Mount Mitchell is the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains and the highest peak in mainland eastern North America. It is located near Burnsville in North Carolina, it is surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest. Mount Mitchell's elevation is 6,684 feet above sea level; the peak is the highest mountain in the United States east of the Mississippi River, the highest in all of eastern North America south of the Arctic Cordillera. The nearest higher peaks are in the Black Hills of South Dakota and the highland foothills of Colorado; the mountain's topographic isolation is calculated from the nearest discernible single higher point: Lone Butte, 1,189 miles away in southwestern Colorado. The mountain known as Black Dome for its rounded shape, was named after Elisha Mitchell, a professor at the University of North Carolina, who first explored the Black Mountain region in 1835, determined that the height of the range exceeded by several hundred feet that of Mount Washington in New Hampshire thought at the time to be the highest point east of the Rocky Mountains.
Mitchell fell to his death at nearby Mitchell Falls in 1857, having returned to verify his earlier measurements. A 4.6-mile road connects the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway to a parking lot where a steep paved 980-foot trail leads through a conifer forest to the summit. The 40-foot stone observation tower on the summit was torn down in late 2006. A new observation deck was constructed and opened to visitors in January 2009. On the summit is the tomb of Dr. Mitchell. Mount Mitchell was formed during the Precambrian when marine deposits were metamorphosed into gneiss and schist; these metasedimentary rocks were uplifted during the Alleghenian orogeny. The soils are well drained, dark brown and stony with fine-earth material ranging in texture from sandy clay loam to loam or sandy loam; the mountain's summit is coated in a dense stand of Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest, which consists of two evergreen species— the red spruce and the Fraser fir. Most of the mature Fraser firs, were killed off by the non-native Balsam woolly adelgid in the latter half of the 20th century.
The high elevations expose plant life to high levels of pollution, including acid precipitation in the form of rain and fog. These acids damage the red spruce trees in part by releasing natural metals from the soil like aluminum, by leaching important minerals. To what extent this pollution harms the high-altitude ecosystem is debatable. While the mountain is still lush and green in the summer, many dead Fraser fir trunks can be seen due to these serious problems. Repairing the damage is a difficult issue, as the pollutants are carried in from long distances. Sources can be local or hundreds of miles or kilometers away, requiring cooperation from as far away as the Midwest. Wildflowers are abundant all summer long. Young fir and spruce trees do well in the subalpine climate, their pine cones feed the birds along with wild blueberry and blackberry shrubs; the second highest point in eastern North America, Mount Craig at 6,647 feet, is a mile to the north of Mount Mitchell. The summit area of Mount Mitchell is marked by a humid continental climate bordering close to a subalpine climate, with mild summers and long, moderately cold winters, being more similar to southeastern Canada than the southeastern U.
S.. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 25.2 °F in January to 59.1 °F in July. The coldest temperature recorded in the state occurred there on January 21, 1985 when it fell to −34 °F, during a severe cold spell that brought freezing temperatures as far south as Miami, it is the coldest average reporting station in the state at 43.8 °F, well below any other station. Unlike the lower elevations in the surrounding regions, heavy snows fall from December to March, with 50 inches accumulating in the Great Blizzard of 1993 and 66 inches in the January 2016 blizzard. Snow flurries have been reported on the summit in the summer months of June and August. Due to the high elevation, precipitation is heavy and reliable year-round, averaging 74.7 inches for the year, with no month receiving less than 5 in of average precipitation. The summit is windy, with recorded gusts of up to 178 mph. List of mountain peaks of North America List of mountain peaks of the United States List of mountains in North Carolina List of U.
S. states by elevation List of Ultras of the United States Mountains-to-Sea Trail The Assault on Mount Mitchell, bicycling endurance Mount Mitchell State Park
The Guadalupe Mountains are a mountain range located in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. The range includes the highest summit in Texas, Guadalupe Peak, 8,751 ft, the "signature peak" of West Texas, El Capitan, both of which are located within Guadalupe Mountains National Park; the Guadalupe Mountains are bordered by the Pecos River valley and Llano Estacado to the east and north, Delaware Mountains to the south, Sacramento Mountains to the west. Archaeological evidence has shown that people lived over 10,000 years ago in and among the many caves and alcoves; the first humans to live here were hunter-gatherers who followed large game and collected edible vegetation. Artifacts that support this include projectile points, baskets and rock art; the first Europeans to arrive in the area were the Spaniards in the 16th century, but they did not make serious attempts to settle in the Guadalupe Mountains. The Spanish introduced horses into the area, nomadic indigenous tribes of the area such as the Apaches soon found horses to be an asset for hunting and migrating.
