, notable, turnpike, recreational or different purposes.” The Affiliated Areas contain an assortment of areas in the United States and Canada that save huge properties outside the National Park System. A portion of these have been perceived by Acts of Congress, others have been assigned national memorable locales by the Secretary of the Interior under the power of the Historic Sites Act of 1935. All draw on specialized or monetary guide from the National Park Service.
– Other Designations – Some units of the National Park System bear one of a kind titles or blends of titles, similar to the White House and Prince William Forest Park.
Augmentations to the National Park System are presently for the most part made through demonstrations of Congress, and national parks can be made distinctly through such acts. Be that as it may, the President has specialist, under the Antiquities Act of 1906, to declare national landmarks on terrains effectively under government ward. The Secretary of the Interior is generally approached by Congress for proposals on proposed augmentations to the System. The Secretary is directed by the National Park System Advisory Board, made out of private natives, which exhorts on potential augmentations to the System and arrangements for its administration.
Debate regularly revolves around contending interests over land—to be specific between tree huggers or preservationists and business engineers. Lately, land advancement ventures, weapons, streets and vehicle use have started banter over use and the board of the recreation center framework. Naturalists and creature/untamed life preservationists have acted the hero of a wide scope of fauna – wolves, goats, fowls, pumas. Also, in the meantime, a debate over creationism seethes in the Grand Canyon.
National Park Service Meeting 2008
After over seven years of engaging with preservationists and tree huggers, the Bush Administration as of late sorted out a National Park Service Meeting, in what many see as a modest endeavor to rescue its heritage at last. Set for July 2008. The evaluated $1 million spending plan for the meeting is additionally scrutinized as a superfluous cost—when the organization as of now has a large group of unfunded support to take care of.
Among the commentators are resigned administrator of the Shenandoah National Park and current leader of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, Bill Wade, who considers the to be as a straightforward method to conceal any hint of failure. The move is especially perturbing given the Administration’s flawed record with NPS on natural and advancement issues. Likewise President Bush came into office vowing to tidy up the multibillion-dollar support overabundance in the recreation center framework – yet spoilers call attention to, as authorities head to the gathering to commend achievements – that he is abandoning more issues. Park working spending plans have endured, and the organization has struggled with protectionists over weapons, vehicles, and contamination in the parks.
The Importance of National Parks
The main reason for creating our park system was for the conservation and protection of the environment and its wildlife. Some people have called our National Parks “America’s Best Idea.” Below, you’ll find the reasons are parks are critical to current and future generations of Americans.
1. Protecting Biodiversity
Earth is our home, and it’s also humankind’s most precious resource. So as caretakers of the planet, we need to protect Earth’s biodiversity. It took billions of years for evolution to create a wide diversity of life on the planet.
However, because of our own making, this biodiversity is continuously under threat.
The protection of this diversity of wildlife is one of the reasons why are parks important. Our National Parks protect these many species by providing a sanctuary for the plants and animals whose habitats are too often destroyed by humans.
High levels of biodiversity mean healthier and more resilient ecosystems. This results in the natural ecosystem’s ability to continue providing benefits like climate regulation, pollination, air purification, and more.
The federal government ensures that they can protect our parks from potential abusers. According to the Protection Of Government Property law, violators of these regulations are penalized, with punishment ranging from a $500 fine to three months of imprisonment. Sometimes both.
Image CC0, Public Domain, by Ken Conger, via NPS
2. Leisure and Personal Well-Being
Connecting with Mother Nature is always a life-changing experience. Those who have been experienced the great outdoors come to a realization of just how beautiful our planet is. Most even gain a new perspective on life.
Our parks system provides an opportunity for Americans to experience the vast expanses of the outdoors. Nothing beats a good ol’ camping when it comes to providing a healthy and inexpensive leisure time. Our National Parks showcase the best that nature can offer. Undoubtedly, going to a National Park is one of the few ways to experience nature in its purest form.
From the whales off the coast of the Olympic National Park to the American Bison of the Yellowstone, visitors have an opportunity to see and interact with different forms of wildlife.
On top of that, many National Parks offer different activities like hiking, cycling, camping, kayaking, and more. And as long as park visitors follow the rules and guidelines, they’ll remain safe.
National parks give a one of a kind chance to Americans and guests alike to encounter tremendous scopes of nature. They likewise give access to a striking number of exercises, none of which happen to require versatile Internet.
American parks should be ensured in light of the fact that they stay one of only a handful couple of spots that Americans have left to really encounter nature in a pleasant and various way. They exhibit the best of nature before industrialization twisted our normal scene.
National parks are an incredible way not exclusively to disappear to the serenity of nature, yet to see nature in its actual component. Contingent upon the recreation center, guests can see hundreds, even a huge number of various kinds of untamed life. From the bears of Yellowstone to the local salmon of Olympic National Park, guests of any age can connect with or avoid creatures from varying backgrounds.
The thing about nature is that it gives various relaxation exercises individually. Outside of pausing for a minute to take in the fresh air, guests can likewise partake in some human-based exercises. A portion of the land exercises that guests can participate in incorporate cross-country skiing, climbing, snowshoeing, and open-air diversions. They can even participate in cycling and mountain biking relying upon the recreation center.
