You’d usually associate National Parks with sweeping vistas and panoramic views across wild and untamed landscapes. Less so, a metre-wide patch of grass in the middle of downtown Portland, Oregon – or a tiny private island once owned by a retired newspaper editor. However, these places are legitimate national parks.
Here are the world’s four titchy, tiny, super-cute official National Park areas!
Penang National Park, Malaysia
Area: 15.9 kilometres squared
With protected status since 1980, and a full National Park designation since 2003, this tropical paradise is also one of the most diverse biomes on Earth. Trees such as the Chengal or the Meranti Seraya are positively ancient, with some specimens dating back several hundred years. Long-tailed lemurs and macaques are just a few of the amazing creatures that roam the mangrove swamps in this 20-mile area of protected land.
Mill End Park, Oregon
Officially the smallest park in the world, Mill Ends Park is also an honorary part of the National Park Service. Literally a tiny patch of grass, with an alternating cast of flowers and shrubs throughout the year, the park was founded by local Oregon journalist Dick Fagan, way back in 1948. Sitting in his office at the Oregon Journal, Fagan noticed a bare patch in the road that had been designated for a lamp post – that never appeared. The enterprising hack promptly turfed it over and named the new park after his column in the newspaper.
He also, however, claimed the park had been created by a leprechaun’s wish. So, there’s that. Fagan passed away in 1969 but locals continued to care for his park, and it became an official piece of public land in 1971.
Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, Philadelphia
The smallest official part of the National Park Service, the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial is the former house of Revolutionary war hero Tadeusz Kościuszko. A close friend of Thomas Jefferson, many other iconic 18th century figures also visited Tadeusz here while he recovered from injuries received leading warring forces in his native Poland. These included noted signer of The Constitution, William Paterson, and several respected Native American chiefs. Currently the nicely preserved house and museum is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12am until 4pm. No ticket or reservation is needed.
Moyenne Island, Seychelles
This tropical island has an extremely interesting history to accompany the gorgeous sun-kissed beaches and varied local wildlife visitors can today enjoy. For many years, Moyenne was the private island home of English newspaper editor Brendon Grimshaw. He bought it for just under £8000 in 1962, and today, partly thanks to his efforts creating infrastructure on the island, it is worth an estimated £20 million.
Sadly though, should you have the spare cash sitting about and are getting ideas, the island is not for sale. It became a designated National Park in 2013. Tourists visiting Moyenne can see a wide variety of rare marine life as well as a colony of 50 or more sea turtles – including one individual reputed to be over 100 years old.