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National Parks: Discovering the Natural Wonders of the USA

From sand dunes and swamps to skyscraping mountain ranges, active volcanoes and polar tundra, National Parks: Discovering the Natural Wonders of the USA immerses young readers in the amazing biodiversity of America’s special outdoor spaces.

Among the featured parks are New River Gorge, which features one of the deepest gorge rivers in the Appalachians; Mammoth Cave; and Louisiana’s wetlands.

Acadia National Park

The natural beauty of Acadia National Park is awe-inspiring and enchanting. This beautiful region is home to many stunning waterfalls, unique bridges, mystical lakes and majestic ocean views. You can enjoy these sights by taking a scenic drive through the Park or hiking on one of the miles of wooded trails. There are also a number of quaint towns within the park where you can find local shops and restaurants.

Located in northeastern Maine, Acadia is a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers. The park is a combination of rocky coastline, diverse forests and mountain peaks. It is home to Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the Atlantic coast of the United States and offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.

In addition to its rocky shoreline, Acadia is dotted with glacial lakes and ponds, which make for ideal locations for a relaxing afternoon of swimming or fishing. The waterways are also important habitats for the 331 bird species that call the park home.

Acadia National Park was the first national park established east of Mississippi and is still the only national park in the northern New England region. Its history is a story of man’s relationship with nature and is shaped by the Wabanaki people who lived here for thousands of years. Later, it became a summer resort for the wealthy. The dedication and philanthropy of the early year-round and summer residents helped ensure that Acadia National Park would continue to thrive into the future.

The Park is downwind from large urban and industrial areas in the states to the south and west, resulting in periodic high concentrations of air pollutants that can interfere with the health of visitors and cause harm to ecosystems. Climate change is also causing environmental stress that can affect native plants and animals in the Park.

There are a number of campgrounds in and around Acadia National Park, including Blackwoods Campground which is conveniently located near Bar Harbor. There are also a number of hotels, inns and rental cabins within the Park boundaries. If you are not comfortable camping in the Park, there are a number of private campgrounds outside of the Park limits.

Everglades National Park

The Everglades is a place like no other. It’s a completely unique ecosystem that you simply cannot find anywhere else on earth, and that is what makes it such an incredible natural wonder to visit. With an array of wildlife that includes everything from manatees and American crocodiles to West Indian coots and roseate spoonbills, this is the perfect place for nature lovers and animal enthusiasts.

One of the best ways to experience this wonder is by taking a boat ride down the winding waterways of the Everglades. Here you’ll be able to see the many different habitats of this subtropical wilderness, including coastal mangroves, marshes and flatwoods. You’ll also be able to explore areas such as Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary (home to one of the last remaining stands of old-growth cypress trees on earth) and Big Cypress National Preserve (alligator central).

If you really want to see all that the Everglades has to offer, you should try visiting this park at different times throughout the year. This is because the landscape of this unique place changes throughout the year, thanks to environmental factors such as temperature, rainfall, humidity and wild fires.

This is why it’s so important to visit the Everglades at least once in your lifetime. By doing this, you will be able to discover the Everglades for yourself and learn about how its natural beauty has been preserved over time.

The Everglades was not always protected, however. In fact, it was a long and difficult process to get this area of Florida protected as a national park. Many people worked to achieve this, such as the tireless Marjory Stoneman Douglas who wrote a seminal work on the region’s unique ecology and persistent landscape architect Ernest Coe who began politicking for the establishment of a national park.

The Everglades is an iconic part of the American experience and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, Wetland of International Importance and a Specially Protected Area under the Cartagena Treaty. It’s a place that you simply have to visit to truly understand its importance and appreciate how incredible it is.

Niagara Falls

Aside from being famous for Hollywood, New York City and as an economic and military powerhouse, the USA is also home to natural wonders that are guaranteed to take your breath away. Powerful waterfalls, unique deserts, high mountains, eerie volcanic landscapes and more – you’ll find them all within the US national parks.

Whether you’re looking for a place to hike, camp or simply admire the majesty of nature, these stunning protected areas are the perfect spot. These special landscapes are at once culturally significant, approachable and wild, featuring trails that range from ADA-accessible boardwalks to challenging treks that can test the toughest of outdoor athletes.

The US national parks are also home to an array of wildlife, from tiny eyeless fish that live in the dark waters of Mammoth Cave to giant grizzly bears roaming the wilds of Denali National Park. The parks are an integral part of our country’s history, and the NPS is committed to preserving them for generations to come.

One of the most impressive natural wonders in the USA is the mighty Niagara Falls, a spectacular site that has inspired daredevils and romantics alike over the years. Straddling the US-Canada border, this incredible natural phenomenon is an awe-inspiring sight that draws 12 million visitors each year.

While you may know that the US side of the Niagara Falls features a state park and three national historic districts, there is so much more to explore at this remarkable destination. Take a walk on the bridge that spans the American and Bridal Veil falls, or visit the Cave of the Winds to see the waterfall from behind a curtain of falling water.

The American side of the falls is speckled with whitewater-spanning bridges, river islands and curving walkways, designed by seminal landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. The area’s flora and fauna are equally impressive, from the three Sisters Islands named for the daughters of hotel owner Parkhurst Whitney to the diverse flora found in the region.

Located about 70 miles off the coast of Florida, Dry Tortugas National Park is a must-see for any Florida traveler. This UNESCO World Heritage Site features seven keys, coral reefs, endangered migratory birds and a unique tropical ecosystem. You can enjoy the park’s beautiful scenery and beaches, and learn more about its vital role in the country’s history at Fort Jefferson, which is still intact on this stunning island.

Lake Cypress

The wetlands of the Everglades contain a myriad of plants, and the alligators that call them home are among the most fascinating inhabitants of these natural wonders. This subtropical wilderness is also a birder’s paradise.

Located in the midst of a cypress forest, Caddo Lake is the largest naturally-formed lake in Texas. This swampy lake is a moody natural wonder, draped with Spanish moss and flooded with the broad, knotted trunks of cypress trees. Its spooky ambiance is the perfect setting for a quiet paddle in a canoe.

A geologic spectacle that’s equal parts stunning and surreal, the Petrified Forest National Park is home to thousands of fossilized logs, ranging in size from 6ft to nearly 16ft, scattered over a 57-mile stretch of semidesert grassland. The logs were buried under layers of silica-rich volcanic ash before they could decay, preserving them in their original form and revealing the ethereal pinks and blues of their wood.

National parks are more than just spectacular landscapes – they’re living, breathing treasures that provide opportunities for recreation and discovery. But these places – and the creatures and plants that call them home – need our help to thrive. That’s why the National Park Service asks all visitors to practice Leave No Trace principles while visiting our national parks.

This means disposing of waste responsibly, minimizing campfire impacts and staying on marked trails. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that future generations will be able to experience the natural wonders of our national parks for years to come.

The USA has a rich diversity of landscapes to discover, from the frigid peaks of Alaska’s Gates of the Arctic to the subtropical wetlands of Florida’s Everglades. Each of these natural wonders is a destination in its own right, but the United States’ national parks collectively tell a much more complete story of our planet. Whether it’s the vast expanse of the desert in Death Valley, the symphony of waterfalls at Yosemite or the fog lifting off the ridgelines in Shenandoah, these parks have something to offer everyone.

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