National parks are historical time capsules that preserve flora and fauna so that they can be protected and enjoyed for the longest time possible. With more and more people hitting the road to see the world what can a national park offer? What do over 331 million visitors of national parks every year find so enticing? Where can you go to enjoy the perfect blend of timeless beauty and scenic wonder?
A venerable history
There are many ancient national parks in the world. However one of the most interesting and the oldest national park in the world was set up by the Mongolian government in 1778. Even as early as the 1500s the Bogd Khan Uul National Park was kept ‘off limits’ because of its beauty and sacred nature, by the Ming Dynasty officials at the time. As well as being the oldest national park Bogd Khan Uul has the Bogd Khan Mountain which has over 220 species of plants and rare animals like the Siberian ibex. Hiking when visiting this national park means you will walk through forests of larch trees and also grasslands. The adventurers that climb to the top of the granite cliff peak, Tsetsee Gun, are rewarded, after their six hour round trip, with exquisite views.
The second oldest
Many people credit Yellowstone National Park as being the oldest national park. However, it is 100 years younger in its foundation as a park than Bogd Khan Uul. In 1872 the U.S. Congress and President Ulysses S. Grant established this large area as a protected park. At that time and even today people reside in Yellowstone. There are many reasons to visit Yellowstone and seeing Old Faithful Geyser erupt is one of the main highlights. Old Faithful erupts every 35 to 120 minutes for up to 5 minutes at a time. It is not the highest erupting geyser but it is the most regular, hence the name.
A compelling story
One of the most popular national parks in the world, with an average of 4 million visitors in one year, is Yosemite National Park in the United States. Established in the late 1890s this park was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as early as 1894. Yet protection of this area dates back to President Abraham Lincoln, when in 1864 he signed the ‘Yosemite Grant’ which protected the Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and eventually led to the setting up of the national park as we know it today.
In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt camped in Yosemite and compared the experience to ‘lying in a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hands of man.’ The wonder and beauty of this awe-inspiring place continues to be magnetic.
Choosing which national park to visit is a luxury that you cannot lose. If you base your choice on age then you will be rewarded with history and stories of people throughout the ages, that valued nature. If you base your choice on interest, then you will be rewarded with exactly the same. Setting a life goal of visiting all of the national parks in the world might be a tad ambitions, it might involve thorough logistical planning, with over 1,800 worldwide, but imagine what an adventure that would be.
Now working as a writer, Jackie Edwards started her career in the hospitality and travel industry, but after becoming a mom refocused and decided to spend more time with her family. When she’s not writing, she volunteers for a number of local mental health charities and also has a menagerie of pets to look after.