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National Park Quiz 8: Firsts

Who is this man, and what's he doing in this quiz? (Hint: See question No. 9.) NPS Photo.

There is a first time for everything -- every innovation, every event, every development, every activity, every you-name-it. And so it is that the storied history of the National Park System is loaded with firsts. Take this little quiz and see if you can be the first to answer all the questions correctly. Answers are at the end. No peeking!

1. The first unit of the National Park System to have “National Park” as part of its title was
a. Yellowstone National Park
b. Grand Canyon National Park
c. Wind Cave National Park
d. Yosemite National Park

2. The first national park created specifically to preserve the works of humans was
a. Mesa Verde National Park
b. Colonial National Historical Park
c. Independence National Historical Park
d. Roger Williams National Memorial

3. The first national park created entirely from private land and without federal funding was
a. Everglades National Park
b. Shenandoah National Park
c. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
d. Acadia National Park

4. The oldest National Park created east of the Mississippi River is
a. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
b. Acadia National Park
c. Shenandoah National Park
d. Mackinaw Island National Park

5. The first President to establish a national monument by proclamation was
a. Woodrow Wilson
b. Theodore Roosevelt
c. William Howard Taft
d. William McKinley

6. The first national park to have a museum and offer campfire programs was
a. Arches National Park
b. Yellowstone National Park
c. Mesa Verde National Park
d. Grand Canyon National Park

7. Designated in 1984, the first ______ in the National Park System is still the only one.
a. National Battlefield Park
b. International Historic Site
c. National Reserve
d. National Shrine

8. In 1935 the designator ______ was used for the first time to name a unit of the National Park System.
a. National Historic Site
b. National Monument
c. National Parkway
d. National Recreation Area

9. Harry Yount, the first civilian park ranger, assumed his duties at ______ in 1891.
a. Yellowstone National Park
b. Yosemite National Park
c. Sequoia National Park
d. Shiloh National Military Park

10. In ______ an Irish woman by the name of Annie Moore became the first immigrant processed through the immigration/deportation center at Ellis Island, a site now preserved as the Ellis Island National Monument.
a. 1888
b. 1890
c. 1892
d. 1894

Extra credit

11. Yellowstone National Park, which was established in 1872, is generally considered to be the first national park in America and the world. However, some say that _____ earned that distinction because its preservation marked the first time in history that a federal government set aside scenic lands for the main purpose of protecting them and providing public recreational access.
a. Sequoia National Park
b. Glacier National Park
c. Mount Rainier National Park
d. Yosemite National Park

Answers: (1) c (2) a (3) d (4) b (5) b (6) c (7) b (8) a (9) a (10) c (11) d – Yosemite’s claim to being the first national park is generally dismissed because the state of California was responsible for the administration of the park after it was created in 1864 and Yosemite didn’t become a true national park until 1890. Grading: 9 or 10 correct, rest on your laurels; 7 or 8 correct, pretty darn good; 6 correct, passably fair; 5 or fewer correct, nothing to brag about.


Tough quiz this week - only seven right! The first question was a really good one (and one I was unaware of - that Yellowstone was originally desigated as simply "Yellowstone Park"), but question #10 was tough simply for the sake of being tough.

I'd also like to quibble with question #4. The honor of the first National Park east of the Mississippi probably belongs to Mackinac National Park, which was later delisted. A number of other areas of the National Park System east of the Mississippi were also set aside earlier including Rock Creek Park (like Yellowstone only missing the "National" in its name - albeit "not like Yellowstone" in so many other ways), Ford's Theatre, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Statue of Liberty, the original five Civil War Battlefields (Chickamauga & Chattanooga, Anitetam, Shiloh, Gettysburg, Vicksburg), and to be real nit-picky about it, the Chalmette Battlefield, which is now part of Jean Lafitte NHP&Preserve, is located on the eastern bank of the Mississippi.

