More than 100 national parks in the United States are having free entrance days five times this year in 2012. To celebrate National Park Week (April 21-29), I've invited an active member of the National Junior Ranger, Surya Balaji, 13 years old, to write today's article.
April 21-29 National Park Week
June 9 Get Outdoors Day
September 29 National Public Lands Day
November 10-12 Veterans Day weekend
The National Parks of America
By Surya Balaji
What are National Parks? Who started them, and why are they so important?
In 1872, Yellowstone became the first National Park in the world. Soon, this idea of preservation and admiration of the land spread across America, and to countries beyond. This is how the system of national parks came into existence. As we celebrate the National Park week, I present to you this write up about my experience with National Parks.
I am an active member of National park Junior Ranger program. Anyone can become a member of this program by visiting the park physically or virtually through nps.gov.
In the 19th century, political figures called for a system of preservation of these landmarks. About 40 years after Yellowstone National Park was found, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act in 1916.
Today, America has 58 national parks, from the Everglades in Florida, to Denali in Alaska. 27 states have national parks. These protected areas are home to special species and types of trees, animals, rock, and earth formation unlike any other.
Among all, my favorite one is Yosemite National Park, in California, which I visited in Spring 2011. Abraham Lincoln first made this a state park, and then, after the national park system was founded, it became a national park.
Yosemite has over 250 different species of animals, like gray foxes, black bears, and mountain deer. A great granite structure, such as Half Dome, elevating to 10,000 feet and beyond creates stunning views over the Valley.
The hiking path up the dome is a less crowded one, due to its taxing length and difficulty. As you trek up the trail, you see the stunning beauty of Nevada and Vernal Falls. When you reach the top, be sure not to miss the unforgettable sunset atop Half Dome.
Don’t think that Half Dome is a perfect place all the time. One of its most famous attributes is its susceptibility to lightning. Geologists call it a natural “lightning rod”. Bridal Veil Falls, at the opening of the valley, is the most popular waterfall at Yosemite. It releases melted snow all through spring forming a beautiful, serene environment. Many smaller streams and falls can be seen throughout the park.
Yosemite is home to the world's famous El Capitan, a granite monolith, sure to enthrall thrill-seekers. At an altitude of 7,600 feet, El Capitan is popular among mountain climbers as a high, vertical challenge, and BASE Jumpers for its elevation. The view from El Capitan overlooks the California wilderness and gigantic sequoia trees.
Protection and conservation of this startling site and many more at Yosemite is imperative to making sure our next generation can also witness these phenomenons of nature.
The other park that visited recently was Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia. This park preserves and venerates Independence Hall, the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and the Liberty Bell, a historic emblem of America’s independence from Great Britain.
This park takes you on a tour through the unknown and intriguing facts about the independence and the bell. You can see the very room that Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Benjamin Franklin signed their names on the Declaration of Independence.
There is still so much more to see and learn from these sites. As the population of the world increases, and more wildernesses are cut down, the welfare of these marvels is questionable.
My personal thanks to Mrs. Looi for giving me an opportunity to pen down my experience with National Parks.
Let's support our National Parks and practice a lifestyle of reduce, reuse and recycle. Leave your comments below for Surya and his generation.
Surya is a 8th grader at Liberty Middle school. He enjoys music, Lego's, Robotics, travelling and spending time with his family. His favorite sport is Tennis. His favorite musician is Yanni. His favorite food is anything that is Vegetarian. He will go to Middleton Magnet for high school. At Middleton he will do the STEM Engineering Magnet. He aspires to become an engineer in the future. Here is a link to one of Surya's creation.