Ruth & I had not taken the time to explore Delaware, so in 2013 we spent several days there and learned much about this small state. I read today that Delaware has the fewest National Park Service sites. Having been there and seen many candidates for inclusion, I doubted this, checked, and found a state with only 2. Delaware still needs more National Park Service involvement, and I’m wondering how its future in this regard will be influenced by the fact that the sitting President considers himself a resident of Delaware? Joe Biden was born in Scranton, PA. How will that affect his Presidential Library?
Delaware was the first of the 50 states and it proudly boasts, “It’s good to be First.” Its 4 National Park Service sites include 2 National Trails, a watershed, and a National Historical Park. The 2 trails are the Captain John Smith Chesapeake that Delaware shares with 4 other states and Washington, DC and the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route that it shares with 8 other states and Washington, DC. Also included in the National Park Service are the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and a site about Delaware’s First State status. Delaware also shares the geographic fact of its coastline on Chesapeake Bay with Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. It acknowledges its first state designation in a National Historical Park with Pennsylvania, where a lot of the work affecting the founding of the United States was actually done. Delaware was certainly the first state to ratify the US Constitution.
Perhaps what Delaware needs is a National Park. I don’t think that an abundance of cobblestone streets qualifies it for National Park status, but it does have other possibilities. Dupont was founded in Delaware and is a big presence. Many US companies are officially registered in this business-oriented state, so perhaps this would be of interest to the National Park Service and tourists. Delaware has 2 state capitol buildings in Dover, its capital city. It has something called The Great Cypress Swamp in Sussex County, one of only 3 counties in this state. I recall driving through a lot of water every time we got near a coastline.
New Hampshire is the state with only 2 National Park Sites. It shares the Appalachian Trail with many other states from Georgia to Maine. Its other NPS site is called Saint-Gaudens. In Cornish, NH, Saint-Gaudens celebrates one of America’s great sculptors. Several of his sculpted works are on view. Many of the other states that have very limited NPS sites are smaller, but not all of them. New Hampshire’s neighbor Vermont, for example, has only 3 NPS sites. Two of them are trails, The Appalachian and North Country, which wends its way through seven states as far west as North Dakota. Its only other NPS site is a National Historical Park called Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller in Woodstock, VT. Three states have 4 NPS sites. They are Delaware, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. I do not consider Wisconsin a small state. Its 4 sites include 2 scenic trails, a National Lakeshore, and a National Scenic Riverway. One of Rhode Island’s sites celebrates its founder, Roger Williams. The states of Connecticut and Rhode Island are not jumbo, but North Dakota is not tiny. It and Connecticut have 5 NPS sites each.
A side note. Oregon has 10 facilities under the NPS umbrella including a National Park, Crater Lake. One of the 10 has a degree of personal interest to both Ruth and me. The Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail honors an ice dam in Idaho during the last Ice Age. Glacial Lake Missoula was behind this blockage. When the ice dam melted, the torrent of water released affected what are now 4 western US states including Oregon. Ruth’s father Bill bought property in Oregon that includes a lake that was created by this flood. It’s destined to become a visitable park bearing his name.