The very first National Park was Yellowstone, designated as such in 1872. A few years later, in 1916, the National Park Service was formed, to protect and share these special landmarks, which by then included a few more, like Sequoia and Yosemite, among others.
One of the seven wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon, was designated a National Park in 1919. Living in relative close proximity to it, I have visited it often, and it still never looses its magic. Every day, a cloud, a sunny day, can make a difference in how this vast canyon looks. The amenities around the top have changed over the years, especially on the South Rim, since the ever-growing crowds required more amenities, and ways to help everyone enjoy it. However, the canyon itself is still the same, still as spectacular as ever.
Some of the parks preserve the “work of men”. Mesa Verde was the first park of this kind, designated as such in 1906. With lots of ancient dwellings, the site is spectacular. Like Chaco Canyon, accessible through a dirt road, off the beaten track and quiet, these sites give us a glimpse into the lives of people who came before us.
We have parks protecting areas as diverse as redwood forests, snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes, rainforests, high and low desert areas, and archaeological sites. By designating them National Parks, they are protected, we can enjoy them as much as visitors before us have, and make sure those who come after us will as well.