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National Park Quiz 89: National Recreation Areas

Like many other National Recreation Areas, Amistad National Recreation Area is reservoir-focused. National Park Service photo.

How much do you know about units of the National Park System that are designated "National Recreation Area"? Take this quiz and find out. Answers are at the end.

1. A total of ______ National Park System units have National Recreation Area as part of their name.
a. 10
b. 18
c. 23
d. 32

2. Which of the following lists the National Park System's three most popular National Recreation Areas in the order of their popularity, from most recreational visits to fewest?
a. Gateway, Lake Mead, Golden Gate
b. Golden Gate, Gateway, Lake Mead
c. Lake Mead, Golden Gate, Gateway
d. Gateway, Lake Mead, Golden Gate

3. The state with the most National Recreation Area-designated units of the National Park System wholly or partially within its borders is
a. Alaska
b. Texas
c. Arizona
d. California

4. The ______ National Park was formerly a National Recreation Area.
a. Cuyahoga Valley
b. Channel Islands
c. Lassen Volcanic
d. Biscayne

5. The ______ National Recreation Area consists mostly of non-federal land.
a. Lake Meredith
b. Lake Roosevelt
c. Santa Monica Mountains
d. Curecanti

6. Prior to the establishment of ______ National Recreation Area, all of the National Recreation Areas in the National Park System were reservoir-focused.
a. Gateway
b. Boston Harbor Islands
c. Delaware Water Gap
d. Cuyahoga Valley

7. In 1976, Congress abolished Platt National Park and made it a component of ______ National Recreation Area.
a. Amistad
b. Curecanti
c. Ross Lake
d. Chickasaw

8. Formerly named Sanford National Recreation Area, ______ National Recreation Area is focused on a reservoir impounded by the Sanford Dam on the Canadian River.
a. Lake Meredith
b. Lake Roosevelt
c. Amistad
d. Ross Lake

9. California's Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area is co-managed by the National Park Service and
a. California State Parks
b. the Bureau of Reclamation
c. the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
d. the U.S. Forest Service

10. The ______ National Recreation Area lies partly within the Crow Indian Reservation.
a. Santa Monica Mountains
b. Bighorn Canyon
c. Lake Chelan
d. Glen Canyon

Extra Credit Question:

11. Only two National Recreation Areas have the word "River" as part of their name. Can you identify both of them? (Note: The National Park Service does not categorize the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area as National Recreation Areas. Both are categorized as National Rivers.)

Super Bonus Question:

12. The ______ National Recreation Area was the first National Recreation Area to be created by an Act of Congress instead of an interagency agreement.
a. Lake Mead
b. Delaware Water Gap
c. Golden Gate
d. Santa Monica Mountains


(1) b -- The National Park System has 18 National Recreation Area-designated units.

(2) b -- With a little over 15 million recreational visits, Golden Gate was the most popular National Recreation Area in 2009. Gateway was a distant second (9.0 million visits) and Lake Mead came in third (7.7 million visits).

(3) d -- California has three National Recreation Area-designated NPS units: Golden Gate, Santa Monica Mountains, and Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity.

(4) a -- Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area was authorized in 1974, established in 1976, and redesignated Cuyahoga National Park in 2000.

(5) c -- Nonfederal land accounts for a little over 85% of the area of the 154,095-acre Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which is located near Los Angeles. The other three National Recreation Areas mentioned (Curecanti, Lake Roosevelt and Lake Meredith) consist entirely of federal land.

(6) c - Delaware Water Gap, preserves relatively unspoiled land on both the New Jersey and Pennsylvania sides of the Middle Delaware River. When it was authorized on September 1, 1965, it became the first National Recreation Area in the National Park System that was not reservoir-focused.

(7) d -- Platt National Park, which was created in 1906 from Sulphur Springs Reservation in south-central Oklahoma, was abolished in 1976 and combined with Arbuckle National Recreation Area (and additional lands) to form Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

(8) a -- Lake Meredith National Recreation Area, which is located on the Canadian River in the Texas panhandle, was called Sanford National Recreation Area prior to a 1972 redesignation.

(9) d -- The National Park Service manages the Whiskeytown unit of Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area and the U.S. Forest Service manages the rest.

(10) b -- The 120,296-acre Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area lies partly within the Crow Indian Reservation in south-central Montana.

(11) The only two National Recreation Areas that have "River" as part of their name are Georgia's Chattahoochee River National Recreation Areas and West Virginia's Gauley River National Recreation Area.

(12) a -- Lake Mead National Recreation Area was established by an Act of Congress in 1964. Before that, National Recreation Areas were established only by interagency agreements.

Grading: 9 or 10 correct, rest on your laurels; 7 or 8 correct, pretty darn good; 6 correct, passable fair; 5 or fewer correct, nothing to brag about.


Dang! That was embarrassing! How do I sign up for Prof. Janiskee's remedial recreation area class?

No need for apologies, Lee. The quizmeister missed four of those questions himself. :o) Alas; if you want to enroll in Professor Janiskee's national parks course you must first be a student in good standing at the University of South Carolina.

You need to move out to teach at a Utah university. You'd be a lot closer to some mighty fine parks, too.

Sorry, Lee; I don't like green jello.

Green Jello is an acquired taste.

Glen Canyon NRA is going to be less reservoir-focused as the years roll by and the reservoir shrinks. Its magnificent back country will become better known. Forty-seven percent of its acreage has been recommended for designation as wilderness. Someday it will be a great national park.

There is an irony in that while Delaware Water Gap NRA is not reservoir-focused, it was created when the proposed reservoir at that location was abandoned. Most of the park land was acquired by the Army Corps in order to allow for inundation.

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