America has a rich history of national parks, thanks to the National Park Service, which was founded on Aug. 25, 1916.
Here's a comprehensive guide about the first people who discovered, visited and established the areas that are now our 59 national parks.
Acadia (Maine): According to the National Park Service's History of Acadia, Native Americans lived in the area more than 5,000 years ago, but the first written descriptions were penned Sept. 5, 1604 by Samuel Champlain, a Frenchman, when he wrote about the mountain in his journal: "The mountain summits are all bare and rocky..... I name it Isles des Monts Déserts."
In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson announced the creation of Sieur de Monts National Monument and later signed an act establishing Lafayette National Park in 1919. It wasn't until 1929 that the park was known by "Acadia" as we know it today.
American Samoa (America Samoa): The park was established on Oct. 31, 1988 but it wasn't until 1993 that a lease agreement was signed with eight participating villages, according to a park service fact sheet.
"The only native mammal species are three species of bats, including large fruit bats with 3-foot wingspans," reads the fact sheet.
It's thought that the first people arrived in the Samoan Islands from southwest Asia 3,000 years ago, according to the park service site.
Arches (Utah): The first record of Arches is the rock art adorning the sandstone in the park, which has not been dated. However, Archaic Indians are thought to have painted the initial figures and ancestral Puebloans or Utes added additional features, according to the park service site.
President Herbert Hoover signed a proclamation that established Arches as a monument on April 12, 1929 and in 1972, Congress changed the status to a national park, according to the park service.
Badlands (South Dakota): The radiocarbon ages of charcoal from hearths and roasting pits provide an estimate that people inhabited the Badlands 2,305 to 750 years ago, according to "An Adventure in the Depths of Time", a park service bulletin. It wasn't until the 1700s that the Oglala Lakota, the tribe that now co-manages 50 percent of the park, moved to the area.
Badlands was established as a monument in 1939 and became a national park in 1978, according to the Badlands Visitor Guide.
Big Bend (Texas): Big Bend has been inhabited by many groups of people since the Prehistoric Era, according to the park service's "Cultural History of the Big Bend". Explorers such Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca passed through the area looking for gold, silver, land and slaves around 1535 A.D.
The U.S. government passed legislation that would enable Big Bend to be a national park in 1935 and Texas deeded the land on June 12, 1944.
Biscayne (Florida): Physical evidence of Paleo-Indians show that humans migrated to the Florida peninsula over 10,000 years ago, according to the park service. European explorers came to the area in the 1700s, leading to the decimation of the native peoples.
After a long and heated battle, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill that created Biscayne National Monument on Oct. 18, 1968, according to the service.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison (Colorado): On Sept. 7, 1853, Captain John W. Gunnison saw part of the Black Canyon at Lake Fork, which was described in the expedition report as "a stream imbedded in [a] narrow and sinuous canyon, resembling a huge snake in motion," according to the park service. Gunnison's expedition was the first to describe the canyon.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison was promoted from a national monument to a national park Oct. 21, 1999.
Bryce Canyon (Utah): Around 1200 A.D., Paiute Indians lived in the area, according to the park service and the area was used for grazing dating back to the 1870s, with permits issued from 1903 to 1929, according to the site.
J. W. Humphrey, a U.S. Forest Service supervisor, is credited as being instrumental in the creation of the park, according to the park history on the park service site. Humphrey was amazed by the canyon and brought still photographs and movies of it to Washington D.C., which led to articles and publicity.
President Warren G. Harding made Bryce Canyon a national monument on June 8, 1923 and the area was made Utah National Park a year later on June 7, 1924.
Canyonlands (Utah): While Native Americans lived in the area for thousands of years prior, Denis Julien was the first to date his visit, inscribing " D. Julien 1836 3 Mai" and a picture of a boat along the Green River, according to the park service site.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a law establishing Canyonlands National Park September 12, 1964.
Capitol Reef (Utah): Through radio-carbon methods and oral traditions, it is thought that American Indians lived in the area for nearly 10,000 years, according to the park service.
"The Waterpocket Fold Country (in Capitol Reef) was the last territory to be charted in the contiguous 48 states," the park service site said.
Franciscan priests Francisco Atanasio Domínguez and Silvestre Vélez de Escalante recorded their trip as they traveled to Monterey, California in 1776 and Solomon Nunes Carvalho took daguerreotypes of the area in 1853. One image has been identified as the "Mom, Pop, and Henry" formation in the northern part of the park.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a proclamation declaring Capitol Reef National Monument on August 2, 1937 and the monument became a national park on December 18, 1971 through President Richard Nixon.
