Herbert Hoover's National Parks

During Herbert Hoover's presidency from 1929 to 1933, the size of our national forests expanded by more than two million acres, and the land designated for new national parks and monuments increased by 40 percent. Hoover's administration added and expanded numerous national parks. It also carried on work to develop national parks that were completed later, like Mammoth Cave, Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah, and Everglades.

Sepia photo of Herbert Hoover standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon.
Herbert Hoover visiting the Grand Canyon in 1928.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum


National Parks Established by President Herbert Hoover

A red sandstone arch with a desert landscape beyond.
Delicate Arch at Arches National Park in Utah.

NPS Photo

The National Parks established by the Hoover administration are:

Black and photo of Herbert Hoover speaking from a makeshift stage.
Herbert Hoover spoke before a crowd of 75,000 at Kings Mountain in South Carolina in 1930. His presence at the 150th anniversary of the Revolutionary War battle there accelerated the movement to establish it as a national battlefield.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

Sunset on Lake McDonald
Sunset on Lake McDonald at Glacier National Park.

NPS Photo

In 1932, after approval in the US Congress and Canada's Parliament, Hoover proclaimed Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a merger of two adjacent Rocky Mountain parks on each side of the U.S.-Canada border. Glacier and Waterton Lakes national parks are administered by the US and Canada, respectively. International cooperation helps manage the shared watershed and wildlife corridor.

In 1932 President Hoover transferred Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico, into the national park system from the Agriculture Department.

Two parks are in some sources erroneously attributed to the Hoover administration: Badlands National Monument (renamed Badlands National Park in 1978) and Cowpens National Battlefield Site (redesignated Cowpens National Battlefield in 1972). Both were authorized or established on Hoover's inauguration date, March 4, 1929, but by Calvin Coolidge during his final hours in office.


National Parks Enlarged By President Herbert Hoover

By proclamation or executive order, President Hoover added to the lands of the following national parks:

  • Aztec Ruins
  • Bandelier
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Carlsbad
  • Craters of the Moon
  • Hot Springs
  • Katmai
  • Pinnacles
  • Rocky Mountain
  • Scotts Bluff
  • Yellowstone
  • Yosemite

Camp Rapidan

Black and white photo of Herbert Hoover fly fishing in a stream.
Herbert Hoover enjoyed fishing at his Camp Rapidan retreat, which he later donated to Shenandoah National Park.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum

Aside from his official actions, Herbert Hoover made a personal contribution to a national park. Every president needs a place to escape from the cares and burdens of office. For the Hoovers that place was Camp Rapidan, a rustic fishing camp located one hundred miles from Washington in Virginia's scenic Blue Ridge Mountain range and built with $120,000 of the president's own money. Those who visited the camp saw a very different man from the harried executive whose days were blighted by economic crisis. At Rapidan, Hoover could discard the formal gear of Washington for white flannels and a Panama hat. He pitched horseshoes with Charles Lindbergh and, sitting on a log with a British Prime Minister, made plans for a world disarmament conference to be held in London in 1930.

The Hoovers donated their mountain retreat to become part of the new Shenandoah National Park after he left the White House in 1933.

A wooden foot bridge over a small creek leads to a rustic mountain cabin.
The restored Brown House, the Hoovers' cabin at Camp Rapidan in Shenandoah National Park.

NPS Photo


After Herbert Hoover's Presidency

In his post-presidential years, Hoover devoted much time and energy to his legacy and defending his record as president. In 1938, President Hoover and his wife purchased the house where he was born in 1874. His local supporters restored the home and, under the guidance of the president and his family, developed a park around it. The park commemorates Herbert Hoover and his rise from simple beginnings to the presidency of the United States. It became a national park— Herbert Hoover National Historic Site— in 1965, one year after the president's death.

After his presidency, Hoover influenced the protection of Grand Teton and Dinosaur national parks.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 607
West Branch, IA 52358


(319) 643-2541

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