What is a National park?
A National Park is an area set aside by the federal government to protect and preserve natural, cultural, or historical resources for the American people. National Parks are places that tell important stories about the country and its people. Parks may protect wild places, scenic wonders and animals, or battlefields, historic buildings and monuments, or rivers, trails and recreation areas.
Resources- Objects, materials, evidence, structures, landscapes, sites, wildlife, ecosystems, etc. Anything of value to humans.
Natural- Caused by nature and natural processes; not caused or created by humans.
Cultural- Related to ideas, customs and social behavior of a society.
Historical- Related to past events.
How does a place become a National Park?
In the United States, a site may be designated as a National Park by an act of Congress. That means law makers in Washington DC vote to create a National Park and then the bill is sent to the President who signs the park into law. In order to be a National Park, a place must have unique resources or be an outstanding example of a particular type of resource. For example, Yellowstone, the first National Park, has truly unique Natural resources, including geysers and canyons, and many realized these features could be lost to development or destroyed by activities like mining. Denali, similarly, was set aside because of the incredible wildlife population, which was in danger of being eradicated by poachers and hunting by mining and railroad crews. Parks like Gettysburg and Independence were protected in order to preserve the battle grounds, buildings, and artifacts that help us remember and understand how our country was created and shaped.
What types of National Parks are there?
There are a lot of different types of national parks and we can tell them apart based on the types of names they are given. Those names might include national park, national preserve, national monument, national memorial, national historic site, national seashore, or national battlefield. Read more here: https://www.nps.gov/articles/nps-designations.htm
The Arrowhead is the symbol of the National Park Service and its design was very well thought out. Each piece of the arrowhead represents a feature protected within National Park Service sites.
Many national parks have their own symbols. At Minute Man, the symbol is The Minute Man statue designed by sculptor Daniel Chester French. What do you notice about the Minute Man and what do you think the pieces mean?
What is the purpose of a National Park once it's been created?
There are 419 different park units in the United States. All of them are part of the National Park Service, which was created in 1916. The National Park Service has a Mission Statement or purpose. Each National Park has a mission or purpose too.
National Park Service Mission
The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.
Minute Man National Historical Park Statement of Purpose
The purpose of Minute Man National Historical Park is to preserve and interpret the significant historic structures and landscapes associated with the opening of the American Revolution which lie along the route of battle of April 19, 1775, and to foster understanding of the events, causes, and consequences of the American Revolution. Another purpose of Minute Man National Historical Park is to preserve and interpret The Wayside, home of major 19th-century American authors.
Now it's your turn!Now that you've learned what it takes to create a National Park, it's your turn to make your own!
What is the name of your park (remember all the different park designations)?
Last updated: July 3, 2020