When Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan titled their 2009 documentary and guide challenge “The National Parks: America’s Finest Concept,” it was fairly arduous to argue. I imply, sure, there’s the web and the bacon cheeseburger, however come on – Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Glacier, et cetera, et cetera? They have been positively a fairly rattling good thought.
Right here’s why we expect so:
1. The Superlatives
The best level in North America (Denali), the bottom level in North America (Badwater Basin in Loss of life Valley), the very best peak within the Decrease 48 (Whitney), the tallest tree on the earth (Hyperion), are all in U.S. national parks.
2. Getting Away And Not Getting Away
Sure, national parks will be crowded with vehicles and vacationers, however most of us perceive that getting a mile or two from the trailhead normally ditches the crowds. No park illustrates this higher than Yellowstone, well-known for its visitors and crowds of a whole lot watching Previous Devoted erupt, but in addition containing probably the most distant (furthest from a street) spot within the Decrease 48.
3. The Services
As a result of should you’re gonna put some buildings in a wild place, you would possibly as properly be capable to purchase a beer on the backside of the Grand Canyon (Phantom Ranch) or sleep in a bunkhouse on the foot of the Tetons (Grand Teton Climbers’ Ranch), or order a cup of espresso at 11,796 ft (Rocky Mountain National Park Alpine Guests Heart).
4. A Little Assist
Ed Abbey would in all probability scoff on the chains (and the paved path) going up Angels Touchdown in Zion National Park, and the cables on Half Dome, however for 1000’s of people that would by no means have in any other case had the expertise of climbing to these locations, these facilities are fairly nice. However let’s cease in need of the proposed Grand Canyon tramway, lets?
5. The Leisure
You possibly can stand in El Cap Meadow scanning the ocean of granite for climbers, or shoot images of grizzly bears or moose from the bus in Denali National Park, or watch the herds of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park. However don’t feed the squirrels. Anyplace. Thanks.
6. The Range
Ocean cliffs in Maine, 750-foot-tall sand dunes in Colorado, 20,000-foot peaks in Alaska, tropical wetlands in Florida, the busy freeway working by America’s busiest national park (Nice Smoky Mountains) to the utterly roadless, trailless Gates of the Arctic National Park, the spectrum of landscapes within the U.S. national park system is kind of superb.
7. These Previous WPA Posters
Of Grand Teton NP, Yellowstone, Glacier-the originals. And among the re-creations, too.
8. Free Maps!
They’re not a hell of lots of good for mountain climbing, however it’s arduous to unfold a national park map and never want you had extra trip time.
9. They Present Off Utah
We’re fairly large followers of Utah’s desert. Included in Utah’s National Parks: The steep hovering sandstone partitions of Zion canyon (Zion NP), the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, the world’s highest focus of sandstone arches (Arches NP), and the striped needles of Canyonlands National Park. And Capitol Reef isn’t too dangerous both.
10. Alaska Too
No offense to the opposite states, however Alaska has eight national parks. Eight.
11. Free Entrance Days
Of which there are 5 in 2020, and 4 remaining: April 18 (first day of National Park Week), August 25 (NPS birthday), September 26 (National Public Lands Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day).
12. We Invented the Concept
Truth: Yellowstone National Park, in 1872, was the world’s first national park. The idea has since caught on.
Photograph by Aiddy/Flickr.