The Active Times

Which government system protects some of our most prized land, offers affordable recreation and is great for the economy? You guessed it—it’s the National Park System.

Some have called it, “the best idea we ever had.” Others, like Franklin D. Roosevelt, have said there is nothing more American—and who are we to say otherwise? The parks system has preserved little bits of pre-industrial North America, protected animals and plant species from extinction, and educated the population on everything from glacial geology to water pollution.

We can’t stress enough how beneficial National Parks are for the country. But if you need one more reason to love them as much as we do, look no further than their positive effect on the economy.

At a time when it seems that we squander our most important natural resources, we should appreciate our national parks more than ever. The system is one of the few assurances we have that there will always be wilderness land available to the public.

These wilderness havens are among America’s best assets, they represent the nation’s heritage and appreciation for the outdoors. Each of the 59 parks has qualities worthy of official government preservation (and a visit), but we thought it would be interesting to determine which is the best of the best.

We enlisted the help of three new National Park experts this year to lend their expertise and experience to our rankings.

Read more and discover the top 10 best ranked national parks in North America!