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Aluminum Avion C11 truck camper driving down Shafer Road through Canyonlands National Park.

National Park Service

America's Best Idea

The US National Park Service was the first of its kind. These government designated and operated nature preserves have become iconic destinations around the world. Since Yellowstone, the first national park, was designated by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1st, 1872 with the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act, over 50 additional parks have joined the National Park System. Parks span the United States, from Acadia to Yosemite.

In that time, what it means to be a “National Park” has evolved with the demands of each new park and the many people who came to enjoy them. The “See America First” campaign inspired a new era of domestic travel as many with means chose to visit their new national parks over international trips to Europe. A new architectural style—focusing on the use of native, natural materials—was implemented in the creation of roads, structures, and paths. Rangers, a position first held by trained military men, shifted to diversely skilled civilian conservationists. Infrastructure shifted as parks were reached by train and then car.

Yet, with all these changes, the parks are also carefully preserved. Select areas are manicured with paved roads, overlooks, and conveniences for heavy usage while remote regions of the parks remain in a near pristine state. This is wilderness, where rangers work to keep the animals wild and let nature take its course. These are the remnants of a land before combustion engines or even wheels, protected for everyone to share.

It was only natural, in the course of our travels, that we would prioritize National Parks whenever they were nearby. Below, is a collection of our writings.