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Special Report: State Parks

02.14.14

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Special Report: State Parks

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Team

Quantity: 6,624 State Parks in the U.S.
Size: Data Unavailable
Established: 1885

Unlike public lands designated at the federal level, state parks are managed and funded by each state. Designations may include State Parks, State Recreation Areas, State Beaches, State Nature Reserves, or State Historic Sites.

Interesting Facts:

  • State Parks receive 725 million annual visits, compared to 276 million visits to national parks.
  • Created in 1885, Niagara Falls State Park in New York is often recognized as nation’s first state park.
  • Now known as Indian Springs State Park, the land protected and managed by the state of Georgia is unofficially the nation’s oldest, though the park wasn’t designated a state park until 1931.
  • In 1864, the federal government relinquished management of Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove of Sequoias to the state of California, but the preserve never carried the state park designation. It would later become the nation’s second national park in 1890.
  • With the work projects of the post-depression era, the 1930s saw the addition of roughly 800 new state parks through Civilian Conservation Corp and the Works Progress Administration efforts.
  • Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California is the largest state park in the U.S. West and the second largest in the lower 48 states after New York's Adirondack State Park.
  • In its history of Silver Falls State Park (Oregon's largest state park) there have been two attempts to designate the park a National Park, which would make it Oregon’s second National Park after Crater Lake.  Both campaigns, one by June D. Drake and the other by Fred Girod of the Oregon House of Representatives in 2008, have been denied.

Sources:

www.nationalatlas.gov, www.wikipedia.org, maps.google.com, www.openstreetmap.org, www.usbr.gov, www.wilderness.net

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