Parks that offer access to clean water permit individuals the opportunity to swim, kayak and kayak in a sheltered domain. It is an opportunity for individuals to feel what it resembles to float through water that isn’t chlorinated or vigorously dirtied.
In any case, the National Park Service has likewise been quick to make open doors for relaxation exercises for guests. For instance, Shenandoah National Park made a Kids In Parks trail intended for little kids to have the option to investigate the recreation center by walking.
The national stops likewise offer outdoors openings that enable individuals to encounter nature in an undeniable manner. Huge numbers of the exercises recorded are offered only by the national parks. Ensuring the parks would mean securing significant exercises that give tremendous amusing to Americans and guests.
For a long time, America’s national parks have attempted to give puts that don’t just safeguard history yet in addition advance lives. This improvement isn’t just social, it tends to be physical and otherworldly also. The parks’ capacity to give advancement in individuals’ lives isn’t exclusively founded on the space it offers. The general population behind the parks have attempted to guarantee that the parks add to American wellbeing too. In 2011, the National Park Service propelled its Healthy Parks Healthy People US anticipate.
The objective of this program was to change the recreation center from essentially being a recreational or social space and rather center around being a space that purposefully engaged a national wellbeing procedure. It does not simply offer open doors at national parks. The program gives assets to state and neighborhood parks. Together with researchers, social insurance pioneers, promotion associations and business trendsetters, the National Park Service attempts to utilize its assets to change the manner in which Americans settle on decisions about their way of life.
Through its administration, the parks permit individuals to access to solid encounters and manufacture significant associations in the network all for the sake of more prominent wellbeing. The national park framework couldn’t be at the focal point of this program without the assistance of the government. In this way, it must be ensured.
3. Economic Benefits
In 2017, our National Parks received 331 million visitors. This number just fell short of 90,000 visits, to beat 2016’s record-breaking visits. Most significantly, visitors spend an estimated $18 billion that year, which supported thousands of jobs and added billions to the economic output of the country.
And the economic benefits of National Parks extend beyond the scope of tourism. The natural amenities and recreational opportunities offered by National Parks support businesses and help them retain employees.
While you certainly can’t put any dollar value on these pristine forests and towering peaks, there’s no doubt that the country’s National Parks have a significant economic impact.
4. Centers for Learning
Our National Parks also happen to be America’s largest classrooms.
The park system provides a beneficial contribution to the country’s education system. On top of teaching students about the importance of the environment and why it’s critical to protect nature, the parks also provide actual field experiences and professional development opportunities for students.
There are even centers like the Museum of the National Park Ranger in Yellowstone, where visitors can learn about the history and heritage of National Park rangers in the system.
There are also park services that offer long-distance learning opportunities that allow students to learn about the world around them without the need to leave the classroom. Specifically, using virtual reality programs, students can tour with a park ranger or go whale watching.
5. They Benefit the Environment Overall
When it comes to the importance of national parks, their overall environmental benefits cannot be overlooked. As we previously mentioned, they bring a great amount of joy to people all over the world who come to take part in experiencing the beauty of uncorrupted nature and incredible biodiversity. What makes their service so significant?
National parks enjoy a protected legal status to protect rare and endangered flora and fauna. In a national park, we get to enjoy and discover nature in its uncorrupted state. Think about the soil, plants, air, water, and indigenous life forms. Developing national parks as centers for environmental learning helps us to imitate nature, its rhythms, and preserve life. Besides keeping national parks as a tourist attraction, there are two primary reasons why we should protect national parks around the world.
First, they serve as energy sources. In numerous cases, national parks protect natural resources used for energy generation. The most obvious example here is water. For instance, as indicated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the private hold Eternal Forest of Children in Costa Rica gives water to an organization that creates power and is paid for it in kind.
Second, they preserve natural resources and prevent depletion. Protected regions can help alleviate the effects of cataclysmic events with soil adjustment (for instance, maintaining a strategic distance from torrential slides, avalanches, and disintegration) and diminishing floods (for instance, moderation in little bowls, insurance of alluvial fields and wetlands). They can likewise help in ensuring coasts by utilizing mangroves, sand ridges or coral reefs as tempest hindrances.
What Purpose Does the National Park Service Hold?
The fundamental purpose of any national park is to guarantee the preservation of its normal qualities. The second target of the National Parks administration is to make protection good with residents’ utilization and delight in the common qualities contained in the parks. Third, national parks are at the administration of research and the expansion of logical learning, since they help specialists and researchers find out about the earth we live in and exist with it normally.
Remembering all the above purposes, national parks can provide an impetus for the financial advancement of the districts where they offer an option of various use and steady with a model of personal satisfaction that is progressively dedicated to the preservation of nature.
How Do People Negatively Affect the Earth?
We regularly abuse our environment without considering our action’s negative impacts. The human effect on Earth is deadly. Take a look at the following ways that people negatively affect the Earth.
It is brought about via autos and businesses. They cause respiratory issues in individuals and creatures just as harm plants.