Mescalero Apaches were nomadic and harvested the agave for food and fiber. Mescalero is Spanish for mescal-maker. Agave-roasting pits and other artifacts of Mescalero culture can be found in the park; the Mescalero Apaches remained in the mountains through the mid-19th century, but they were challenged by an American transportation route at the end of the American Civil War. During the 1840s and 1850s, many people immigrating west crossed the area. In 1858, Pinery station was constructed near Pine Springs for the Butterfield Overland Mail; the Butterfield Overland Mail traveled over Guadalupe Pass located at 5,534 ft above sea level. A cavalry was known as the Buffalo Soldiers was ordered to the area to stop Indian raids on settlements and mail stage routes. During the winter of 1869, Lt. H. B. Cushing destroyed two Mescalero Apache camps; the Mescalero Apache were driven out of the area and into US Indian reservations. Felix McKittrick was one of the first European settlers in the Guadalupe Mountains.
McKittrick Canyon is thought to be named after him. Frijole Ranch was the first permanent ranch house. Frijole Ranch House was the only major building in the region. Today, the Frijole Ranch House operates as a cultural museum. In 1908, Williams Ranch House was built, it was named after one of its inhabitants, James Adolphus Williams. Judge J. C. Hunter from Van Horn consolidated most of the smaller ranches in the area into the Guadalupe Mountain Ranch. In 1921, Wallace Pratt, a geologist for Humble Oil and Refining Company, was impressed by the beauty of McKittrick Canyon and bought the land to build two homes in the canyon. Both constructions were used as summer homes by Pratt and his family until 1960. Wallace Pratt donated about 6,000 acres of McKittrick Canyon which became part of Guadalupe Mountains National Park; the Guadalupe Mountains reach their highest point at Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas, with an elevation of 8,751 feet. The range lies east of the Brokeoff Mountains; the mountain range extends north-northwest and northeast from Guadalupe Peak in Texas into New Mexico.
The northeastern extension ends about 10 miles southwest of Carlsbad, near White's City and Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The mountains rise more than 3,000 feet above the arid floor of the Chihuahuan Desert; the Guadalupe Mountains are surrounded by the South Plains to the east and north, Delaware Mountains to the south, Sacramento Mountains to the west. The northwestern extension, bounded by a dramatic escarpment known as "The Rim", extends much further into New Mexico, to near the Sacramento Mountains; the range is bounded on the north by Four Mile Canyon. Much of the range is built from the ancient Capitán Reef that formed at the margins of a shallow sea during the Permian period; the Guadalupian epoch of the Permian period is named for these mountains, the Capitanian age within this epoch is named for the Capitan reef. For details on the area's geology, see Delaware Basin; as the range is built up entirely of limestone, upland areas have little or no surface water. The only significant surface water is McKittrick Creek, in McKittrick Canyon, which emerges from the eastern side of the massif, just south of the New Mexico border.
Elevations at the base of the range vary from 4,000 feet above sea level on the western side to 5,000 feet on the east. Several peaks on the southern end exceed 8,000 feet; the Guadalupe Mountains experience hot summers, mild autumn weather, cool to cold weather in winter and early spring. Snow storms, freezing rain, or fog may occur in early spring. Frequent high-wind warnings are issued during winter through spring. Late summer monsoons produce thunderstorms; the nights are cool in summer. Three major ecosystems are contained within the mountain range. First, deserts exhibit salt flats on the western side of the national park and creosote desert, with low elevations on the east covered with grassland, pinyon pine, junipers such as alligator juniper and one-seeded juniper. Secondly, canyon interiors such as McKittrick and Pine Springs Canyon on the southeast end exhibit map
A mountain range or hill range is a series of mountains or hills ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form and alignment that have arisen from the same cause an orogeny. Mountain ranges are formed by a variety of geological processes, but most of the significant ones on Earth are the result of plate tectonics. Mountain ranges are found on many planetary mass objects in the Solar System and are a feature of most terrestrial planets. Mountain ranges are segmented by highlands or mountain passes and valleys. Individual mountains within the same mountain range do not have the same geologic structure or petrology, they may be a mix of different orogenic expressions and terranes, for example thrust sheets, uplifted blocks, fold mountains, volcanic landforms resulting in a variety of rock types. Most geologically young mountain ranges on the Earth's land surface are associated with either the Pacific Ring of Fire or the Alpide Belt.