And finally - what no question about Hot Springs National Park? Hot Springs, of course, was set aside as a Reservation in 1832.... 32 years before Yosemite and 40 years before Yellowstone!

Jeez, Sabattis, now I gotta take ten minutes out of a busy day just to deal with your questions and make sure my weaselspeak is as bulletproof as I can make it. :-) Don't be downtrodden that you missed #1. Until now only four people in the world, all of us insiders, have been privy to that information. Item #4 has obviously sent you into a tizzy. Note that I capitalized National Park (of which there are currently 58) and stop muddying the water with all those historic sites and battlefields and such. That said, you are correct about Mackinac Island National Park, which was part of the system (originally as Mackinac National Park) for a while before being de-authorized and subsequently converted into a Michigan state park. The Hauptquizmeister will revise the quiz to take this into account. Hot Springs National Park is a red herring, pure and simple. I have no doubt that you already know that and are just yanking my chain (sigh.....). Hot Springs Reservation was established by Congress in 1832 to protect the thermal springs, not to create a pleasuring ground open to the public (one thing you have to do if you want to call a place a park). It wasn't until 1880 -- eight years after Yellowstone became a national park -- that Congress finally got around to adding that public recreational proviso. And it wasn't until 1921 that Congress designated Hot Springs National Park. As for #10, well, who says that none of the the quiz items can be devilishly difficult?

PS: Sabattis, we need to contact Acadia National Park, remind them about Mackinac Island National Park, and tell them they've got it all wrong on their official NPS-approved home page, which includes this statement (boldface is mine):

The First National Park East of the Mississippi River

People have been drawn to the rugged coast of Maine throughout history. Awed by its beauty and diversity, early 20th-century visionaries donated the land that became Acadia National Park. The park is home to many plants and animals, and the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast. Today visitors come to Acadia to hike granite peaks, bike historic carriage roads, or relax and enjoy the scenery.

Terminology is definitely one of the difficulties that Park Advocates have in all aspects, from both the light-hearted (like these quizzes) to even the most serious issues. I have yet to see anyone come up with a good solution for how to handle the fact that the word "National Park" refers to both any one of 58 "National Park National Parks" and refers to any one of 391 "Units of the National Park System." Unfortunately, "National Park National Parks" just sounds goofy, and "Units of the National Park System" sounds stilted.

But yes, it looks like Acadia needs to update their claim-to-fame as being the "oldest" National Park East of the Mississippi - but not the "first."

I know you want to college, Sabattis, so I have to ask you this; Are any of your professors still alive? I mean, are there any that you didn't drive to suicide?

There is a simple solution to the nomenclature issue. Everything is a National Park or a National Historic Park. Since the 1978 Redwood Act and amendments and NPS policies make it clear that parks are parks, we should get over the idea of some sort of hierarchy in names or protection of "national park" as some sort of sacred higher calling no deserved by Santa Monica Mountains or Amistad. (After all, Cuyahoga changed from NRA to national park and the world did not end.) No company would allow its brand to be as muddled and indistinct at the NPS has allowed its to be. 19 different designations at last count. And the Forest Service and BLM have national monuments and national recreation areas that are not part of the National Park System. It would be so much easier for the public to understand - and support - the national parks if they understood what they are. I believe that changing titles to the two simplest terms, both with "national" and "park" in them would be the single best thing that can be done to increase support, and thus preservation, visitation, and funding, for parks

Tough one. I got my worst result of all quizzes so far (6+1), and I kind of cheated at question 6 by looking up and confirming my first idea. Thanks again.

@Rangertoo: Won't do. At least the National Monuments must be kept as such, because according to the Antiquities Act of 1906 the president can only proclaim National Monuments without the Congress.

MRC: Since Congress would change the names of the parks, it can change the names of the monument to parks at the same time. There are already national monuments that were created by Congress and not under the Antiquities Act. It would be easy to add to the legislation an amendment to the Antiquities Act that simply says that sites named under that act can be called something other than "monument."

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