The main source is the dumping of waste into streams and oceans. It causes a reduction in the accessibility of drinking water and aggravates the equalization of certain networks.
Forests are chopped down to get wood and developing territories. This influences the creatures that live in them and causes desertification.
The adjustment of the ozone layer: The presence of the ozone layer is imperative for the conservation of life on our planet. As of late, a few items, for example, pressurized canned products have caused their decay, causing a gap in Antarctica.
This is only a hint of something larger where the human effect on the earth is concerned. Nature endures each day on account of individuals, and this is accurately where national parks come into the image. They help spare the earth.
Who Made the National Park Framework and How Could It Affect Nature?
The principal national park on the planet appeared on first March 1982. U.S. Congress set it up, and President Ulysses S. Award marked it into law. The name of the primary national park was the Yellowstone National Park, and it appeared in Wyoming. As far back as its foundation, Yellowstone has endured essentially on account of people, and human movement has put a critical gouge in the biological system of this national park.
In any case, the national park is hopeful about its future, and as indicated by some proof, the recreation center is relied upon to keep on making due just as thrive. That being stated, it is as yet vital for us to secure this national park and numerous others around the globe.
Human movement and its steady interfering with the earth have prompted a reliable decrease in ecological wellbeing in the course of the most recent couple of decades. The ozone layer consumption, just as the rising degrees of contamination all through the world, is, to be perfectly honest, simply a glimpse of something larger.
Luckily, national parks are a demonstrated aid, and they keep on working for nature. Henceforth, it is our ethical obligation to do everything possible to help protect these parks and guarantee their environment is free from any danger.
The History of Our National Parks
When the U.S. established Yellowstone National Park, it set a historic precedent for the protection of wildlife for the nation’s history. Thanks to John Muir, a well-known advocate of natural landscapes and their preservation, that protection has become a tradition.
Other literary figures also influenced the American appreciation for the wilderness, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau in the 19th century and Jack London in the 20th. But it was travel writer John Muir who first introduced the beauty of the American West into the hearts of the nation.
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.” — John Muir
Since President Abraham Lincoln created the Yosemite Grant Act in 1864, Americans have developed and nurtured a pride for our natural resources and the wonder of our wild spaces. In a historic move, this set into action an unprecedented policy of granting land to the public in general rather than to a private owner. President Ulysses S. Grant then signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act in 1872.
“Laws change; people die; the land remains.” — Abraham Lincoln
U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt (left) and nature preservationist John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, on Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park. In the background: Upper and lower Yosemite Falls. Image CC0, Public Domain, by Carol M. Highsmith, via Wikimedila
President Theodore Roosevelt – a known natural history buff and wildlife advocate, created the U.S. Forest Service. He then signed the Antiquities Act into law in 1906. This gave the U.S. president an addition right to create National Monuments. This act helps to preserve areas of wilderness or historical sites by granting them into public ownership.
President Roosevelt’s main intention was to preserve prehistoric Native American sites and property, and the first site he declared as a National Monument was the Devils Tower in Wyoming.
“We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.” — Theodore Roosevelt
In order to manage all public lands on a federal level, President Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service in 1916. The act that brought all the parks under the authority of the federal government also provided for tourism development. The wildlife within the parks was protected and managed, while concessions and new roads for access helped encourage visitors.
In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt worked with his Civilian Conservation Corp to further protect public lands. He also signed Executive Order 6166, which brought national monuments and cemeteries, like the Washington Monument, the Statue of Liberty, and Gettysburg, under the auspices of the National Parks System.
“There is nothing so American as our national parks…. The fundamental idea behind the parks…is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt
National Archives and Records Administration [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Scope of the National Parks System
While the benefits of preserving nature are obvious, you may not realize just how broad the current scope of our National Parks ranges.
Protected areas even include national parkways – which helps to preserve scenic routes through the landscape for American travelers.
Reservoirs, seashores, heritage sites, and even urban recreation centers remain protected from exploitation thanks to the forward thinking of several American presidents.
Our National Parks system even protects cultural sites that are critical to the nation’s history and identity, including the National New Orleans Jazz historical park, declared by President Bill Clinton in 1994, and the African Burial Ground Monument declared by President George W. Bush in 2006.
“Our National Parks belong to each of us, and they are natural places to learn, exercise, volunteer, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy the magnificent beauty of our great land.” — -George W. Bush
The Future of Our National Parks
While instituted by great American presidents of the past, it takes Congress to create new parks. Unfortunately, however, the Antiquities Act still allows presidents to unilaterally create and de-commission national monuments. Recently, some of our monuments have been called into question by the current president, Donald Trump. Some have been earmarked for review and reduction in order to make way for development.
National Parks are Part of America’s Future
We simply can’t understate the importance of our national parks.
However, despite many decades of efforts, our National Parks are still perpetually in danger. Ranging from industrialization to climate change to deregulation, our parks are very much susceptible to partial or total destruction.
National parks are a valuable part of American culture. These wonders protect both our interest and that of the environment. Because of this, it’s imperative that we do our part in protecting these valuable lands before we lose them forever.
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