You are here

2009 in Review: Abolished National Parks Were Highlighted in Park Pruning Series


Old Kasaan National Monument (1916-1955) was one of the abolished parks highlighted in Traveler during 2009.

Now that the National Park System is bulging with 392 units, it’s easy to forget that park system dynamics include subtractions as well as additions. In fact, Congress has been selectively abolishing/deauthorizing/decommissioning/delisting national parks for more than a century. The first instance occurred in 1895 when the second national park that Congress created, Mackinac National Park, was transferred to the state of Michigan and abolished only 20 years after it was established. Dozens of other parks were abolished in subsequent decades.

The stories of these abolished parks are interesting, and in many case instructive. Parks have been abolished due to lack of national significance, lack of funds for development and operation, destruction of natural and cultural resources, mission realignment, and other reasons, including bungling on the part of Congress and mismanagement on the part of the National Park Service. Like people, Congress and the Park Service have made mistakes -- and hopefully, learned from them.

During 2009, Traveler posted histories of ten abolished parks.

Castle Pinckney National Monument (1933-1956)

Chattanooga National Cemetery (1933-1944)

Father Millet Cross National Monument (1925-1949)

John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (1972-1994)

Marble Canyon National Monument (1969-1975)

New Echota Marker National Memorial (1933-1950)

Old Kasaan National Monument (1916-1955)

Papago Saguaro National Monument (1914-1930)

St. Thomas National Historic Site (1960-1975)

Wheeler National Monument (1933-1950)

Traveler previously posted articles about these seven additional abolished parks:

Atlanta Campaign National Historic Site (1944-1950)

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area (1963-1968)

Fossil Cycad National Monument (1922-1956)

Mar-a-Lago National Historic Site (1972-1980)

Millerton Lake National Recreation Area (1945-1957)

Oklahoma City National Memorial (1997-2004)

Shoshone Cavern National Monument (1909-1954)


Wow!  What a treasure trove of information.  While I knew about places like Mar-a-Lago, Father Millet Cross and Flaming Gorge, I was surprised to read about the Kennedy Center and virtually every other site listed here.  No info on Marble Canyon; I was under the impression it was absorbed into an expanded Grand Canyon National Park back in the seventies...?  One site I don't see here is Shadow Mountain National Recreation area, adjacent to Rocky Mountain NP, and an NPS site for years (now administered by the Forest Service). Any info available on it? Thanks so much for making this available.

Thanks, NSL.  If you want to read about all of the abolished national parks, click on Traveler's SEARCH button and type in the keyword "pruning".  For example, you'll find the Shadow Mountain article at this site.  BTW, I saw the Shadow Mountain site incident to visiting Rocky Mountain National Park in August.

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide