National Parks in the United States
The idea of a national park was first articulated in the early 19th century. In 1810 the English poet William Wordsworth described the Lake District as a ›sort of national property in which every man has a right and interest who has an eye to perceive and a heart to enjoy‹.
The first effort by any government to set aside such protective lands was in the United States, when President Abraham Lincoln signed an Act of Congress on June 30, 1864, ceding the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias (the heart of which would become the world-famous Yosemite National Park) to the state of California.
However, the vision of the National Park was not yet complete in Yosemite, and required the efforts of John Muir to bring it to fruition. Yosemite would not legally become a national park until October 1, 1890.
In 1872, Yellowstone National Park was established as the world's first truly national park. When news of the natural wonders of the Yellowstone were first published, the land was part of a territory.
As of 2005, there are 58 officially-designated National Parks in the United States and its dependent areas. The most famous ones are Canyonlands, Death Valley, Everglades, Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Yellowstone and Yosemite National Park.
The National Park Service (NPS) is the United States Federal Government agency that deals with all National Parks, many National Monuments, and other conservation properties with various designations. It was created on August 25, 1916 by Congress in order 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.‹
Read more about the following parks and practise your English with Reading Comprehension exercises: