I received an email asking me “what are the 10 oldest national parks?” The first National Park was Yellowstone created in 1872. Number two was Sequoia National Park in 1890 along with Yosemite National Park the same year. While Kings Canyon National Park was established in 1940, it’s included with Sequoia National Park (they are connected) because Kings Canyon National Park incorporated General Grant National Park when it was created. General Grant National Park was established in 1890 to protect the General Grant Grove of giant sequoias, the same year as Sequoia National Park.
Yosemite National Park established in 1890
Here is a list of the 10 oldest National Parks in the National Park system:
1. Yellowstone National Park (1872)
2. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park (Sequoia 1890)
2. Yosemite National Park (1890)
4. Mount Rainier National Park (1899)
5. Crater Lake National Park (1902)
6. Wind Cave National Park (1903)
7. Mesa Verde National Park (1906)
8. Glacier National Park (1910)
9. Rocky Mountain National Park (1915)
10. Haleakala National Park (1916)
10. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (1916)
10. Lassen Volcanic National Park (1916)
1. To monitor changing habitats for species and the alpine food web.
2. To monitor for indicators of climate change.
3. To monitor water levels.
The scientists visit at least twice a year to monitor the amount of snow that has accumulated and then how much melt has occurred. This has shown that there has been a decrease of the glacier area of more than 50% in the last century:
National Park Service scientists have been monitoring glaciers at Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic national parks to document their rates of growth and decline. Not only are glaciers awe-inspiring elemental forces, but they are absolutely critical resources for northwest ecosystems and for human populations. Glaciers are also the clearest evidence of climate change. Measuring glaciers is not for the faint of heart. Besides snow, ice, blasting winds, and crevasses, the necessary equipment is heavy and the distances on foot are long and go up steeply. This video features the people who do this tough work.
There have been several spectacular ice and rock avalanches at Nisqually Glacier in Mount Rainier National Park (WA) this past week. Some have been caught on video. While nature is beautiful, it’s always important to remember that she also is quite powerful so it’s always important to put safety first when exploring:
The unsung heroes of the National Parks system are the many volunteers. Last year volunteers served over 70,000 hours at Mount Rainier National Park (WA) which would have been the equivalent of Mount Rainier hiring an additional 170 seasonal workers. In fact, for every National Park staff member working, there are 7 volunteers also putting in hours to improve our National Parks. This is a short video that shows the impact that volunteers have in the National Park system:
If you have extra time, there are a lot of parks within the National parks system that could use your help. You can find out all the information you need to volunteer at the National Park Service Volunteer page. You can also follow the National Park Volunteers network on twitter and facebook. Also be sure to take a minute to thank the volunteers you meet at the National Parks for all the work that they do.