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From magnificent mountains to active volcanoes, and from grand canyons to gushing geysers, the United States is home to some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Americans have been enjoying it for generations thanks to the National Parks system.
140 years after the first park opened, there are 392 National Park areas across the country (in every state except Delaware!) covering 84 million acres that welcome almost 300 million visitors each year. As the number of visitors grow, industry encroaches and as the climate shifts, the preservers of the parks are working to keep the original mission — conservation — in sight so that they can be enjoyed by future generations. This series takes a look at a few of the parks and examines the challenges that America’s “national treasures” are facing.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK
Yellowstone is famous for it’s geysers and breathtaking natural landscape that covers parts of the states of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. The most famous of the 300 geysers in the park is known as Old Faithful, because it erupts every 91 minutes without fail.
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK
Washington State’s Olympic National Park contains three distinct attractions — mountains, ocean and remnants of some of North America’s ancient forests.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
Yosemite’s often breathtaking natural landscapes are often considered the pride of California. Because of that, the park is overrun by visitors and the problems that come with them — garbage, overused hiking trails, and traffic.
ZION NATIONAL PARK
For conservationists, and pretty much anyone interested in enjoying a National Park, one of the main draws to the parks is the idea of exploring an area untouched by people. <br><br>But as the parks system faces budget cuts, some land is being opened to private development. Zion is one park dealing with the consequences of that.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARKS
There are lots of headlines about melting arctic ice, but have you ever thought about what happens to ice that’s located in a more temperate region, like the glaciers that make up this part in Montana? Some of the most famous glaciers there have shrunk by half and only 26 of 150 glaciers found there in 1850 are still in existence.
HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park</h2><p>In addition to the two volcanoes in this national park, you can also visit a number of lava tubes, which are cave-like structures that form when slow-moving lava develops a crust above and below the flow. When it cools, the tubes are left behind.
EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK
Land development and climate change are two big threats to this park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and the largest wilderness of any kind east of the Mississippi River.
BISCAYNE NATIONAL PARK
With a view of downtown Miami, this is one of the newest national parks. It protects the wildlife and coral reefs of Biscayne Bay that are extremely popular with divers and snorkelers. It’s proximity to Miami, as well as ongoing concern about increasing water temperatures and pollution, put the park at risk.
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