The Pride of America: Our National Parks

From the founding of the first national park in 1872, the U.S. National Park System has existed to conserve history and protect the vast landscapes ad abundant diversity of life found throughout our nation for the benefit of all future generations of Americans.

A History of Our National Parks


The National Park System includes almost 400 natural, historical, recreational and cultural areas throughout the United States, its territories and island possessions.

The system is made up of:

As well as:

National military parks, national parkways, national recreation areas, national seashores, national scenic riverways, national scenic trails

National Parks Across America

“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.”

Department of the Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior is a U.S. governmental department and serves as steward and guardian of our nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage. Our National Parks Services is an operating unit of the Department of the Interior and was created to oversee the parks, which, prior to 1916, were individually managed.

The National Parks Foundation Mission

The National Parks Foundation, in partnership with the National Parks Service, enriches America’s national parks and programs through private support, inspiring generations of national parks enthusiasts.

In National Parks, You’ll Find:

A Closer Look at Our Parks



Great Smoky Mountains:


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