By Dawna Matthews:
I remember looking outside the window of our family car and seeing the world – or the world as I knew it. My family’s vacations were almost always road trips to an exotic location within the United States or Latin America. Most of the time, we would pass through a national park on the way to our final destination. One of our big camping trips was to visit Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. And was it spectacular – the colors, the magic, the animals! The whole park was just awesome, and I have such fond memories of my parents, my sister and brother, and the places we would visit.
National parks were initiated by the United States in 1872, and Yellowstone National Park was the first. Many people recognize such big names as Yellowstone or Grand Canyon, but around the United States and the world, there are several remote, lesser known national parks that are off the beaten path and just as stunning. Following the inception of Yellowstone, other countries started to establish national parks – Australia and Canada being among the first. National parks are large areas owned and maintained by the federal government to preserve nature, history or science for the public. Today there are more than 6,000 national parks in 100 countries that support wildlife and ecotourism. Some countries like the United States and Canada focus on land and wildlife preservation, while others such as Africa focus more on animals.
Summer is approaching, and itʼs an ideal time for families to travel to some of the best the world has to offer – natural beauty, spectacular shows of life, and a reminder of what we need to preserve for future generations. These parks offer something unique: beautiful animals, unforgettable landscapes, geological formations, amazing flora and fauna, or a combination of any or all.
“There is nothing so American as our national parks” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
While you can visit national parks around the world, there are 58 in the United States alone. If you live here or are planning a trip to a certain region of the United States, what better way to experience the best we have to offer than by visiting one of these natural wonders? If you are planning to do this, I recommend purchasing an annual pass so you can visit multiple parks on your vacation.
I am so grateful that my parents would load us and our belongings into the car, and take us to experience these wonders. It is something I will always remember and hold dear to my heart. When you visit a place as majestic as the national parks – no matter which part of the world you are in – you experience something for a lifetime. I am already planning my trip and starting new memories.