Fifty of America's most scenic national parks are featured in this oversize volume filled with spectacular images by some of America's best contemporary landscape photographers. The concept of the national park was one of our fledgling nation's unique contributions to world civilization, and it remains a defining image of our country. From the rocky shoreline of Maine's Acadia to the barren crater and lush rainforest of Hawaii's Haleakala, America's natural beauty is celebrated and preserved in its national parks. In the introduction to America's Spectacular National Parks, historian Michael Duchemin chronicles the effort to preserve this magnificent resource, highlighting the roles of John Muir, who championed preservation of "God's first temples" and the creation of Yosemite, Sequoia, and King's Canyon as national parks, and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who not only designed New York's Central Park but defined the goals of the national park system. Other milestones include the establishment of Mesa Verde in 1906 as the first park created to preserve human history, with its ancient cliff dwellings built by Native Americans into a mesa on the Colorado plateau, and the Everglades, recognized in 1934 as a unique ecosystem, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, rather than as a scenic marvel. Individual entries on each featured park provide a context for nearly 200 full-color photographs that will enthrall armchair travelers and entice others to lace up their hiking boots and reach for sporting gear.