Carlsbad Caverns (New Mexico): According to a park service bulletin, remnants of cooking ring sites and pictographs of American Indians who lived 12,000 to 14,000 years ago have been found in the park area. In 1724, Francisco Alvarez y Barriero was the first to map the Guadalupe Mountains.
Channel Islands (California): In 1999, a portion of a human femur that had been discovered on the Santa Rosa Island in 1959 was dated to show that the remains of what came to be known as the Arlington Springs Man came from 13,000 years ago, according to park service.
Anacapa and Santa Barbara Islands were declared Channel Islands National Monument by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 26, 1938. In 1979, three more islands in the area were added to the group and Channel Islands National Park was born when Congress passed a bill, according to the park service.
Congaree (South Carolina): According to National Geographic, Congaree was named after the Native American tribe that lived in the area for centuries until the smallpox epidemic took its toll.
Congress designated it as Congaree Swamp National Monument in 1976 and November 10, 2003 it became Congaree National Park.
Crater Lake (Orgeon): While there is little evidence that Native Americans permanently lived on Mount Mazama, artifacts were found in the rubble of an eruption from around 7,700 years ago, according to a park service history brochure. The caldera of Mount Manzama collapsed and Crater Lake is now contained in the middle of the caldera.
On June 12, 1853, John Wesley Hillman, who had financed a trip to find "Lost Cabin" gold mine, came across the lake and called it the bluest water he had ever seen.
William Gladstone Steel was instrumental in working to make Crater Lake a national park, writing proposals and working until it became official May 22, 1902, according to the same brochure.
Cuyahoga Valley (Ohio): Native Americans lived in the area for many years until they signed the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, which "forfeited all lands east of the Cuyahoga River," according to the park service site.
Cuyahoga Valley became a national recreation area on Dec. 27, 1974 when President Gerald Ford signed the bill on a ski vacation, according to a park service brochure. The area became a national park in 2000.
Death Valley (California): Native people lived in the Death Valley area starting "at least the end of the last Ice Age," according to the park service site. The area got its name from a group seeking gold: "The Lost '49ers."
Death Valley became a national monument on February 11, 1933 through President Herbert Hoover's signature, according to a park service visitor guide. Congress made it a national park in 1994.
Denali (Alaska): "The Mountain" has inspired many different names, from "Deenaalee" (Koyukon) to "Tenada" (Russians in 1834) to "Mount McKinley" (Americans in 1897), according to chapter one of Frank North's "Crown Jewel of the North: An Administrative History of Denali".
Dry Tortugas (Florida): Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon discovered the island in 1513 and named it "Las Tortugas" after the turtles living there, according to the Dry Tortugas website. Later, "dry" was added to "warn sailors and visitors that they needed to bring their own fresh water" the site reads. In 1846 construction began on Fort Jefferson, but the fort was never finished.
Fort Jefferson National Monument was designated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Jan. 4, 1935 and the monument was redesignated as Dry Tortugas National Park on Oct. 26, 1992 by Congress, according to the park service site.
Everglades (Florida): Accounts from 16th century Spanish explorers indicate that the Calusa were the dominant tribe in the area, according to the park service site. As the area became more settled by Europeans, "the native people retreated deeper into the Everglades."
The park was established in 1947.
Gates of the Arctic (Alaska): Nomadic hunters and gatherers lived in the area over 13,000 years ago and their descendants still use the land and its resources, according to the park service site. Robert Marshall, a wilderness advocate, gave the park its name when he traveled in the area from 1929 to 1939.
"Marshall called two peaks, Frigid Crags and Boreal Mountain, the gates from Alaska's central Brooks Range into the far north Arctic," the site reads.
President Jimmy Carter designated the area as a national monument in 1978 and the Gates of the Arctic Park and Preserve was established through legislation in 1980.
Glacier (Montana): Native Americans lived in the area more than 10,000 years ago and when Europeans arrived, the Blackfeet, Salish, Pend d'Oreille and Kootenai tribes lived in the area, according to the park service site.
President William H. Taft signed the bill that made Glacier National Park on May 11, 1910, according to the park service's "Through the Years in Glacier National Park".
