Since the first national parks were created in America in the late 1800s, the concept has spread all across the globe. In fact, to this day new national parks are still being fenced off from human development – from China to Peru or Sweden. So where are these developments in the protection of wild spaces taking place, and when can you visit them? No worries, we’ve got you covered.
Long considered a site of natural interest, this mountainous park near San Jose was first officially designated as a national park in 2013. Known for its spectacular rock formations and labyrinthine cave systems, Pinnacles attracts daredevil cave divers and rock climbers from around the USA and the rest of the world.
Just a few rare animals found here include completely native bats not found anywhere else, prairie falcons and one the last wild populations of California Condors. As of 2017 there were only a few hundred of these birds in the wild, although that is up from the nearly-extinct number of 27 that were captured for conservation in 1987. The best time to visit Pinaccles is in the Winter months, as it can be unbearably hot during peak Summer periods – especially if you plan on rock climbing or hiking.
Afghanistan’s first national park, Band-e-Amir was established in 2009. After many years of fighting in the rocky Hindu Kush region of the country, the area is finally seeing some peace – and even tourism. So brutal were some of the people in charge here, that even the 2500-year-old Bamiyan Buddha cliff carvings were demolished by Taliban fighters in 2001. Luckily, they have seen an international effort put towards their restoration and you can still see them today.
Apart from the world-famous giant carvings, Band-e-Amir is known for its system of seven unique lakes. Described as Afghanistan’s Grand Canyon, the lakes have carved a precipitous path through the local mountains – leaving a calcium carbonate trail (known as travertine) behind them as they travelled over hundreds of thousands of years. Afghanistan might not be top of most people’s tourist destinations, but the lakes at Band-e-Amir are truly spectacular to behold – if you’re willing to make the trip.
Patagonia National Park, Chile
Due to be confirmed as Chile’s next national park by the end of this year, the new Patagonia National Park will combine the land of several previous parks with even more land gifted to the Chilean Government by the Tompkins Foundation. The Foundation, created by adventure-clothing brands Patagonia and North Face affiliated entrepreneurs Kris and Douglas Tompkins, has been one of the biggest land owners in South America for many years.
Their historic handing over of care for this world-famous area of national beauty marks a historic moment and will result in the creation of one of the world’s biggest parks and conservation areas. At 640,000 acres, Patagonia National Park will be three times the size of Yellowstone. Its broad climes will include glaciers, jungle, flowing rivers, craggy mountains and more – as well as some of the globe’s most diverse wildlife habitats.