The Pacific Ring of Fire includes the Andes of South America, extends through the North American Cordillera along the Pacific Coast, the Aleutian Range, on through Kamchatka, Taiwan, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, to New Zealand. The Andes is 7,000 kilometres long and is considered the world's longest mountain system; the Alpide belt includes Indonesia and Southeast Asia, through the Himalaya, Caucasus Mountains, Balkan Mountains fold mountain range, the Alps, ends in the Spanish mountains and the Atlas Mountains. The belt includes other European and Asian mountain ranges; the Himalayas contain the highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest, 8,848 metres high and traverses the border between China and Nepal. Mountain ranges outside these two systems include the Arctic Cordillera, the Urals, the Appalachians, the Scandinavian Mountains, the Great Dividing Range, the Altai Mountains and the Hijaz Mountains. If the definition of a mountain range is stretched to include underwater mountains the Ocean Ridges form the longest continuous mountain system on Earth, with a length of 65,000 kilometres.
The mountain systems of the earth are characterized by a tree structure, where mountain ranges can contain sub-ranges. The sub-range relationship is expressed as a parent-child relationship. For example, the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Blue Ridge Mountains are sub-ranges of the Appalachian Mountains. Equivalently, the Appalachians are the parent of the White Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains, the White Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains are children of the Appalachians; the parent-child expression extends to the sub-ranges themselves: the Sandwich Range and the Presidential Range are children of the White Mountains, while the Presidential Range is parent to the Northern Presidential Range and Southern Presidential Range. The position of mountains influences climate, such as snow; when air masses move up and over mountains, the air cools producing orographic precipitation. As the air descends on the leeward side, it warms again and is drier, having been stripped of much of its moisture.
A rain shadow will affect the leeward side of a range. Mountain ranges are subjected to erosional forces which work to tear them down; the basins adjacent to an eroding mountain range are filled with sediments which are buried and turned into sedimentary rock. Erosion is at work while the mountains are being uplifted until the mountains are reduced to low hills and plains; the early Cenozoic uplift of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado provides an example. As the uplift was occurring some 10,000 feet of Mesozoic sedimentary strata were removed by erosion over the core of the mountain range and spread as sand and clays across the Great Plains to the east; this mass of rock was removed as the range was undergoing uplift. The removal of such a mass from the core of the range most caused further uplift as the region adjusted isostatically in response to the removed weight. Rivers are traditionally believed to be the principal cause of mountain range erosion, by cutting into bedrock and transporting sediment.
Computer simulation has shown that as mountain belts change from tectonically active to inactive, the rate of erosion drops because there are fewer abrasive particles in the water and fewer landslides. Mountains on other planets and natural satellites of the Solar System are isolated and formed by processes such as impacts, though there are examples of mountain ranges somewhat similar to those on Earth. Saturn's moon Titan and Pluto, in particular exhibit large mountain ranges in chains composed of ices rather than rock. Examples include the Mithrim Montes and Doom Mons on Titan, Tenzing Montes and Hillary Montes on Pluto; some terrestrial planets other than Earth exhibit rocky mountain ranges, such as Maxwell Montes on Venus taller than any on Earth and Tartarus Montes on Mars, Jupiter's moon Io has mountain ranges formed from tectonic processes including Boösaule Montes, Dorian Montes, Hi'iaka Montes and Euboea Montes. Peakbagger Ranges Home Page Bivouac.com
Denali is the highest mountain peak in North America, with a summit elevation of 20,310 feet above sea level. With a topographic prominence of 20,156 feet and a topographic isolation of 4,629 miles, Denali is the third most prominent and third most isolated peak on Earth, after Mount Everest and Aconcagua. Located in the Alaska Range in the interior of the U. S. state of Alaska, Denali is the centerpiece of Preserve. The Koyukon people who inhabit the area around the mountain have referred to the peak as "Denali" for centuries. In 1896, a gold prospector named it "Mount McKinley" in support of then-presidential candidate William McKinley. In August 2015, following the 1975 lead of the State of Alaska, the United States Department of the Interior announced the change of the official name of the mountain to Denali. In 1903, James Wickersham recorded the first attempt at climbing Denali, unsuccessful. In 1906, Frederick Cook claimed the first ascent, proven to be false; the first verifiable ascent to Denali's summit was achieved on June 7, 1913, by climbers Hudson Stuck, Harry Karstens, Walter Harper, Robert Tatum, who went by the South Summit.