Glacier Bay (Alaska): Native people lived in the area near Groundhog Bay over 9,000 years ago and others lived in the area for many centuries until a glacier edged them out around 300 years ago, according to the park service site. Captain George Vancouver and Lt. Joseph Whidbey explored and surveyed the area in 1794, according to the park service.
Grand Canyon (Arizona): Evidence of human life is evident from the spear points found around the Colorado Plateau, which indicate people lived in the area during the Pleistocene era (9,500 B.C. to 6,500 B.C.), according to Arizona State University and the Grand Canyon Association. In particular, hundreds of twig figurines dating between 2000 and 1000 B.C. were found in ten caves in the Grand Canyon.
President Theodore Roosevelt made the area a game preserve in 1906 and created Grand Canyon National Monument in 1906, according to ASU and Grand Canyon Association. Grand Canyon National Park was dedicated by Congress in 1919.
Grand Teton (Wyoming): When European explorers came to the valley, Shoshone, Bannock, Blackfoot, Crow, Flathead, Gros Ventre, Nez Perce and others were living there, according to the park service site.
It appears that John Colter passed through the area when he split off from the Lewis and Clark Expedition. A stone with "John Colter" on one side and "1808" on the other was found in 1931 when it was unearthed in a field, according to the park service site.
The first Grand Teton National Park was created by Congress in 1929, according to a document written by Jackie Skaggs. President Franklin D. Roosevelt created Jackson Hole National Monument, which combined Teton National Forest and other federal acres including Jackson Lake in 1943. The two, Grand Teton and Jackson Hole National Monument were combined to create the current park on Sept. 14, 1950.
Great Basin (Nevada): Archeological evidence, particularly pictographs, indicate that Freemont Indians lived in area, according to the park service site. Baker Village, which is located a few miles from the park, is believed to be occupied from 1220 to 1295 A.D.
President Warren G. Harding created Lehman Caves National Monument Jan. 24, 1922, according to the park service site. The monument was abolished when the Great Basin National Park Act of 1986 incorporated the area into Great Basin National Park.
Great Sand Dunes (Colorado): Nomadic hunters and gatherers lived in the area during the Stone Age, according to the park service site. Spanish explorer Don Diego de Vargas became the first European to enter the valley in 1694, but it was Zebulon Pike who was the first to write about the Great Sand Dunes.
"After marching some miles, we discovered ... at the foot of the White Mountains [today’s Sangre de Cristo] which we were then descending, sandy hills When we encamped, I ascended one of the largest hills of sand, and with my glass could discover a large river [the Rio Grande]. The sand-hills extended up and down the foot of the White Mountains about 15 miles, and appeared to be about 5 miles in width. Their appearance was exactly that of the sea in a storm, except as to color, not the least sign of vegetation existing thereon," he wrote in his journal on January 28th, 1807.
Members of the Ladies P.E.O. sent Congress a bill that would make the Great Sand Dunes a national monument and the bill was signed by President Herbert Hoover in 1932. The monument was expanded into a national park and preserve from 2000-2004.
Great Smoky Mountains (Tennessee and North Carolina): Cherokee Indians lived in the mountains when white settlers joined them in the late 1700s, according to the park service site.
"The Cherokee were forcibly removed in the 1830s to Oklahoma in a tragic episode known as the Trail of Tears," according to the site.
When Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in 1934 as a means to protect the forest from extensive logging operations, more than 1,200 land-owners had to leave.
Guadalupe Mountains (Texas): People came and went from the Guadalupe Mountains since 10,000 years ago, with the Spanish arriving in the 1500s, according to the park service site. The area remained relatively peaceful until the Buffalo Soldiers were "ordered in and out of the area to halt Indian raids and secure settlements along the stage route," according to the site. Troops destroyed two camps in the winter of 1869 and the Mescalero Apaches were driven out of the area.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park was dedicated in September 1972, years after the first proposal of its becoming such in 1923.
Haleakalā (Hawaii): Locations in Haleakalā National Park are mentioned in native Hawaiian mele (songs or chants) and legends, according to the park service site. Radiocarbon data indicated that Hawaiians used land in the area around 1164 to 1384 A.D., according to a park service timeline. Captain Cook was the first European to make contact with the Hawaiians in 1778, but the first written record of an ascent of Haleakalā was made by three missionaries in 1828.
Haleakalā Ranch was established in 1888, and Haleakalā was later included in Hawaii National Park when it was created by Congress in 1916. In 1961, Hawaii National Park was separated to create Haleakalā National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Hawaii Volcanoes (Hawaii): Evidence of Hawaiians who lived near the volcanoes include "footprints preserved in the ash of the Kaʻu Desert" from an explosive eruptive event in 1790, according to the park service site. Rev. William Ellis was the first European visitor to the area in 1823.
