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The Importance of National Parks



The Importance of National Parks
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.71

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    establishment, lakeshores, tourism, historic, existence, historical, sake, outdoor, military, nineteenth, factor, cultural, educational, maintain, responsibility, distinction
     content words:    Great Smoky Mountains, South Korea, George Catlin, Native Americans, Abraham Lincoln, Yosemite Grant, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, National Park, Ulysses S.


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The Importance of National Parks
By Brenda B. Covert
  

1     Yellowstone. Yosemite. The Great Smoky Mountains. What springs to mind? Most likely, you think of hiking trails. These national parks offer hiking, camping, boating, and other fun outdoor activities. If you're lucky, you may see wild animals roaming freely! The USA isn't the only country to create national parks. Other countries, including Canada, the Bahamas, Kenya, and South Korea, have set up national parks as well. Many people enjoy visiting these parks. National parks exist for the sake of tourism--right?
 
2     Believe it or not, fun wasn't the motivating factor in creating our first national park! The idea for a national park may have come from an American artist in the nineteenth century. George Catlin was very interested in the West and the Native Americans who lived there. He worried about the changes that were heading their way. In 1832 he wrote of his hope that the land could be preserved "by some great protecting policy of government . . . in a magnificent park . . . . A nation's park, containing man and beast, in all the wild and freshness of their nature's beauty!" He and others like him drew attention to the importance of conserving land. The idea was to protect a portion of the wilderness and wildlife so that "progress" couldn't destroy it later.
 
3     In 1864, Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant, which gave Yosemite Valley to California. It was to be preserved as a state park! Then in 1890, the U.S. Congress set aside land to be known as Yosemite National Park. In 1906, Yosemite Valley was ceded from California and added to Yosemite National Park. During the time between Lincoln's grant and the establishment of Yosemite National Park, another national park was born. Ulysses S. Grant signed the act that established Yellowstone National Park in 1872. Located in Montana, Yellowstone won the distinction of being the USA's first national park!

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