Air Date: Week of September 20, 1996
Facts about the National Park System on its 80th anniversary.
NUNLEY: Eighty years ago the US Government wanted to establish more control over its scattered national parks and monuments, and so was founded the National Parks System. Today the system is responsible for nearly 370 sites covering more than 80 million acres. That's slightly more than 3% of the nation's total land mass. The smallest site? It's the 870 square feet of the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Philadelphia. The largest is Alaska's Rangall St. Elias National Park and Preserve, which covers more than 13 million acres. The most frequented national park isn't Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, but the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. It was visited by more than 8 and a half million people in 1994. During the government shutdowns of the past year the parks closed for the first time in their history, and some called for increasing fees at the parks so they could support themselves. Congress is now considering a Clinton Administration proposal to allow corporate sponsorship of national parks in exchange for private contributions to keep the parks operating. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.
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