In 1961, Hawaii National Park was separated to create Haleakalā National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, according to a park service timeline.
Hot Springs (Arkansas): The hot springs were a part of the land acquired by the U.S. with the Louisiana Purchase on April 30, 1803, according to an park service chronology of events. President Thomas Jefferson authorized Dr. George Hunter and William Dunbar to survey the territory, making them the first government officials to visit the hot springs. On Dec. 9, 1804 they wrote about their finds: "An open log-cabin and a few huts of split boards ... for summer encampment ... erected by persons resorting to the springs for the recovery of their health ..."
President Andrew Jackson signed legislation setting the land aside and technically making it the oldest national park, forty years older than Yellowstone National Park, but no legislation was passed to administer the site, so people continued to settle there. The area was was established as Hot Springs National Park on March 4, 1921.
Isle Royale (Michigan): Humans have used the area for mining and fishing since between 800 A.D. to 1600 A.D. when native people mined copper during the mild seasons, according to an article in CopperCountry.com. French explorers were the first to call the island "Isle Royale" and in 1636 in Paris, Laguarde made the first printed mention of the copper near Lake Superior in a list of the resources in the area: "copper, gold, rubies, steel, diamonds, iron, and limestone."
In 1928, an expedition group sent a radiogram to President Calvin Coolidge, asking him to "preserve forever this northern land of woods and lovely waters for the people of this country," according to a park service guide. Eventually, in 1931, Isle Royale National Park was created.
Joshua Tree (California): Archeological evidence of the Pinto culture dating back to 4000 - 8000 years ago was found in the 1930s, according to the park service site.
Minerva Hoyt was instrumental in the creation of Joshua Tree National Monument in 1936 because of her concern about the desert plants, according to the park history found on the site. The monument was later established as a national park on October 31, 1994, through the Desert Protection Bill.
Katmai (Alaska): Few artifacts have been found in the area because of the harsh conditions, but the few that have been found indicate that it was inhabited as early as 6000 years ago, according to chapter one of the National Park Service's "Isolated Paradise: An Administrative History of the Katmai and Aniakchak National Park Units". The first Europeans in near Katmai were Russian fur traders. From 1799 to 1867, Katmai village was a trading post of the Russian American Company.
Kenai Fjords (Alaska): Few native people lived in the area, but "the coast supported an intermittent population of at least a few hundred people over the past 800 to 1,000 years or more" according to the first chapter of Theodore Catton's "A Fragile Beauty: An Administrative History of Kenai Fjords National Park". Russian fur traders were the first Europeans to explore the area.
Kenai Fjords National Monument was established by President Jimmy Carter on Dec. 1, 1978 and Kenai Fjords National Park was established by Carter on Dec. 2, 1980, according to chapter two.
Kings Canyon (California): Humans have lived around the Sierras for thousands of years, according to National Parks Traveler. Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga and his party were the first Europeans to enter the area and discovered a river on Jan. 6, 1806. They named the river El Río de los Santos Reyes: The River of the Holy Kings.
General Grant National Park was established in 1890, according to a park service brochure. Kings Canyon National Park, which included General Grant National Park, was created by Congress and Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, according to the park service site. Kings Canyon and Sequoia have been administered jointly since WWII.
Kobuk Valley (Alaska): Onion Portage, an ancient site where caribou have been herded for thousands of years, indicated that nine different cultures dating back to at least 8000 years ago lived in the area, according to the park service site. The site was discovered by archeologist Louis Giddings after he spoke with Kiana and Shungnak village elders.
Kobuk Valley National Monument was created by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 and was made a national park by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980, according to the park service site.
Lake Clark (Alaska): The first human settlers of the area came 14,000 years ago and were the ancestors of the Dena'ina Athabascan people, according to the park service. In the 18th century, Russians explorers came to the area, according to the History and Culture page of the park service site.
Lake Clark National Monument was designated by President Jimmy Carter on Dec. 1, 1978 and was made a national park and preserve by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act on Dec. 2, 1980, according to a park service fact sheet.
Lassen Volcanic (California): The area was a meeting point for at least four Native American groups: the Atsugewi, Yana Yahi and Maidu, according to the park service site. Jedediah Smith passed through the area in 1828 and two pioneer trails went through the area.