In 1951, Bradford Washburn pioneered the West Buttress route, considered to be the safest and easiest route, therefore the most popular in use. On September 2, 2015, the U. S. Geological Survey announced that the mountain is 20,310 feet high, not 20,320 feet, as measured in 1952 using photogrammetry. Denali is a granitic pluton lifted by tectonic pressure from the subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the North American Plate; the forces that lifted Denali cause many deep earthquakes in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. The Pacific Plate is seismically active beneath Denali, a tectonic region, known as the "McKinley cluster". Denali has a summit elevation of 20,310 feet above sea level, making it the highest peak in North America and the northernmost mountain above 6,000 meters elevation in the world. Measured from base to peak at some 18,000 ft, it is among the largest mountains situated above sea level. Denali rises from a sloping plain with elevations from 1,000 to 3,000 ft, for a base-to-peak height of 17,000 to 19,000 ft.
By comparison, Mount Everest rises from the Tibetan Plateau at a much higher base elevation. Base elevations for Everest range from 13,800 ft on the south side to 17,100 ft on the Tibetan Plateau, for a base-to-peak height in the range of 12,000 to 15,300 ft. Denali's base-to-peak height is little more than half the 33,500 ft of the volcano Mauna Kea, which lies under water. Denali has two significant summits: the South Summit is the higher one, while the North Summit has an elevation of 19,470 ft and a prominence of 1,270 ft; the North Summit is sometimes counted as sometimes not. Five large glaciers flow off the slopes of the mountain; the Peters Glacier lies on the northwest side of the massif, while the Muldrow Glacier falls from its northeast slopes. Just to the east of the Muldrow, abutting the eastern side of the massif, is the Traleika Glacier; the Ruth Glacier lies to the southeast of the mountain, the Kahiltna Glacier leads up to the southwest side of the mountain. With a length of 44 mi, the Kahiltna Glacier is the longest glacier in the Alaska Range.
The Koyukon Athabaskans who inhabit the area around the mountain have for centuries referred to the peak as Dinale or Denali. The name is based on a Koyukon word for "high" or "tall". During the Russian ownership of Alaska, the common name for the mountain was Bolshaya Gora, the Russian translation of Denali, it was called Densmore's Mountain in the late 1880s and early 1890s after Frank Densmore, an Alaskan prospector, the first European to reach the base of the mountain. In 1896, a gold prospector named it McKinley as political support for then-presidential candidate William McKinley, who became president the following year; the United States formally recognized the name Mount McKinley after President Wilson signed the Mount McKinley National Park Act of February 26, 1917. In 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson declared the north and south peaks of the mountain the "Churchill Peaks", in honor of British statesman Winston Churchill; the Alaska Board of Geographic Names changed the name of the mountain to Denali in 1975, how it is called locally.
However, a request in 1975 from the Alaska state legislature to the United States Board on Geographic Names to do the same at the federal level was blocked by Ohio congressman Ralph Regula, whose district included McKinley's hometown of Canton. On August 30, 2015, just ahead of a presidential visit to Alaska, the Barack Obama administration announced the name Denali would be restored in line with the Alaska Geographic Board's designation. U. S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell issued the order changing the name to Denali on August 28, 2015, effective immediately. Jewell said the change had been "a long time coming"; the renaming of the mountain received praise from Alaska's senior U. S. senator, Lisa Murkowski, who had introduced legislation to accomplish the name change, but it drew criticism from several politicians from Pres
A stagecoach is a four-wheeled public coach used to carry paying passengers and light packages on journeys long enough to need a change of horses. It is sprung and drawn by four horses. Used before steam-powered rail transport was available a stagecoach made long scheduled trips using stage stations or posts where the stagecoach's horses would be replaced by fresh horses; the business of running stagecoaches or the act of journeying in them was known as staging. Familiar images of the stagecoach are that of a Royal Mail coach passing through a turnpike gate, a Dickensian passenger coach covered in snow pulling up at a coaching inn, a highwayman demanding a coach to "stand and deliver"; the yard of ale drinking glass is associated by legend with stagecoach drivers, though it was used for drinking feats and special toasts. The stagecoach was a closed four-wheeled vehicle drawn by hard-going mules, it was used as a public conveyance on an established route to a regular schedule. Spent horses were replaced with fresh horses at posts, or relays.
