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With 391 Units In the National Park System, You'd Think TripAdvisor Could Find 10 It Liked


Mystery Photo Bonus: Was this taken inside the National Park System? The Conservation System photo.

Memo to TripAdvisor: If you're going to crow about your survey running down the top 10 parks in the National Park System, make sure they're all in the National Park System and, preferably, make sure they're all "national parks."

Yes, yes, yes, we're sticklers here at the Traveler. But if you can't come up with 10 gems in the National Park System, you haven't gotten out enough. Really, with 391 units in the park system, you'd think that if you're going to name the top 10 "national parks" that you could stick within the system, right?

Well, the folks at TripAdvisor didn't see it that way. Their top 10 list is really a top 9 plus one U.S. Bureau of Land Management unit. And even the nine within the park system aren't formally "national parks."

According to TripAdvisor, "America's Best National Parks" are Zion, Grand Canyon, White Sands National Monument, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Redwood National and State Parks, Grand Teton National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, Yosemite National Park, Acadia National Park and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Oh, wait a minute. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area isn't in the National Park System. It's a BLM unit.

Now, Red Rock Canyon no doubt is very beautiful. But it doesn't meet the requirements of the survey's title. When I pointed that out to the folks at TripAdvisory, they replied, "As a natural area incredibly popular with our travelers, we thought it was appropriate to include Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in the top 10 list even though it is not a unit of the National Park System."

Would they add a casino to the park system if it were popular with their travelers?

Popular it might be, but it's not part of the park system, and there are countless other "national parks" that it couldn't hold a candle to. Parks such as Glacier, Great Smoky Mountains, Rocky Mountain, Great Sand Dunes, North Cascades, and no doubt every "national park" in Alaska. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Oh, and White Sands National Monument? True, it's part of the park system, but it's a "national monument" not a "national park."

Mystery photo solution: Yep, it's none other than Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Nice, but not a park. Or even a monument.


Yes, I also read that article and I didn't agree with them but I'm not going to be snippy about it. If you already called and spoke with them, why continue the battle? This article has irritated me even more than the original. Stop being so insolent, instead of trying to highlighter their faults take the higher path and create your own list. I know, I know you already have multiple lists of national parks you adore, so move on and give me some real information on the parks.

To Anonymous of June 6, why did you bother commenting? Your Comment is more irritating than the original article, and quit blasting Kurt for blasting that article. And if anyone is insolent about all this, it is definitely you. I agree with Kurt. If TripAdvisor can't get it right, then they shouldn't be advising.

I agree with Dottie. Despite the fact you're not going to be snippy about the TripAdvisor article, you instead get snippy about Kurt's comments. At the risk of further annoying Anonymous, I would have to say further that the TripAdvisor list is actually an incompetent one, and calls into question the overall credibility of TripAdvisor itself. A list of the Top 10 National Parks where two of the ten are not even National Parks? That's like calling Lake Champlain one of the Great Lakes.

I haven't even been to that many National Parks, and could still come up with a better list. The TripAdviser list is probably compiled from the only 10 locations that author had been to himself/herself.

Anonymous, good thing you're anonymous. You're probably either with TripAdvisor or have a weird chip on your shoulder.

I do have to support Kurt's concept that TripAdvisor aught to be giving the public accurate information about what types of public land sites they are visiting. I mean really, you can't come up with 10? Or at least give the article a different title. Like the government doesn't have enough problems educating the public on which public land they're on. Conversely, Kurt seems to infer that if you don't have the title "National Park" after your name, you're less valuable. I don't think Congress intended that nor the people who championed the creation of many of these special places in our country. To dismiss an area as not being "as special" simply because of some verbage certainly negates the point of the National Park SYSTEM. Let's look past the big Y parks and realize there are a lot of beautiful and important places in this country that aren't call a national park. Just my two cents...

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