NATIONAL PARKS

National Parks

a. General Information

 There are 62 parks in the United States even though there are 421 sites in the National Park System website.   They bring in 327 million visitors a year.  Can you name the largest one?  If you guessed Yellowstone, you’d be wrong.  It is Wrangell-St. Elias in Alaska at 13.2 million acres. 

The biggest area does not bring in the biggest crowds.  That honor goes to the Great Smoky Mountains capturing 12.5 million visitors each year.  If you guessed Yellowstone you’d be wrong again.  Yellowstone saw 4 million visitors in 2019 behind Grand Canyon, Rock Mountain, Zion, and Yosemite. 

But, Yellowstone is the granddaddy becoming the first National Park in 1872 when president Ulysses S. Grant signed the National Parks law.  There is only one Park that resides in three states.  Yellowstone takes that honor as well.  It is primarily in Wyoming but it has parts within the borders of Idaho and Montana. 

California has the most at 9, followed by Alaska with 8 and then Utah with 5.  Almost half the states (24) have no National Park.  Two territories, American Samoa and Virgin Islands, each have 1.

b. Names and Links to Each Park

National Park Name

State

Acadia

Maine

Arches

Utah

Badlands

South Dakota

Big Bend

Texas

Biscayne

Florida

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Colorado

Bryce Canyon

Utah

Canyonlands

Utah

Capitol Reef

Utah

Carlsbad Caverns

New Mexico

Channel Islands

California

Congaree

South Carolina

Crater Lake

Oregon

Cuyahoga Valley

Ohio

Death Valley

California

Denali

Alaska

Dry Tortugas

Florida

Everglades

Florida

Gates of the Arctic

Alaska

Gateway Arch

Missouri

Glacier Bay

Alaska

Glacier

Montana

Grand Canyon

Arizona

Grand Teton

Wyoming

Great Basin

Nevada

Great Sand Dunes

Colorado

Great Smoky

North Carolina

Guadalupe

Texas

Haleakalā

Hawaii

Hawai’i Volcanoes

Hawaii

Hot Springs

Arkansas

Indiana Dunes

Indiana

Isle Royale

Michigan

Joshua Tree

California

Katmai

Alaska

Kenai Fjords

Alaska

Kings Canyon

California

Kobuk Valley

Alaska

Lake Clark

Alaska

Lassen Volcanic

California

Mammoth Cave

Kentucky

Mesa Verde

Colorado

Mount Rainier

Washington

American Samoa

American Samoa

North Cascades

Washington

Olympic

Washington

Petrified Forest

Arizona

Pinnacles

California

Redwood

California

Rocky Mountain

Colorado

Saguaro

Arizona

Sequoia

California

Shenandoah

Virginia

Theodore Roosevelt

North Dakota

Virgin Islands

Virgin Islands

Voyageurs

Minnesota

White Sands

New Mexico

Wind Cave

South Dakota

Wrangell-St. Elias

Alaska

Yellowstone

Wyoming

Yosemite

California

Zion

Utah

c. Guided Tours

There are private guided tours that are available for most of the Parks.  Affordable Tours.com discusses a few tours ranging in costs from $1,000 to $15,000 and durations from 5 to 24 days.  

Quorvita does not vouch for or recommend any particular guided tour.  A few operators include:

and many others. 

d. Medical Facilities

There are medical facilities or medical care in or around many of the Parks.  The National Park Service outlines medicine and hospitals associated with the national parks.  Wilderness & Environmental Medicine provides information in this area.   The US Department of Interior published a Survey Report in 1996 on Emergency Medical services for the National Park Service.   Those traveling with supplemental oxygen are addressed in the Oxygen Concentrator Store

e. Plants & Animals at National Parks

The National Park Service provides information on the Plants and Animals at the various parks.   Some of this website links show pictures and discuss the various animals and plants at the parks.

f. Safety

In a city, it is dangerous to cross the street when the light is green.  Driving 50 mph over the speed limit or not stopping at a stop sign spells high risk.  Obvious to humans these things are hidden to animals.  When we travel into the animal kingdom, the roles are reversed. 

Some animals are cute and friendly looking crying for a photo shoot, but can be extremely dangerous.  The Moose is a prime example.  Never turn your back to a wolf or bear and run. 

Backing to the edge of a cliff to take a selfie is foolhardy, along with feeding the wild animals or getting between a mother and its cub.   When camping in as tent, it is advisable not to keep your food inside the tent with you.  Don’t pitch your sleeping bag over a nest of ants, and snacking on strange berries and mushrooms may have nasty consequences. 

Don’t start a fire when it is prohibited, or outside a fire pit, or when it is windy, or when you do not have ample water available to put it out, or allow the fire to burn when you retire for the night.  Don’t get lost is always good advice.  Don’t use friends as bear bait, and because you can run faster than your friend that is not a solution. 

The National Park Service has many great tips on how to stay safe when inside the park.   The National Geographic organization has many tips, and The Parks Expert provides useful hints for bear safety. 

g. National Parks Connection to Healing Fear

Can you guess which fears that this Joy can help cure?  Here are a few suggestions:

  • The immense size and dimensions leaves most visitors with a sense of awe.  This suggests that it might help with those with a fear of wide open spaces (agoraphobia).  
  • It requires navigation skills to find the your way to and within the parks.  This means that the fear of becoming lost is reduced.

Can you name any other fears that may be calmed by visits to the National Parks?  

  • Fear of insects?
  • Fear of dogs?
  • Fear of  Birds?
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