Quote of the Month:

“Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” — John Muir

Washington National Parks

Parent Category: Washington Parks & Refuges
Created: 04 March 2016

 Photo from Hurricane Hill Trail, Olympic National Park

The amazing beauty of nature, its uniqueness and wilderness is now preserved by the government in various parks, recreation areas, nature reserves and wildlife refuges. National Parks became extremely popular lately among residents and tourists of the areas of their location, attracting hundreds of millions of visitors attending the national parks each year. They became for people a way to escape from everyday bustle and routine life and to reunite with nature, enjoying the unforgettable, breathtaking landscapes and various outdoor activities which these parks may offer.

National Parks are often called “National Gems” or “National Treasures”, and no wonder why, as only the most worthy places can obtain such a status, and any state will be proud to become a home for a national park. 

There are various criteria for assigning the status of a national park to a territory, and they differ in almost every state, but among main criteria is the remarkable landscape beauty of the place, some unique geological elements, various possibilities for outdoor recreation, unusual or rare ecosystems (or several different ecosystems within a park). These criteria may be considered separately or together. 

The United States of America became the country where the first National Park was created (Yellowstone National Park in 1872). Though there were some territories in Europe under national protection, for example Drachenfels in Germany, established in 1822, and a part of French Forest of Fontainebleau (1861), but such types of protected areas as national parks haven’t existed until 1872.

Nowadays the amount of national parks, created in the United States, has reached the number 59. The oldest one, as it was already mentioned, is Yellowstone National Park, established on March 1, 1872 by President Ulysses S. Grant, and occupying the territory of 3,472 acres in three states – Wyoming (most of its territory is located in this state), Montana and Idaho. The most recently created national park is Pinnacles National Park, established on January 10, 2013 and covering the territory of approximately 26,000 acres in California State. 

National Parks are operated and managed by National Park Service and for their creation an act must be signed of the United States Congress.

1916 became the year of creation by the Organic Act of the National Park Service. Its mission and purpose was the conservation of scenic natural and various prominent historical objects and the wildlife inhabiting them, to preserve them for the generations to come. 

This year, 2016, is really significant for the National Park System, as on August, 25 it will celebrate its 100th anniversary. 

Nowadays twenty-seven states have national parks, some of them have several (California State, for example, has the most number – 9 national parks).

Washington State became a home for 3 incredible national parks: Mount Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park and Olympic National Park. 

Photo from Mount Rainier National Park 

Mount Rainier National Park

Established in 1899, Mount Rainier National Park became the 5th national park in the US. Covering the territory of 236,381.49 acres, this remarkable park amazes with the abundance of wildlife and variety of plant species. The central feature of the park is, no doubt, Mount Rainier – the highest mountain in Washington State and number three mountain in the list of American ultra-prominent mountain peaks, this amazing natural giant (which has 14, 410 feet at its highest point). Besides of that, Mount Rainier is an active stratovolcanoe, which is currently “sleeping”.

Unique plant and animal life together with a wide range of various outdoor recreation activities available at the territory of Mount Rainier National Park, attract approximately two million visitors annually.

 Photo from the Yellow Aster Butte Trail, Mt. Baker Area, North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park

The gorgeous North Cascades region received some protection even before it obtained the National Park status, as in 1897 it was allocated as a Forest Reserve. But activists were sure that this incredible region really needed a greater level of protection, which could be provided by a National Park status. But the North Cascades National Park was established only on October 2, 1968, occupying nowadays the territory of 504,780.94 acres

Currently the North Cascades National Park is viewed as one (and definitely the largest) of 3 units, constituting the North Cascades National Park Service Complex. Another two units of this complex are the Ross Lake National Recreation Area and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. The park offers an extremely wide range of recreation activities with the glaciated mountains of North Cascades being one of the most popular places among hikers, climbers and avid skiers.

Photo of Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, Olympic National Park  

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park occupies the most territory of the Olympic Peninsula.

Covering the area of 922,650 acres, Olympic National Park is one of the most unique national parks of the United States, amazing natural diversity of which attracts more than three million visitors annually. 

Established on June 29, 1938 it continues to fascinate people coming from all over the world to enjoy this splendid treasure of Washington State. 

Beautiful coastline, breathtaking rainforests, gorgeous mountain peaks of the Olympic Mountains – Olympic National Park has everything to satisfy the demands and wishes of the most picky visitors.

 

 

Photo: Roman Khomlyak

Photo Editing: Juliana Voitsikhovska

Information: Svetlana Baranova

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