President Theodore Roosevelt signed a proclamation declaring Lassen Peak National Monument on May, 6, 1907, according to chapter one of "Little Gem of the Cascades: An Administrative History of Lassen Volcanic National Park," by Diane L. Krahe and Theodore Catton. President Wilson redesignated the monument as a park on Aug. 9, 1916.
Mammoth Cave (Kentucky): Native Americans discovered and used the cave 4,000 years ago and left it 2,000 years later, according to a park service fact sheet. Settlers rediscovered the cave in the 1790s and slaves mined saltpetre for gunpowder used in the War of 1812.
Congress formed the national park in 1926 and it was officially established July 1, 1941.
Mesa Verde (Colorado): Native people lived in the Four Corners region about 1,400 years ago and lived on the mesa top for 600 years before building cliff dwellings and living there until they moved south in the late 1270s, according to the park service site.
Mesa Verde National Park was created in 1906 to preserve the Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings, according to the park service site. In 1994, the Archeological Site Conservation Program was created to study the over 600 dwellings.
Mount Rainier (Washington): Native Americans first visited over 9,000 years ago and "hunted, gathered and conducted spiritual and ceremonial activities on the mountain," according to a park service brochure. Miners and tourists visited the area in the late 1800s.
Mount Rainier became a National Park on March 2, 1899.
North Cascades (Washington): The first inhabitants of the area were native people who were hunters, fishers and gatherers who used the Cascade Pass as a trade route, according to the park service site. Fur traders who entered the area in the late 1700s were followed by miners, loggers and dam builders in the 1900s, the park service reported.
President Lyndon B. Johnson designated the North Cascades National Park on Oct. 2, 1968, according to the park service site.
Olympic (Washington): The most ancient sign of humans was found just outside the area: a spear-point embedded in the ribs of a mastodon, an animal that is distinctly related to elephants, according to the park service site. Juan de Fuca, a Greek man sailing for Spain, claimed discovery of the area in 1592, but the first well documented exploration was in 1885, made by Lieutenant Joseph P. O'Neil, according to the park service.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the park on June 29, 1938, according to the park service site.
Petrified Forest (Arizona): Evidence of human life spans many years in the Petrified Forest. Artifacts from Paleoindian (around 13,500 to 6000 B.C.) camps to a ceramic jug found from the Late Pueblo III period (around 1300 to 1540 A.D.) have been found in the area, according to a park service site. Spanish explorers' inscriptions from the late 1800s have been found in the area, according to another page on the park service site.
President Theodore Roosevelt created Petrified Forest National Monument on Dec. 8, 1906, according to the park service site. President Dwight D. Eisenhower first approved legislation for Petrified Forest National Park in 1958, but President John F. Kennedy saw it to completion on Dec. 9, 1962.
Pinnacles (California): Arrowheads and bedrock mortars have been found in the park, but much of the area hasn't been archaeologically studied so clear settlement patterns are unknown, according to the park service site.
President Theodore Roosevelt established the area as a national monument in 1908 and President Barack Obama redesignated the area as a national park on Jan. 10, 2013.
Redwood (California): Native Americans lived in the area for many years and were met by settlers once gold was discovered at Trinity River in 1850, according to the park service site. The groups did not coexist peacefully and the state government paid settlers who attacked villages.
President Lyndon B. Johnson established the Redwood National Park on Oct. 2, 1968, which was expanded by 48,000 acres by President Jimmy Carter in March 1978.
Rocky Mountain (Colorado): Native Americans lived in the area for centuries. However, an Englishwoman who was a avid traveler was one of the first to write about the area, according to a park service brochure. Isabella Bird published details about her trip to the area in "A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains." The book created interest about "the region's rugged beauty and 'unprofaned freshness' and paved the way for preservation."
Congress dedicated Rocky Mountain National Park in 1915.
Saguaro (Arizona): Rock art and petroglyphs can be found through the park, indicating that native peoples lived in the area hundreds to thousands of years ago, according to the park service site.
President Herbert Hoover established Saguaro National Monument on March 1, 1933 and Congress redesignated the area as a national park in 1994, according to the park service site.
Sequoia (California): Pictographs and other artifacts indicate the Western Mono Native Americans lived in Sequoia seasonally, according to the Visit Sequoia website. European settlers entered the area in the 1860s.
