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What are some U.S. national parks?

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Quick Answer

There are 59 National Parks in the United States, including Grand Canyon, Arizona; Badlands, South Dakota; Shenandoah, Virginia; and Zion, Utah. Yellowstone in Wyoming-Montana-Idaho and Yosemite in California are popular with visitors.

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Established by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, Yosemite was the nation's first national park. President Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service on August 25, 1916. The largest of the national parks is the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska, and the smallest national park is Thaddeus Kosciuszdo National Memorial, Pennslyvania. More than 292 million people visited national parks in 2014. With a budget of 3.65 billion dollars for 2015, the NPS preserves the cultural and natural resources of the national park system for the education, enjoyment and inspiration of the public.

The most visited national park is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which had more than 10 million recreational visits in 2014. The next most popular park, with 4.7 million visitors, was the Grand Canyon National Park, and Yosemite and Yellowstone followed in popularity. Since 1904, total NPS recreational visits were 12.9 billion, as of July 2015. In most parts of the United States, a national park is within driving distance for visitors to enjoy these national treasures.

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