Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
There has perhaps never been a better time to explore America’s stunning and diverse national parks. During National Park Week, from April 16 to 24, the U.S. will celebrate the variety, beauty, and history of its 394 parks by waiving entrance fees everywhere and holding special events. The parks system covers 84 million acres, encompassing everything from sandy seashores to the White House. Here are a few interesting facts about your national parks to inspire you to explore:
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, was the first land placed under federal protection. In 1832, Congress set aside the land exclusively for the future enjoyment of U.S. citizens—the first time any government took such a step. But not until Congress designated Yellowstone a “national park” in 1872 did our federal government begin its concerted effort to set aside land for environmental conservation. In 1916, the National Park Service was created to administer these protected lands. Today, visitors to Hot Springs National Park can tour the historic Fordyce Bathhouse, watch the park film, Valley of Vapors, stroll through the Bathhouse Row National Historic Landmark District, and of course, take a bath.
Learn more about Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
President Theodore Roosevelt put more U.S. territory under federally protected conservation status than any other president. Commemorate his work with a trip to North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The vast spaces that inspired Roosevelt include a medley of canyons, cliffs, buttes, and bluffs that are home to elk, bison, prairie dogs, golden eagles, and pronghorns. Roosevelt called the badlands “so fantastically broken in form and so bizarre in color as to seem hardly properly to belong to this earth.” You can even see the park on horseback—just like the former president did.
Learn more about Theodore Roosevelt National Park