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The First State Seeks Its First National Park

Name the only state that does not include a unit of the National Park Service.

Vermont? New Hampshire? Nope, both have 2, according to this NPS find-a-site locator. Rhode Island? It has 3, same as Connecticut and Indiana. The 68 square miles of the District of Columbia? Whoa, guess again; D.C. has 34 sites, more than any state. The top 3? Virginia (33), California (31) and New York (28). Even Guam, Puerto Rico and American Samoa have NPS representation. Who got left out?

Delaware state flagThe goose egg goes to Delaware, home of the Fightin' Blue Hens and the state traditionally known as the First State. Yet it is the last one left without an NPS site inside its borders. The land of Liberty and Independence, however, has been working for a decade to have a cluster of historic sites recognized as a NPS unit, as reported this week by USA Today.

Officially, the National Park Service administers 394 units divided among 20 different designations. The collection ranges from 78 National Historic Sites, such as Tuskegee Airmen NHS in Alabama, to 1 National Battlefield Site (Brices Cross Roads in Mississippi), which is separate from the country's 9 National Military Parks (such as Gettysburg) and 11 National Battlefields (such as Antietam in Maryland). As for nature-focused National Parks such as Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, the number is 58.

Two locations in Delaware do have a loose affiliation with the National Park Service and the National Parks Conservation Association:

1. The John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, an all-water route established in 2005 that also skirts the coasts of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

2. The White Clay Creek Wild and Scenic River, which flows through Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Neither location, however, appears on the NPS list of officially recognized units

Imagine: Not even the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (in Pennsylvania and New Jersey) nor the Upper or Lower Delaware National Scenic River (one of 10 National Wild and Scenic Rivers administered by the Park Service), which also runs through Pennsylvania and New Jersey (and origins in New York), cuts through its namesake state. Pennsylvania is even home to the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor (though it's not one of the 394 official NPS units).

Boy, that's a tough deal. Delaware, we wish you success in your quest.

Hey reader: How many National Park site do you think you have visited in your lifetime? In how many states?

Posted on at 6:36 PM

Tagged: Antietam, Brices Cross Roads, Delaware, Delaware National Scenic River, Delaware Water Gap, Gettysburg, Grand Canyon, Tuskegee Airmen NHS, national parks and yellowstone

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