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National Park History

Did you know, today is the birthday of Hot Springs National
Park, Arkansas? In 1832, the U.S. Congress established
the Hot Springs Reservation, thus establishing the
precursor of the current national park. Hot Springs
National Park is the oldest park in the current National Park

It was first discovered by a Spanish Explorer, Hernando de Soto, in 1541. He called it the Land of Vapors. Much later, having been placed in a reservation southeast of Hot Springs in the 19th century, on August 24, 1818, the Quapaw Indians ceded the land around the hot springs to the United States in a treaty. After Arkansas became its own territory in 1819, the Arkansas Territorial Legislature requested in 1820 that the springs and adjoining mountains be set aside as a federal reservation. Twelve years later, in 1832, the national reservation was formed by Congress, granting federal protection of the thermal waters and giving Hot Springs the honor of being the “first” national park. However, Yellowstone national park,  founded in 1872 is still considered by most to be the first. 

It may be America’s smallest national park, yet it is beautiful isn’t it?

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