A simplified and lightened form of stagecoach, known as a stage wagon, mud-coach, or mud-wagon, was used in the United States under difficult conditions. These were the vehicles. In addition to the stage driver or coachman who guided the vehicle, a shotgun messenger armed with a coach gun might travel as a guard beside him. A stagecoach traveled at an average speed of about 5 miles per hour, with the average daily mileage covered being around 60 to 70 miles.'Stage' referred to the distance between stage stations on a route but through metonymy it came to be applied to the stagecoach. The first crude depiction of a coach was in an English manuscript from the 13th century; the first recorded stagecoach route ran from Edinburgh to Leith. This was followed by a steady proliferation of other routes around the island. By the mid 17th century, a basic stagecoach infrastructure had been put in place. A string of coaching inns operated as stopping points for travellers on the route between London and Liverpool.
The stagecoach would depart every Monday and Thursday and took ten days to make the journey during the summer months. Stagecoaches became adopted for travel in and around London by mid-century and travelled at a few miles per hour. Shakespeare's first plays were performed at coaching inns such as Southwark. By the end of the 17th century stagecoach routes ran down the three main roads in England; the London-York route was advertised in 1698: Whoever is desirous of going between London and York or York and London, Let them Repair to the Black Swan in Holboorn, or the Black Swan in Coney Street, where they will be conveyed in a Stage Coach, which starts every Thursday at Five in the morning. The novelty of this method of transport excited much controversy at the time. One pamphleteer denounced the stagecoach as a "great evil mischievous to trade and destructive to the public health." Another writer, argued that: Besides the excellent arrangement of conveying men and letters on horseback, there is of late such an admirable commodiousness, both for men and women, to travel from London to the principal towns in the country, that the like hath not been known in the world, and, by stage-coaches, wherein any one may be transported to any place, sheltered from foul weather and foul ways.
The speed of travel remained constant until the mid-18th century. Reforms of the turnpike trusts, new methods of road building and the improved construction of coaches led to a sustained rise in the comfort and speed of the average journey - from an average journey length of 2 days for the Cambridge-London route in 1750 to a length of under 7 hours in 1820. Robert Hooke helped in the construction of some of the first spring-suspended coaches in the 1660s and spoked wheels with iron rim brakes were introduced, improving the characteristics of the coach. In 1754, a Manchester-based company began a new service called the "Flying Coach", it was advertised with the following announcement - "However incredible it may appear, this coach will arrive in London in four days and a half after leaving Manchester." A similar service was begun from Liverpool three years using coaches with steel spring suspension. This coach took an unprecedented three days to reach London with an average speed of eight miles per hour.
More dramatic improvements were made by John Palmer at the British Post Office. The postal delivery service in Britain had existed in the same form for about 150 years—from its introduction in 1635, mounted carriers had ridden between "posts" where the postmaster would remove the letters for the local area before handing the remaining letters and any additions to the next rider; the riders were frequent targets for robbers, the system was inefficient. Palmer made much use of the "flying" stagecoach services between cities in the course of his business, noted that it seemed far more efficient than the system of mail delivery in operation, his travel from Bath to London took a single day to the mail's three days. It occurred to him that this stagecoach service could be developed into a national mail delivery service, so in 1782 he suggested to the Post Office in London that they take up the idea, he met resistance from officials who believed that th
A summit is a point on a surface, higher in elevation than all points adjacent to it. The topographic terms acme, apex and zenith are synonymous; the term top is used only for a mountain peak, located at some distance from the nearest point of higher elevation. For example, a big massive rock next to the main summit of a mountain is not considered a summit. Summits near a higher peak, with some prominence or isolation, but not reaching a certain cutoff value for the quantities, are considered subsummits of the higher peak, are considered part of the same mountain. A pyramidal peak is an exaggerated form produced by ice erosion of a mountain top. Summit may refer to the highest point along a line, trail, or route; the highest summit in the world is Everest with height of 8844.43 m above sea level. The first official ascent was made by Sir Edmund Hillary, they reached the mountain`s peak in 1953. Whether a highest point is classified as a summit, a sub peak or a separate mountain is subjective; the UIAA definition of a peak is.
