The United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program began in 2010 and honors US national parks and national sites. The program approaches its next to last year with the 2020 America the Beautiful Quarters. These five coins, and the order in which they will be release during the year follow:
American Samoa – 2020 National Park of American Samoa Quarter
Connecticut – 2020 Weir Farm National Historic Site Quarter
U.S. Virgin Islands – 2020 Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve Quarter
When the entire program is completed in 2021, a total of 56 sites will have been honored on their own quarter dollar. Each of these sites are considered to have national interest with one chosen from each state, the District of Columbia and the five territories of the United States.
The final design selections for the 2020 sites should be known in the early part of that year, shortly before the first coin is released.
More information on the 2020 America the Beautiful Quarter sites can be found below:
National Park of American Samoa
The only American National Park south of the equator, the National Park of American Samoa was created in 1988. Unfortunately, due to the traditional communal land system in place on American Samoa, the Park Service could not purchase any land. With the aid of the Samoan village councils, the service was able to obtain 50-year leases on several land areas in 1993.
Typical of a tropical environment, American Samoa boasts some of the best coral reefs and rain forests in the world. As such, these are some of the areas set aside by the Park system to preserve for local inhabitants and visitors from around the world.
The park today consists of 10,500 acres and sees only an estimated 4,000 annual visitors owing mostly to its remote location and its infant status as a park.
Weir Farm National Historic Site
Located in Connecticut, the Weir Farm National Historic Site honors the memory of one of American’s best known impressionist painters.
J. Alden Weir was born in 1852 in New York, the son of an artist. He would grow up in the arts and eventually even studied abroad. Then, in 1882, after having lived in New York City, he decided to move to the rural location of Ridgefield, Connecticut.
It was here that Weir created a retreat atmosphere for himself and fellow artists at the farm. It was also here where he really came to develop his impressionist style.
Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve
Calling itself a "living museum", the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve on the island of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands was created in 1992 by an act of Congress.
Together with the government of the islands, the Park Service preserves not only historical sites like the only known site where members of the Columbus expedition actually set foot on territory now under the control of the United States, it also protects vast pristine environments like mangrove forests and coral reefs.
Consisting of only 1,015 acres, the park defies its size in grandeur when it comes to the beauty it offers its visitors.
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
The hyphenated park name gives credit to the previous owners of the land in Vermont but not to the history behind it.
George Perkins Marsh, diplomat and a man many consider to be America’s first environmentalist, first owned the land in the early 1800’s. It was bought in 1869 by Frederick Billings, a lawyer and financier who made it a personal mission to reforest much of the area landscape after he bought it off of farmers who failed on the land. He also started a dairy farm operation. His heirs continued the tradition. The land eventually came under the ownership of Laurance Rockefeller, noted philanthropist whose conservation efforts expanded national parks around the country.
Finally, in 1992, Rockefeller donated the area he had used as a summer home to the National Park Service which created the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Located in the Flint Hills of Kansas, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve protects one of the last remaining areas of undisturbed tallgrass in the world.
Tallgrasses were once quite common across central North America, growing an average height of five to six feet. But, through the expansion of farming, most of it was plowed under leaving less than 4% of the original grasses intact. A majority of that is located within the Preserve.
The Preserve was established in 1996.
America the Beautiful Quarter Obverse Design
Throughout the program, five quarters will be released annually from 2010 until the last year of 2021, when only one coin is scheduled. Each of these quarters will feature George Washington on its obverse. The Washington portrait first appeared on a quarter dollar in 1932 and was the work of John Flanagan. William Cousins slightly modified that design, and his work will be seen on these quarter dollars.
Released in conjunction with the quarter dollars will be bullion coins as a part of the United States Mint America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin Program. These three-inch coins will be struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver and feature the same imagery as found on the quarters.