Q. When was the National Park Service Established?

A. On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service. The “Organic Act” states that the fundamental purpose of the National Park Service “is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Q. How many national parks and monuments were there when the National Park Service was created?

A. There were 35 national monuments and parks when the National Park Service was created in 1916. Stephen Mather, a businessman who created the slogan “20 Mule Team” for a detergent company, was the first Park Service Director and played a big role in its expansion. The National Park Service is part of the Department of the Interior.

Q. How many National Park Service Units are there today?

A. As of Feb. 2020, there are 419 official units of the National Park System: 62 National Parks, 84 National Monuments, 19 National Preserves, 57 National Historical Parks, 76 National Historic Sites, 1 International Historic Site, 4 National Battlefield Parks, 9 National Military Parks, 11 National Battlefields, 1 National Battlefield Site, 30 National Memorials, 18 National Recreation Areas, 10 National Seashores, 3 National Lakeshores, 15 National Rivers, 2 National Reserves, 4 National Parkways, 3 National Trails -- and 11 more with specific designations.

Q. The second U.S. national park created is no longer a national park. Can you name it?

A. Mackinac National Park (pronounced Mack-in-aw) consisted of more than 1,000 acres connected to Fort Mackinac, overlooking Lake Michigan. It was established in 1875 and was returned to the state in 1895. Today, Mackinac Island State Park is a summertime hotspot and home to the beautiful Grand Hotel, which has been a mainstay and draw to the island since 1887.

Q. How many acres does the National Park Service protect?

A. The National Park Service protects 84 million acres throughout the United States, plus Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and American Samoa. The land overseen by the National Park Service includes not only national parks, but also national monuments, historic sites, recreation areas, seashores, lakeshores, battlefields, military parks, scenic rivers, and even the White House.

Q. What is the largest park in the National Park Service?

A. The biggest park is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska. It was established in 1980, and it contains 13.2 million acres. It is the same size as Yosemite, Yellowstone and the country of Switzerland combined.

Q. What is the smallest site in the National Park Service?

A. The smallest site is the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Philadelphia. It was established in 1972 and sits on 0.02 acres. Kosciuszko was a close friend of Thomas Jefferson’s who played an important role as a military engineer in the Revolutionary War.

Q. In 1919, about 781,178 people visited National Park Service sites. How many people visited in 2019.

In 2019, 327,516,619 people from around the globe visited America’s national parks, monuments, memorials, historical parks, battlefields, military sites, preserves, recreation areas, seashores, parkways, lakeshores, and reserves.

Q. Which president has the most sites named for them:

A. OK, so this was a trick question! Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt both have the most sites named for them at four:

    • Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site (Kentucky)
    • Lincoln Memorial (D.C.)
    • Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial (Indiana)
    • Lincoln Home National Historic Site (Illinois)

  • Theodore Roosevelt Island (D.C.)
  • Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site (New York)
  • Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site (New York) 
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)

Q. Do you know how many miles of trails are maintained by the National Park Service?

A. There are over 18,000 miles of trails in the National Park System that will take you through some of the most magnificent parts of the country, from remote wilderness paths to interpretive walking tours along city streets. They are just waiting for you to explore!


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