As the National Park Service gears up for its centennial in 2016, it's re-branding to attract a broader audience. So far, the only major change has been to the logo, which trades the busy nature scene sketch for a single white arrowhead. Park Service representative Kathy Kupper said more changes will come, but they'll mostly take place in 2015 and won't affect the parks themselves.
"Baby boomers grew up with parks, but 50 years ago or so, distractions like Disneyland and theme parks began to pop up," Kupper said. "Now, with the internet age, we began to worry that they could be forgotten. So we're revamping a little."
While a new look is welcome, longtime park patrons known that what makes parks significant isn't the packaging, but what's inside their borders. Still, the more popular parks get crowded – Yellowstone gets an average of 26,500 visitors every day in July – so it's wise to seek out new territory. In that spirit, we rounded up 23 of the most scenic national parks and their best attractions, from the quiet lighthouses at Michigan's Isle Royale to glaciers only viewed by seaplane in Wrangell-St. Elias.
Located in south central Alaska, Wrangell–St. Elias is the country's largest national park at 13.2 million acres (almost six times the size of Yellowstone). President Jimmy Carter used the Antiquities Act to designate the area a national monument in 1978, before turning it into a national park two years later. One of the park's most popular destinations is Mount St. Elias, which stands 18,000 feet high and is the second tallest mountain in the U.S. and Canada. The park's other namesake, Mount Wrangell, is one of several active volcanoes in the region. Visitors will find the region is covered in more than 100 of North America’s largest glaciers including one, the Malaspina, that is larger than Rhode Island.
Don't Miss: One of the best ways to visit the park is by air. There are plenty of companies that offer small plane tours of the area, some of which will design custom flight paths based on what you want to see. Some of the most popular fly-bys are Bagley Icefield, the ruins of the Nizina Bridge, and the Sourdough Rock Glacier.
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