U.S. World Heritage Sites
What do national treasures like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Independence Hall and Mesa Verde have in common with the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, the Galapagos Islands and the Tower of London?
They are World Heritage Sites. They are such outstanding universally recognized natural and cultural features that they attract the admiration and merit the protection of all people worldwide. They are a heritage Americans share with the world.
The mere mention of their names evokes this nation's heritage and universal human values. Independence Hall honors the key American governmental documents whose words have echoed in struggles for independence and self-government around the world.
The U.S. sites also embrace extraordinary natural wonders in the national parks: the world's tallest trees at Redwood, the Earth's longest underground passageways at Mammoth Cave, North America's largest assemblage of glaciers and peaks above 16,000 feet at Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay, and the world's greatest geyser system at Yellowstone. Similar superlatives can be applied to Carlsbad Caverns, Everglades, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Hawaii Volcanoes, Olympic, and Yosemite.
The inscription of these 23 American properties as World Heritage Sites formally recognizes the respect they hold in the world community. They are linked today through the contemporary successor to the ancient list of wonders of the world--the World Heritage List.