A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Salazar Helps Unveil “America the Beautiful” Quarters Featuring National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges
WASHINGTON, DC – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios and U.S. Mint Director Ed Moy in unveiling the first five “America the Beautiful” quarters, featuring America's four oldest national parks – Hot Springs, Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon – and Mount Hood National Forest.
“Today we celebrate the breathtaking landscapes and natural heritage of ‘America the Beautiful,' by commemorating our country's most treasured places on our currency” Salazar said. “When people come across one of these quarters, they will see the word 'Liberty' on one side and a national park, refuge, or forest on the other. They will know that Americans cherish these things dearly and desire to share both the freedom and the beauty of our land with all who likewise cherish them.”
The five quarters unveiled today are the first of 56 that will be issued between 2010 and 2021. They will include 48 National Park sites, two U.S. Fish and Wildlife sites, and six U.S. Forest Service sites.
Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Harris Sherman and Rep. Mike Castle, who introduced the legislation authorizing the quarters, also were in attendance.
The coins will be issued sequentially in the order in which the featured location was first placed under the care of the federal government. Hot Springs National Park was established as Hot Springs Reservation in 1832 and later became a national park. Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872, followed by Yosemite in 1890 and the Grand Canyon in 1893.
Congress authorized the America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 to celebrate the nation's legacy of conservation. The legislation recalls noteworthy steps in the nation's preservation movement and quotes Theodore Roosevelt who said that nothing short of defending this country in wartime “compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendents than it is for us.”
Salazar and the United States Mint selected the places based on recommendations from the governor or chief executive of each jurisdiction. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner approved the list on August 25, 2009.
In addition to the coins for circulation, the Mint will produce collectable items including proof sets, silver proof sets, a five ounce silver bullion coin, coin bags, and coin rolls for each quarter. For more information about the America the Beautiful Quarters Program, please visit http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/NSQuartersProgram/index.cfm.