definition of national park

The concept of national park is a relatively recent concept that is used to designate those natural spaces, wild and certainly extensive places, that are protected by the National States in order to conserve the flora and fauna that exist in them, which is autochthonous and invaluable for the ecosystem, and thus avoid its disappearance, extinction or alteration, and also for the natural beauty that per se imply.

Vast natural territories that receive state protection for their beauty and to protect the valuable ecosystems they host

The protection offered to the natural space known as a national park is of a legal level and this is so to avoid all kinds of infringement or improper use of it by individuals or corporations that dare to intervene in them in an inappropriate way, putting it in simpler terms, exploiting them.

Activities considered harmful such as hunting wild animals, felling trees, fishing or making bonfires, throwing garbage, cutting available vegetation, among other actions, are prevented in national parks.

As we pointed out at the beginning of the review, these parks are managed, sustained and protected by the state through public resources, whose income normally comes from tourism, although there may also be renowned companies or personalities with the financial capacity to contribute money that will be absolutely intended to preserve them.


The first national parks acquired this legal status only at the end of the 19th century. This is so since previously, it was usual for those territories to belong to private aristocrats of great power or to the corresponding National State but they did not have that special protection by law.

The creation of the different national parks has to do not only with the protection of natural spaces but also with the recovery of spaces that have been altered by the presence of human beings and that it is estimated that they could be lost if they are not attributes due protection to them.

The first national park was established in 1872 in the United States and is today the famous Yellowstone which is located in the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho.

Conditions that national parks meet

In 1969 the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources elaborated for the first time about what a national park is and has established different guidelines that serve to recognize a natural area as a possible national park: that there is one or more natural ecosystems in it, that it has a minimum of one thousand hectares, that a legal protection system is developed, that the effective prohibition of the use of the resources existing there is ensured, that people are allowed to explore it, visit it and enjoy it for cultural, educational or recreational purposes, but always taking care of it and protecting it on that journey and visit, that is, not developing any practice that threatens its natural state.

Two years later, in 1971, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, declared that each national park should have legal protection, its own economic resources to support them and specialized personnel to properly maintain the park and clear rules that prohibit its improper exploitation.

The purpose for which national parks have been founded with this status is to conserve the nature that lives there to be enjoyed by citizens, to be the pride of the nation that contains them and eventually to provide benefits.

Educational and recreational functions

One of the most important advantages that can be attributed to these national parks is the educational function that they offer to their visitors in terms of environmental education, especially. Visitors learn and also internalize the importance of the conservation and protection of these natural spaces, that is, they become aware of them and take care of them because doing so implies not only taking care of their natural heritage but also the balance of the ecosystem.

On the other hand, we cannot ignore the recreational space they offer, allowing us to be close to nature, value it and enjoy it.

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