National Parks - Introduction

Thirty states and two U.S. territories have a total of sixty-three National Parks. Yellowstone National Park is the oldest having been granted national park status by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. Next came Sequoia National Park in 1890, Yosemite National Park in 1890, Mount Rainier National Park in 1899, and Crater Lake National Park in 1902. We are fortunate that leaders of vision saw the need to protect these magnificent landscapes from the destructive forces of man’s greed. Artists were responsible in part in spreading the word about these remarkable sights to the venturing public. James David Smillie painted in Yosemite in 1871 and he wrote the Yosemite section of Picturesque America based upon his journal entries and illustrated the article with engravings after his drawings and paintings. Picturesque America, published in 1872, whetted the appetite of Easterners for adventure and began the tourist industry. With summer travel approaching, we thought it would be appropriate to feature artists’ renditions of many of our National Parks.