The Surprising History Behind America’s National Parks

The Surprising History Behind America’s National Parks

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In 1916, Woodrow Wilson signed the National Parks Service into law, which now spans 30 states and 84 million acres of land. Here is the surprising history behind America’s national parks.

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Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

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Originally founded in 1890, President Woodrow Wilson made the Grand Canyon a national park after an aide told him how long the echo is after you yell “penis” into the gorge.

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Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

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Officially recognized as a national park in 1994, Joshua Tree obtained protected status after dedicated conservationists realized the area was in grave danger of hosting a future EDM festival.

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Kyle’s Parents’ Summer House

Kyle’s Parents’ Summer House

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Even the federal government had to recognize the importance of a place right on the beach with a hot tub and no adults for the whole weekend.

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Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park

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Founded in 1890, John Muir designated Kings Canyon a national park as part of a massive marketing campaign to make the Grand Canyon seem better by comparison.

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Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park

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In 1962, the Petrified Forest was declared protected land in order to stop developers from turning the entire state of Arizona into a golf course.

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Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

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Grand Teton National Park was actually a gift sent overseas from France in 1886 after they realized the Statue of Liberty looked like shit.

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Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

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This became a national park in 2000 because Ohio kept bitching about not having one.

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Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

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Formed in 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant declared Yellowstone the first national park after he saw a sick-ass YouTube video of a bison slamming into a screaming family’s minivan.

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Mt. Fuji

Mt. Fuji

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Standing at over 12,000 ft tall, FDR claimed Mt. Fuji as a U.S. national park in 1941 as retaliation for the Pearl Harbor Bombings.

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Zion National Park

Zion National Park

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Established in 1919, Woodrow Wilson dedicated this majestic Utah park to hikers who really seemed to get off on defecating in public.

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Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

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Visitors and conservationists like John Muir were inspired to preserve the trees of Sequoia National Park in order to one day build a 400-foot bed frame.

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Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

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It’s hard to believe due to its breathtaking size, but Bryce Canyon actually formed over millions of years by erosion from tourists’ spit.

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Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

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The Rocky Mountain Range is the only geological formation in the United States to have a train full of light beer bust out of it, solidifying its status as a national park in 1915.

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Pleasure Zone Adult Video Store

Pleasure Zone Adult Video Store

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Just head down the i44 and get off the first exit in Rolla, Mo. You’ll know it when you see it.

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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As part of the Great New Deal, FDR created this park so that cheapskate husbands can take their wives somewhere nice for free.

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Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

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In 1864, conservationists convinced President Lincoln to declare a public trust of California in order to protect the space from Native Americans who had wrongfully claimed the land.

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Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park

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Made a national park in 1934 to prevent development that might disturb secrets best left swallowed by the swamp.

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Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns

Illustration for article titled The Surprising History Behind America’s National Parks

This giant area was utterly useless until leases for oil and gas drilling were opened in 2020.

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