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        Visitors and Tourists | Ken Burns: The National Parks

        View images of tourists exploring National Parks across the country. As the United States grew and its population expanded and settled westward, regions of the country that displayed natural beauty and ecological diversity became a source of pride. An idea formed that these areas should be maintained and protected for all to enjoy as part of the country’s heritage. This idea would develop into the National Park System over the next 150 years. America’s National Parks draw as many as 330 million visitors every year who are drawn to the unique beauty, geographic, and ecological diversity on display.

        Tourists inside the Dome Room, Carlsbad Cavern, 1924 | Ken Burns: The National Parks

        Tourist sit inside the Dome Room, Carlsbad Cavern National Monument, New Mexico, 1924. Photo: Ray V. Davis. Source: /National Geographic Society/Steven Kasher Gallery.

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        Dancing Ladies on Overhanging Rock at Glacier Point, Yosemite, 1890s | Ken Burns: The National Parks

        Overhanging Rock on Glacier Point, 3,254 feet above Yosemite Valley, became a favorite spot for tourists unafraid of heights to pose for photographs. Here, two women kick up their heels at the precipice. Source: Yosemite National Park Museum, Archives and Library.

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        Examining the ruins at the Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde National Park, ca. 1900 | Ken Burns: The National Parks

        In 1889, Colorado cowboys found the ruins of an ancient civilization in the Four Corners area of the Southwest. Scavengers started carting off the artifacts. It became Mesa Verde National Park in 1906, the first Park to preserve something other than majestic scenery. Source:Mesa Verde National Park.

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        Tourist at Crater Lake | Ken Burns: The National Parks

        A tourist sits at the edge of Crater Lake, with Wizard Island visible in the middle of the lake. Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the nation, became a National Park in 1902, due to the efforts of William Gladstone Steel. Source: Harpers Ferry, National Park Service Historic Photograph Collection.

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        Tourist at the Edge of the Grand Canyon, 1914 | Ken Burns: The National Parks

        A tourist sits at the edge of the Grand Canyon, with his automobile nearby, 1914. Source: Grand Canyon National Park Museum Collection.

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        Tourists Crowd Entrance of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, 1960 | Ken Burns: The National Parks

        Tourists crowd the entrance of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The crush of visitors after WWII prompted a Park Service Director to say the Parks were being "loved to death." In 1956, major program was launched to modernize and expand facilities. Source: Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

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        Park Superintendent and Tourists on Moro Rock, Sequoia National Park, 1930s | Ken Burns: The National Parks

        A group of tourists listen to Superintendent John White at Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park. White was in charge of the Park for more than a quarter century. Source: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

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        Tourist Family at Olympic National Park | Ken Burns: The National Parks

        Tourist family on the beach at Olympic National Park. Source: Harpers Ferry, National Park Service Historic Photograph Collection.

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        Local Smoky Mountain Residents, ca. 1930s | Ken Burns: The National Parks

        The creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1934 enjoyed broad support from the citizens of North Carolina and Tennessee, who donated money to buy the land for it. But over 5,500 people who lived within its boundaries had to move. Source: Great Smoky Mountains National Park Archives.

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