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Area set aside by a national government for the preservation of its natural environment. Most national parks are kept in their natural state. Those in the U.S. and Canada emphasize land and wildlife preservation, those in Britain focus mainly on the land, and those in African nations focus primarily on animals. The world's first national park, Yellowstone, was established in the U.S. by Pres. Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. Canada's first national park, Banff, was established in 1885. Japan and Mexico established their first national parks in the 1930s; Britain's national parks date to 1949. The U.S. National Park Service, established in 1916, now also manages national monuments, preserves, recreation areas, and seashores, as well as lakeshores, historic sites, parkways, scenic trails, and battlefields. See alsonational forest.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on national park, visit Britannica.com.