President Benjamin Harrison signed legislation creating Sequoia National Park on Sept. 25, 1890, according to the park service site. Kings Canyon and Sequoia have been administered jointly since World War II.
Shenandoah (Virginia): The first traces of humans entering the area are from around 8,000 to 9,000 years ago, according to the park service site. European trappers entered the area less than 300 years ago, followed by settlers in 1750. When the park was established, 450 families were relocated from the Blue Ridge.
The park was established December 1935.
Theodore Roosevelt (North Dakota): "Ancient artifacts have not been found in the park either because the land was not inhabited or because erosion has altered the landscape and obliterated or obscured these items," according to the park service site. Many tribes, including the Crow, Blackfeet, Gros Ventre, Chippewa, Cree Sioux and Rocky Boy, came to the area in the early 19th century. Some of these American Indians, including bands of Sioux, were campaigned against by the U.S. army, according to park service's "The US Army and the Sioux". Campaigns were led by General Alfred Sully in 1864 and General Alfred Terry and Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer in 1876.
President Harry S. Truman signed a bill to create Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park on April 25, 1947, according to the park service site. President Jimmy Carter changed it to a national park on November 10, 1978.
Virgin Islands (United States Virgin Islands): The first humans arrived to the Virgin Islands around 1000 to 200 B.C., according to a park service timeline. Different sites include early chiefdom villages and complex ceremonial sites, according to the park service site. Different groups rose and fell in the area, with the Spanish entering the area in 1450 to 1550 A.D., and additional Europeans settling in 1665 to 1733 A.D., according to the timeline. The sugar, cotton, slavery and maritime industries were instrumental to the area in 1733 to 1830 A.D.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a law establishing the creation of Virgin Islands National Park on Aug. 2, 1956, according to the park service site.
Voyageurs (Minnesota): The first people to enter the area arrived nearly 10,000 years ago as the waters of glacial Lake Agassiz receded, according to the park service site. Over 220 pre-contact archeological sites are within the park. French explorer Jacques de Noyon was the first European believes to explore the area in 1688, according to the service on the site.
Voyageurs was authorized by Congress on Jan. 8, 1971 and established on April 8, 1975, according to a park service brochure.
Wind Cave (South Dakota): The Lakota are one tribe of several who have lived in the area since around 1742 to 1877, according to the park service site. Wind Cave is a sacred place for them and is featured in the Emergence Story, an example of their oral history that has many versions depending on the band and family. Alvin McDonald kept a written record of his search for Wind Cave in the early 1890s, according to the park service site.
President Theodore Roosevelt created Wind Cave National Park on Jan. 3, 1903. The boundaries were later expanded.
Wrangell - St. Elias (Alaska): Four Alaska Native groups have ties with the lands in the area: the Ahtna, Upper Tanana Athabascans, Eyak and Tlingit, according to the park service site. Archeological evidence indicates that humans lived in the middle of the Copper Basin for the past 1,000 years. Europeans arrived in the same area in the early 1780s. Lt. Henry T. Allen of the U.S. Army was the first to record geographic observations of the Wrangell Mountains in 1885.
President Jimmy Carter established the area as a monument on Nov. 16, 1978 and designated the area as Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve on Nov. 12, 1980, according to the park service timeline.
Yellowstone (Idaho, Montana and Wyoming): It unclear how long humans have been in the area, but sometime after the last period of ice coverage and before 11,000 years ago, stone tools that have been found in the area indicate that humans arrived, according to the park service site. Daniel Potts was the first to document "Yellowstone's wonders" in a letter that was published in a Philadelphia newspaper, according to the park service site.
Yellowstone was the first national park, established by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, according to the national park site.
Yosemite (California): Archeologists have documented more than 1,500 sites in the park since they started studying in the late 1800s, according to the park service. Native Americans lived in the area for nearly 4,000 years and legends from the Miwok people reference Yosemite, according to the National Park Service. Galen Clark wrote books and articles about the sequoias and Yosemite after he first visited as a part of a pioneer tourist party in 1855, according to the park service.
Congress designated Yosemite National Park on Oct. 1, 1890, according to the park service.
Zion (Utah): Zion has been home for many groups of people since almost 12,000 years ago, including the Anasazi, Paiute and, more recently in the 1860s Mormon pioneers, according to the park service. John Wesley Powell explored the area in 1872 while conducting a western survey, according to the service.
President William H. Taft designated Mukuntuweap National Monument in Zion Canyon in 1909 and in 1919, Congress designated Zion National Park, according to the park service.