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Essay Winner: 13-Year-Old Spencer Sablan on Why President Obama Should Protect The National Parks


First Place, Spencer Sablan, Nevada

Dear President Obama:  National Parks are some of the most amazing places in the world. There is no way anyone can match the beauty of the mountains, deserts, or the plains, with the tremendous smell and feel of nature at your footsteps. Every generation needs to experience the greatness of our nation's National Parks, from the gorgeous Redwoods to Death Valley to the Painted Desert to the Rocky Mountains--this is what America is all about. As our President, you are our leader and the key holder to the most renowned real estate in the world--our National Parks.

Some people may believe there are better places to vacation. I do not believe this to be true. Where else can you climb 5,000 feet on a narrow trail and see red rocks or white pristine waterfalls or bald eagles or bears? Seeing our National Parks is a chance to make memories with my family. You only have one life; why not make the memories that will never be forgotten?

Another reason not to destroy national parks is because of all of the things you can do. The list is endless. From boating to biking, or hiking to climbing, it's all there. And even if exercising isn't your thing, you can drive your car and look at the beautiful sights. The National Parks are our treasure, our artwork to the world, our destiny for generations to see. Missing out on some of these sights would be like missing a part of life.

People see pictures of national parks or see them on television, but you can never get the full perspective of the beauty of nature. Only the smell of nature can reinvigorate you for precious moments that create memories forever. And if you want to hike or climb up a mountain, when you get to the top, it is the best feeling in the world to know that you accomplished a goal many never have. When you visit our National Parks, the motto says: Leave only footprints, take only memories. This is your mission, Mr. President--keep our National Parks sacred. Everything about our National Parks must be protected and saved: the land they are on, the beauty they represent the life sources they convey. This is America at her best; please protect these lands with all your might.

Respectfully, Spencer Sablan

Runner-up, Colorado Herbst, New Jersey

Dear President Obama, I am writing to you today to tell you about how important our national parks are and why they should be saved. Our national parks provide us with tons of knowledge and experiences. The national parks we hear about most often are just a few of the great places in America. From the big parks like Acadia National Park in Maine, The Grand Canyon in Arizona, and Arches National Park in Utah to the smaller parks, monuments, and recreation areas like Scottsbluff in Nebraska, Wind Cave in South Dakota and the Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania different generations can enjoy, discover and unravel the history of each park.

History reminds Americans who they are. American's have learned from the consequences of the past and that is what our national parks work to preserve today. The buffalo were near extinction from moving American settlers, what was thought of as an awful tragedy of a massive fire in Yellowstone, and destruction of important historical objects from our fast growing communities are all examples of ways that our preserved national parks have helped us learn from our past. National Parks help to keep much of our American history intact and make learning about it fun.

National parks have not only helped preserve history but nature too. Our National Parks have helped stop the extinction of the buffalo, bald eagle, mountain lions, wolves, insects, plants and much more. If any of these living things became extinct it could throw off a whole animal population or important food chain. This disturbed balance could lead to a major eco catastrophe. For example, over one hundred years ago we almost wiped out all the buffalo in only a few years time. The creation of the world's first National Park, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming in 1872 helped to stop the useless slaughter of this amazing animal. It also preserved the great natural features like gigantic steaming geysers, mud pots, and massive waterfalls. The creation of this park was the beginning of preserving our American heritage and has helped us to learn how to care for our environment. The first time we started going green!

Just over one hundred years later we learned more about how nature works from Yellowstone. The Great Fire of 1988 spread quickly through the park it burned and charred 793,880 acres over 3 months. Everyone was upset and wanted to stop it but it roared on and on. No one knew what the outcome would be. People were devastated at the loss. Yellowstone began to quickly recover on its own. Rangers and others were amazed; they were learning that fire actually helped the land. They learned that fire is important by clearing out leaves and debris giving room for new plants to grow. Fire was nature?s way of preserving itself. Years later, Yellowstone is now more beautiful than ever and we never would have known without being able to study the land. Now don't you think that is awesome!

All these places I have visited have changed my life and have made me want more. I have hiked the Grand Canyon in Arizona, I have cliff jumped in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and I have climbed the Great Sand Dunes in the middle of Colorado!

All of these activities have provided many fun and exciting memories. These memories are the ones I will remember in the long run. The memories I will be able to share with people even when I am 80 years old. All of the vacations have brought me to see beauty but also brought me to a place other than reality. Places and experiences I will never forget.

So, dear President Obama, I am coming to the close of my letter to you today about why we should save our National Parks. I think that the National Parks are important for everyone! If you haven't visited one then you need to right away! If you have then I think you should plan a vacation there with your family in your spare time. I know how exciting the National Parks can be. My family and I have visited at least 29 parks, monuments and recreation areas and have become Junior Ranger?s at many of them. Now we are hungry for more! We get to explore, learn and play all together and that is what makes it great. Please President Obama, always remember how important our National Parks are and why they should be saved. There must be places for us to enjoy and learn from that can't be destroyed by progress.

A Caring Citizen of the United States of America, Colorado Herbst New Jersey

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Congratulations to my son, Spencer!  We have a goal in our lives (and so do all of our kids) to see every national park. The first thing we did is wake up to see if he won, and he did.  Congratulations!  We are honored and truly blessed.  Congratulations to all the winners and runners up--you all showed creativity and dedication by entering the contest.  Thank you NATIONAL PARKS traveler for hosting such a great event.  It is great that you offer such a great event for our youth!

I was very proud of both of my children for putting in the effort to persuade others how important our National Parks are to our country.  Each summer we travel in our RV and explore as many national parks we can all across the country.  It has been an amazing experience and will continue to be for our family.  Thank you National Park Traveler for giving the youth of America the chance to express themselves and the opportunity to be rewarded for their efforts.  Congratulations to all of the student’s who participated and to the winners and runner up’s one of which was my son! 

Suzanne Herbst, NJ

Thats a good one..everyone should hv the knowledge on the role of national parks to the world..

Very inspiring essays. I didn't even know there was such a thing as national parks when I was 13!

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