The America the Beautiful Quarters Program calls for 56 designs in 11 years that honor national parks and other national sites in each state as well as the District of Columbia and the five U.S. territories — the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
The selected national site is featured on the reverse of the quarters with the release schedule determined by the order in which the federal government took control of that site. As an example, as the Hot Springs National Park area in Arkansas came under the control of the federal government in 1832, it is the first 2010 coin released in the program. Conversely, the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site was established in 1998, so it will be the last coin in the series and not appear until 2021.
The first President of the United States, George Washington, is featured on the obverse of each coin. Washington has been on the quarter dollar since 1932 and the original John Flanagan portrait is still used today (with some slight modifications done by William Cousins).
The following sections provide summarized information on the quarters to be released by year, as well as information on the honored parks. That actual section headers are links to pages that include more information on the coins, to include coin images when available (the content of this page is built from the yearly quarter information pages).
The first year of the quarter-dollar program begins in 2010. The following includes information regarding each park to be honored:
Hot Springs National Park
In 1832, the United States Congress set aside the Hot Springs area, located in Arkansas, as a reservation. Its goal was to prevent abuse to the Hot Springs and to insure its continued availability to the general public.
Unfortunately, Congress failed to create any sort of oversight on the land, and it continued to be abused for decades by both those seeking its rejuvenating waters as well as those wanting to capitalize on it. This changed in the 1870’s when the government started regulating the bathhouses and controlling the flow of the hot water.
At one point, an Army and Navy General Hospital was even built to use the hot springs as aids in the treatment of those wounded in the military. In 1921, the area officially became Hot Springs National Park.
Yellowstone National Park
While truly the first national park of the country (and the world for that matter), Yellowstone only came under the control of the federal government in 1872. Thus, it is the second location to be honored in the new America the Beautiful Quarters Program.
The park is located primarily in present-day Wyoming, but its 2.2 million acres stretch into Montana and Idaho as well.
Yellowstone is known primarily for its geothermal features (like the Old Faithful Geyser), but also hosts an abundance of wildlife and plant life along with its amazing scenery. Over 3 million visitors are estimated to see the park each year.
Yosemite National Park
With its pristine beauty, Yosemite was first put in the national spotlight in 1864 when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant after having never seen the location himself.
While the grant did afford Yosemite some protection, it put the management of it in the hands of Yosemite’s host state, California. Succumbing to the local pressures, compromises on its use were granted by the state which resulted in the over-grazing and over-logging of its resources.
Then, in 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt, who had befriended naturalist and Yosemite lover John Muir, took control back from the state and it eventually became a national park in 1916.
Grand Canyon National Park
Located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon National Park sees approximately 5 million visitors annually. Many of those are foreign tourists who have heard of the massive canyon and traveled to see it for themselves.
At the base of the canyon is the Colorado River which is said to have cut the massive gorge over millions of years through the erosive effects of its water. President Theodore Roosevelt initiated the process of federally protecting the land in the early 1900’s by first declaring it a federal game preserve and then a national monument.
It became a national park in 1919 and today consists of approximately 1.2 million acres.
Mount Hood National Forest
Mount Hood is named after a famed British admiral, but is truly one of America’s best treasures. It is located only minutes from Portland, Oregon and sees millions of visitors a year.
Those visitors not only take in the forest’s beauty, but also the many recreational activities that are offered. Some of these include boating, skiing, camping, etc.
The area first came under federal control in 1892 as part of the Bull Run Forest Reserve with its name changing to Mount Hood National Forest in 1924.
The 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters are the second year of coins to be issued under an 11-year program dedicated to honoring some of the most scenic or historic sites in the country, and U.S. territories. Featured coins, and in the order they will be released during the year are:
Pennsylvania – 2011 Gettysburg National Military Park Quarter
Montana – 2011 Glacier National Park Quarter
Washington – 2011 Olympic National Park Quarter
Mississippi – 2011 Vicksburg National Military Park Quarter
Oklahoma – 2011 Chickasaw National Recreation Area Quarter
Some details on the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters and the sites they honor is shown below:
Gettysburg National Military Park
Anyone familiar with the history of the American Civil War will know the name of Gettysburg. It has the unfortunate distinction of being the site of a battle which cost the greatest number of American lives.
An estimated 50,000 soldiers were killed when confederate forces, under the command of General Robert E. Lee, invaded northern territory and were met by union forces under the command of Major General George Meade. It is the consensus of most that the battle was the turning point of the war, swinging momentum to an eventual union victory.
Four and a half months after the battle, the site hosted President of the United States Abraham Lincoln who gave his now famous Gettysburg Address. Beginning "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation…", the speech ranks as one of the best known in American history.
Glacier National Park
Containing one million acres, Glacier National Park also boasts over 300 lakes and pristine mountain scenery. Located in the northern part of Montana, it connects to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada.
In 1891, the Great Northern Railway crossed the Continental Divide located in the area. In order to boost business, the company touted the beautiful sites to potential tourists and even lobbied Congress to dedicate the area as a forest preserve. In 1910, it was rededicated as a national park.
Today, many visitors take in the scenery by driving the Going-To-The-Sun Road which was completed in the 1930’s.
Olympic National Park
Located in the state of Washington, President Theodore Roosevelt created Olympic National Monument in 1909. It was officially changed to a national park in 1938.
The 900,000 acre park can be divided into three sections owing to its location; a pacific coastline, the Olympic Mountains and a temperate rainforest. All three have their own unique characteristics and offer something different for the visitor.
The coastline runs for 73 miles while the mountains are dominated by Mount Olympus, peaking at 7,695 feet.
