Heron Lake State Park – New Mexico
Many of the early parks and preservation projects accomplished in the United States were through legislative acts by the states. There was recognition of this growing responsibility in a relatively new field of public service. It was through early successes that such American landmarks as Niagara Falls, the California redwoods, and the San Jacinto battleground were saved for prosperity. A few years later, guided by Stephen Mather, the first National Conference on [State] Parks to promote state and other public parks was conceived, organized, convened and actively supported by practically every park and conservation luminary in the country. Held in Des Moines, Iowa in January 1921, it brought together some 200 highly motivated delegates and ignited a “prairie fire” for the development of public parks across America. From the success of this auspicious convocation of modest beginnings grew a national state park movement that has achieved unimaginable success.1 1Adapted from The State Park Movement in America by Ney Landrum
America’s State Parks today include more than 2,200 traditional state parks and more than 8,100 additional areas that provide wonderful outdoor recreation experiences and unique historical, scientific and environmental education opportunities. Eighteen and one-half million acres provide for grand diversity – from the vastness of a half-million acre mountainous landscape, to the colorful intricacies of a living coral reef, to the world’s longest stalactite formation, to the tallest sand on the Atlantic seaboard, to the historic locations where European settlers first came to America, and much more. This mosaic of the natural resources and cultural fabric of America and the splendor of its beauty are enjoyed by 791 million visitors to state parks annually. Both remote and resort in their offerings, America’s State Parks are indeed yours to explore and experience.
Now, as during the past century and the beginning of the state park movement, the support of partners are invaluable to success of parks. America’s State Parks have long been recognized their accessibility, and for their effectiveness and management efficiencies.
Support from individuals, friends groups and corporate America are central to continuing to provide and advance quality outdoor recreation experiences and opportunities in America’s State Parks and safeguard their importance to the nation’s environment, heritage, health and economy.
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