Myths about US National Parks May 23 2017

National parks are great places to get out in nature and cut loose. Whether it’s rock climbing, hang gliding, or just exploring the beautiful expansive scenery, there’s plenty to keep you coming back. But there are a few misconceptions about our national park system that may be holding you back from fully enjoying these national treasures.

1. Yellowstone was the first national park

Yellowstone was not technically the first national park. Despite common belief, Hot Springs Park in Arkansas was. Hot Springs park was set to be preserved by Congress in 1832, before the presidential term of Ulysses S. Grant, the president who swore in Yellowstone as the first national park. 

2. You don’t need a passport to visit the National Park of American Samoa

Not so. This national part is every bit a part of the National Park System as The Grand Canyon and Yosemite. However, you still need a passport valid for at least six months and a return ticket.

3. The animals are the biggest danger

Our national parks are certainly well populated with bears, rattlesnakes, and other apex predators, but they are not the most dangerous thing you’ll encounter. By far, drowning incidents are deadlier that any animal. Thirty-four percent of deaths in national parks are caused by drowning. So, if you’re going into the water- be fully prepared for rough waters.

4. Haleakala is always hot

Sure, it’s tropical- and granted, a volcano is the main attraction. However, on your way up to the 10,000-foot peak of the largest volcano on Earth, the temperature can drop as low as 30 degrees below sea level averages. Okay, it’s no arctic tundra, just don’t try it in your Bermuda shorts.

5. You can just stroll into National Park Restaurants and get seated any time

This is a pretty basic mistake, really, You should make a reservation. People frequently underestimate how popular these places are. Also, you might not expect these establishments to be of a high level of quality. Well, don’t underestimate them- they are really top notch. So call ahead.

6. All the records are already set

If you’re into extreme climbing or looking to best any kind of outdoor challenge, you may think all the most amazing feats have already been accomplished. The truth is, there’s plenty of records left to be set and challenges to be faced. In 2013, a group of climbers made mountain climbing history in Denali, Alaska and marked the 100th anniversary of the first climbers to reach the peak of North America’s highest peak. So don’t write off your dreams of making it into the Guinness Book of records just yet.