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Our National Parks

Summer’s just around the corner… and it’ll be time to pack up the old Studebaker and hit the road for the Great Outdoors.

In the U.S.A. there’s a lot of outdoors out there – more than 84 million acres of which are administered by the National Park Service. This vast sweep of territory includes our nation’s most significant historic sites, monuments, memorials, battlefields, recreation areas and – the focus of this blog post – our 62 National Parks.

Handsome illustrated fold-out map brochure on Hawaiian National Park, printed more than 62 years ago.

Our National Park Service is only just over 100 years old, yet it has become the model for the rest of the world and a source of pride for all Americans. Since its creation in 1916 the Service has given our glorious parks a place of profound importance in the federal government, and the maps which have been issued under its auspices, and by various commercial publishers, have given paper collectors and armchair travelers a fascinating focus for pursuing their interests.

Official Mammoth Cave National Park fold-out road map brochure, printed more than 53 years ago.

When the National Park Service was created there were already 14 National Parks, administered under various agencies. The first of these, and the first national park in the entire world, was established in 1872 when President Ulysses S. Grant signed an act designating more than 2,000,000 acres, mostly in what is now the state of Wyoming, as Yellowstone National Park. Eighteen years passed before the creation of our next two National parks, Sequoia and Yosemite, both in California.

Official 1930 Department of the Interior booklet on Yellowstone National Park, printed more than 90 years ago.

Handsome CSAA fold-out road map of Yosemite National Park and part of the San Joaquin Valley, printed more than 35 years ago.

Between that time and 1916, more National Parks joined the list, including Mount Rainer, Crater Lake, Glacier and Rocky Mountain. More recent additions to the list include Great Smoky Mountains (1930), Canyonlands (1964) and Voyageurs (1971). The list today totals 62.

Official 1958 Mount Rainier National Park official map booklet, published by the United States Department of the Interior more than 62 years ago.

Official 1962 Department of the Interior Crater Lake National Park road map booklet, printed more than 58 years ago.

Official 1961 guide to Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

From the beginning, maps of our National Parks have been issued as guides for visitors and inducements to travelers by both the National Park Service itself, as an agency of the Department of the Interior, and private concessionaires and commercial publishers.

Handsome 1957 booklet on Zion National Park, printed more than 60 years ago.

Many of these maps are now desirable collectibles, eagerly sought after and treasured by all lovers of Americana. We are happy to share images of a few of these for your consideration. It there may be others you'd like to share, or if you would like further information on maps of our National Parks, you are welcome to contact us via our contact page or any of our social media.

Handsome booklet on Bryce Canyon National Park, published in 1958 by the United States Department of the Interior — on the park's 30th anniversary.

And, yes, there are interesting, collectible maps for other areas administered by the federal government, including our country’s vast network of National Forests, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture. We look forward to sharing information on them in our future posts..

Fold-out 1985 road map and city directory of Hot Springs National Park and Garland County, printed more than 30 years ago.

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