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A Tour of U.S. National Parks

by Elizabeth Olson
Photographs by Carol M. Highsmith

The U.S. National Park Service was created on August 25, 1916, by President Woodrow Wilson. In 1872, Yellowstone National Park became the first national park established in the United States and the world. The U.S. National Park System today comprises 379 areas, totaling more than 84 million acres. Follow this slideshow to learn more about some of the National Parks within the United States.

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Zion National Park

The National Park Service describes Zion as "sand castles crowning desert canyons." Visitors can walk through narrow canyon walls and among towering sandstone cliffs of brilliant red, pink, and cream. Zion was established on July 31, 1909, by President William Taft. It was the first National Park established in Utah. In 1920, park visitation was 3,692; in 1996 it reached 2.5 million.

Fun Fact: There are over 250 types of birds spotted in Zion National Park each year.

Carol M. Highsmith, a distinguished and widely published American photographer, began donating her work to the Library of Congress in 1992. The Carol M. Highsmith archive at the Library of Congress includes photos from each of the United States and is expected to eventually contain 100,000 photos. Professionally printed and framed prints of these photos are available at

Next: Acadia National Park


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