Definition of national park noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


national park

BrE BrE//ˌnæʃnəl ˈpɑːk//
; NAmE NAmE//ˌnæʃnəl ˈpɑːrk//
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an area of land that is protected by the government for people to visit because of its natural beauty and historical or scientific interest Yellowstone National Park The area was designated a national park. See related entries: Hobbies Culturenational parks and protected areasThe idea of national parks began in the US. The majority of them are in western states. The National Park Service is responsible for protecting the natural state of the parks for the benefit of the public. America's parks are so popular that they are being harmed by the number of visitors and their cars. To try to stop this, the National Park Service encourages the development of public transport in the parks.The oldest national park in the world is Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872. The largest US park is Wrangell St Elias in Alaska with 13 000 square miles/34 000 square kilometres. It has few visitors because it is very remote. The most popular park is the Great Smoky Mountains. Many parks are well known for some special feature, such as the Grand Canyon, the Everglades and the Petrified Forest.There are many other sites run by the National Park Service. One of the most visited areas is the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina. (Parkways are roads with parkland either side.) National recreation areas such as the Golden Gate in California also receive many visitors. Most have water sports and other activities. National preserves are similar to national parks but are not as well protected. Companies can even search for oil and gas on them. Many of the national preserves are in Alaska, including the oldest, Denali, established in 1917.The US Bureau of Land Management is in charge of many of the wilderness areas created by Congress. Visitors can camp in wilderness areas if they follow the ‘leave no trace’ policy. Native Americans are allowed to use them for religious ceremonies.National parks are also important as recreation areas in Britain. The land is not in national ownership but is mostly owned by farmers and other private landowners. The first two to be established were the Lake District and the Peak District in 1951 and there are now 15 national parks, which attract many thousands of visitors each year. The New Forest and the South Downs are the most recent additions to the list. The aim is to keep the National Parks as far as possible in their natural state, while balancing the different needs of agriculture, industry, housing and tourism. Many of the people who live in national parks depend on tourists for their living and are used to crowded roads in summer. A more serious problem is that some visitors who go regularly to a national park buy houses in the area as second homes. This means there is less property for local people to buy and many are forced to move.Each park is managed by a National Park Authority. The government provides much of the money to run the parks. National Park Authorities control development within each park, look after public footpaths and run information and study centres. Some of the land in national parks is owned by the National Trust but a lot is privately owned.Some other areas, such as the Gower Peninsula and the Malverns, are officially protected as areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs). They also attract many visitors. Scotland has national scenic areas, including the Cairngorms and Loch Lomond see also nature reserve
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: national park