One of the nation’s newest National Parks is a tiny speck of land on the west bank of the mighty Mississippi River. At a mere 91 acres, Gateway Arch National Park is by far the smallest of our sixty-one National Parks.
The national park movement originally grew out of the 19th century recognition that it was important to protect the spectacular natural wonders of the American west. It took a few more decades for the eastern part of our country to gain some respect for its own scenic gems. Eventually, however, many national parks were established east of the Mississippi and now play host to scores of millions of visitors annually. Three of these, Mammoth Cave, Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains, form a line through the Appalachians and were created at the urging of FDR.