Otherwise, it's a subpeak. In many parts of the western United States, the term summit refers to the highest point along a road, highway, or railroad. For example, the highest point along Interstate 80 in California is referred to as Donner Summit and the highest point on Interstate 5 is Siskiyou Mountain Summit. A summit climbing differs from the common mountaineering. Summit expedition requires: 1+ year of training, a good physical shape, a special gear. Although a huge part of climber’s stuff can be left and taken at the base camps or given to porters, there is a long list of personal equipment. In addition to common mountaineers’ gear, Summit climbers need to take Diamox and bottles of oxygen. There are special requirements for crampons, ice axe, rappel device, etc. Geoid Hill – Landform that extends above the surrounding terrain Nadir Summit accordance Peak finder Summit Climbing Gear List
National Park Service
The National Park Service is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior; the NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management, while making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment. As of 2018, the NPS employs 27,000 employees who oversee 419 units, of which 61 are designated national parks. National parks and national monuments in the United States were individually managed under the auspices of the Department of the Interior; the movement for an independent agency to oversee these federal lands was spearheaded by business magnate and conservationist Stephen Mather, as well as J. Horace McFarland. With the help of journalist Robert Sterling Yard, Mather ran a publicity campaign for the Department of the Interior.
They wrote numerous articles that praised the scenic and historic qualities of the parks and their possibilities for educational and recreational benefits. This campaign resulted in the creation of a National Park Service. On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill that mandated the agency "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." Mather became the first director of the newly formed NPS. On March 3, 1933, President Herbert Hoover signed the Reorganization Act of 1933; the act would allow the President to reorganize the executive branch of the United States government. It wasn't until that summer when the new President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, made use of this power. Deputy Director Horace M. Albright had suggested to President Roosevelt that the historic sites from the American Civil War should be managed by the National Park Service, rather than the War Department.
President Roosevelt issued two Executive orders to make it happen. These two executive orders not only transferred to the National Park Service all the War Department historic sites, but the national monuments managed by the Department of Agriculture and the parks in and around the capital, run by an independent office. In 1951, Conrad Wirth became director of the National Park Service and went to work on bringing park facilities up to the standards that the public expected; the demand for parks after the end of the World War II had left the parks overburdened with demands that could not be met. In 1952, with the support of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, he began Mission 66, a ten-year effort to upgrade and expand park facilities for the 50th anniversary of the Park Service. New parks were added to preserve unique resources and existing park facilities were upgraded and expanded. In 1966, as the Park Service turned 50 years old, emphasis began to turn from just saving great and wonderful scenery and unique natural features to making parks accessible to the public.
Director George Hartzog began the process with the creation of the National Lakeshores and National Recreation Areas. Since its inception in 1916, the National Park Service has managed each of the United States' national parks, which have grown in number over the years to 60. Yellowstone National Park was the first national park in the United States. In 1872, there was no state government to manage it, so the federal government assumed direct control. Yosemite National Park began as a state park. Yosemite was returned to federal ownership. At first, each national park was managed independently, with varying degrees of success. In Yellowstone, the civilian staff was replaced by the U. S. Army in 1886. Due to the irregularities in managing these national treasures, Stephen Mather petitioned the federal government to improve the situation. In response, Secretary of the Interior Franklin K. Lane challenged him to lobby for creating a new agency, the National Park Service, to manage all national parks and some national monuments.
Mather was successful with the ratification of the National Park Service Organic Act in 1916. The agency was given authority over other protected areas, many with varying designations as Congress created them; the National Park System includes. The title or designation of a unit need not include the term park; the System as a whole is considered to be a national treasure of the United States, some of the more famous national parks and monuments are sometimes referred to metaphorically as "crown jewels". The system encompasses 84.4 million acres, of which more than 4.3 million acres remain in private ownership. The largest unit is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. At 13,200,000 acres, it is over 16 percent of the entire system; the smallest unit in the system is Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, Pennsylvania, at 0.02 acre. In addition to administering its units and other properties, the National Park Service provides technical and financial assistance to several "affiliated areas" authorized by Congress.
The largest affiliated area is New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve at 1,164,025 acres. The smallest is Benjamin Franklin National Memorial at less than 0.01 acres. Although all units of the Nat