The United States is not the only country with a national park system. Many countries have adopted similar practices to protect their animals, environment and natural resources. Indeed, there are a large number of national parks outside the United States. Some of those parks include:
Canaima National Park – Argentina
Canaima National Park, established in 1962, is the home of Angel Falls, the highest waterfall in the world. It is also one of the largest parks in the world. Roughly one third of the plants and birds living in the park are found nowhere else on the planet. The tabletop mountains of the park, including Mount Roraima, are some of the oldest geological structures on Earth, dating back approximately two billion years. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
BANFF – Canada
Canada’s first national park provides unparalleled mountain views in the Canadian Rockies. It’s 6500 square kilometers surround a resort town of the same name and contains a section of the Trans-Canada Highway. Banff is the highest town in Canada at an elevation of 4,540 feet. The park is one of the premier wildlife reserves in Canada, with grizzly bears, wolverines, elk and other animals calling it home. It also has the largest cave system in Canada, several national historic sites, and the highest permanent settlement in Canada (the Lake Louise hamlet). As a ski resort, it has one of the longest ski seasons in North America. The park is located 80 miles west of Calgary.
Berchtesgaden – Germany
Berchtesgaden is one of the oldest conservation areas in the Alps, located in Bavaria near the German border with Austria. The park contains Lake Konigssee, an emerald-green lake surrounded by steep walls of rock. It also is home to the Eagle’s Nest chalet used for government meetings by the Third Reich and presented to Adolf Hitler for his 50th birthday. Berchtesgaden was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1990.
Torres del Paine National Park – Chile
Torres del Paine National Park is one of the largest and most visited parks in Chile. It contains the (translated) Towers of Paine, three granite peaks of the Paine mountain range (Paine Massif), an eastern spur of the Andes Mountains. In 2016, National Geographic called the park one of the world’s most beautiful places.
Sagarmatha National Park – Nepal
Sagarmatha National Park is located in eastern Nepal and protects an area of the Himalayas including Mount Everest, the highest point on the Earth’s surface. With seven more high mountain peaks, deep valleys and glaciers inside the park, Sagarmatha is one of the most geologically interesting regions in the world. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.
Vatnajokull National Park – Iceland
Vatnajokull National Park is one of the largest national parks in Europe, covering 13% of Iceland. It protects the Vatna Glacier (translated), one of the largest ice caps (by area) in Europe. The combination of glaciers and volcanic activity in the area has created a diverse landscape. The park was established in 2008.
Jiuzhai Valley – People’s Republic of China
Jiuzhai Valley is a national park in the Min Shan mountain range in Southwest China. It is home to nine Tibetan villages, hundreds of birds, as well as endangered plants and animals including the giant panda and Sichuan golden monkey. The park contains Nuorilang Waterfall, which is the widest waterfall in Jiuzhaigou and one of the six most beautiful waterfalls in China.
Fuji-Hakone-Izu – Japan
Fuji-Hakone-Izu is a collection of protected locations ranging from the Izu Islands to Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan and one of Japan’s Three Holy Mountains . The park was originally established in 1936 and is the most visited national park in Japan due to its proximity to Tokyo. Camping, fishing, mountain climbing and scuba diving are popular activities in the park.