Vicksburg National Military Park
Honoring the 47-day American Civil War battle on the edge of Vicksburg, Mississippi, the national park was not established until 1899, some 35-plus years after the battle took place.
Intent on wresting the last strong confederate presence on the Mississippi River, Union General Ulysses S. Grant led his men to the edge of Vicksburg where they began to besiege the city. After several weeks, and with few supplies and no reinforcements, the Confederate forces were forced to surrender.
Along with the confederate defeat at Gettysburg (occurring just one day before), the Vicksburg surrender is seen by many as the turning point of the war.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area
Named after the Chickasaw Indian Nation who were relocated to this area in the 1830’s from the Southeastern United States, the recreation area today consists of almost 10,000 acres.
Water covers almost 1/4 of the area providing lush landscape and many recreational opportunities for those that choose to visit. In keeping with an agreement with the Chickasaw tribe, no entrance fee is charged and many partake in boating, fishing, hiking, camping, etc. in the area.
2012 America the Beautiful Quarters are the third set of annual coins from the United States Mint series that honors national parks and other national sites. Featured coins, and in the order they will be released for the year include:
Puerto Rico – 2012 El Yunque National Forest Quarter
New Mexico – 2012 Chaco Culture National Historical Park Quarter
Maine – 2012 Acadia National Park Quarter
Hawaii – 2012 Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Quarter
Alaska – 2012 Denali National Park Quarter
These five sites are the eleventh through the fifteenth locations to be honored in the program. More information on the 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters and the sites they honor is shown below:
El Yunque National Forest
This national forest in Puerto Rico stands as a unique member among the national forest program in that it is the only tropical rain forest in the federal system. Its 28,000 acres hosts an extremely diverse bio system found nowhere else.
Yunque means anvil in Spanish and may be the source of the name as early visits from Spaniards show that the thunderstorms they encountered in the region sounded like hammers hitting anvils. Another possible source for the name is the indigenous peoples word for the area of "Yu-ke", thought to mean "White Lands."
However, the name came about, it is certain that the area is unique. At its highest regions, including the second highest peak in the mountain range also known as El Yunque, an estimated 250 inches of rain fall annually
Chaco Culture National Historic Park
Hosting the best concentrations of pueblos in the southwest of the United States, Chaco Culture National Historic Park honors the ancient pueblo people who lived in the region a thousand years ago.
The park is located in northwestern New Mexico between Albuquerque and Farmington, but fears of erosion caused by tourism has led to several areas being declared off limits to the public. Despite this, the park system works closely with the Hopi and Pueblo descendants to insure their concerns are taken into account while maintaining access to most areas.
By 1050, the Chaco area was being abandoned in favor of other locations leaving its ruins for future generations to ponder on.
Acadia National Park
Honored as the first national park east of the Mississippi River, Acadia is located in the state of Maine and preserves a location central to many cultures including Native Americans and European settlers.
The park consists mostly of 47 square miles on Mount Desert Island, but also includes areas of the smaller island Isle au Haut and part of the Schoodic Peninsula. An estimated 2.2 million visitors a year take in the area’s beautiful coastal views as well as the other recreational opportunities the area has to offer.
Of interest, philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. was instrumental in the creation of many of the parks trails in the early part of the 1900’s.
Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Established in 1916, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is located on the island of Hawaii (also known as the big island).
Through the activity of one of the most active Volcanoes in the world (Kīlauea), the island is still growing. This is because the lava Kīlauea is spewing is flowing into the ocean, which immediately cools the red hot substance and forms rock.
Over 1.5 million visitors make their way to the island park annually to see the volcanic activity in action. Activity ranges from vents in Summit Crater billowing ash and fumes to lava flows accessible to visitors.
Denali National Park
Denali is located in the interior of Alaska and literally means "the high one." This is because the park contains Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America.
Encompassing over 6 million acres, the park hosts an estimated 1.1 million visitors a year to its remote location.
An interesting side-note, when the park was first created in 1917, only a small portion of the mountain, not even including its summit, was within the parks boundaries.
2013 America the Beautiful Quarters are the fourth set coins from the United States Mint quarters series that honors 56 American sites. The featured coins, and in the order they will be released for the year include:
New Hampshire – 2013 White Mountain National Forest Site Quarter
Ohio – 2013 Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial Site Quarter
Nevada – 2013 Great Basin National Park Quarter
Maryland – 2013 Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine Site Quarter
South Dakota – 2013 Mount Rushmore National Memorial Site Quarter
Together, these five sites comprise the sixteenth to twentieth quarter dollars to be issued in the program. More information on the 2013 America the Beautiful Quarters sites below:
White Mountain National Forest
White Mountain National Forest was initially established in 1918 and lies mostly in the state of New Hampshire (a small part of the forest is located in the state of Maine).
The forest lays claim to over 100 miles of the 2,000 mile plus scenic hiking path known as the Appalachian Trail, which starts in Maine and ends in Georgia. When in the White Mountain area, visitors are treated to a multitude of recreational activities in addition to hiking liking camping and skiing.
White Mountain also boasts proximity as a main feature claiming 60 million US residents are within a days drive of its borders.
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial
While it commemorates a battle, the memorial truly honors the concept of peace. The monument, touted as the world’s most massive doric column is located in Put-in-Bay, Ohio.
The column was originally constructed from 1912-1915 to commemorate the Battle of Lake Erie which occurred during the War of 1812 between the United States and the British empire. During the battle, nine US vessels successfully captured six British vessels insuring US control of Lake Erie.
Lasting peace was at the heart of the construction of the memorial. It celebrates the close bond between the United States, Great Britain and Canada that has occurred since the War of 1812.
Great Basin National Park
Consisting of 77,000 acres in Nevada, Great Basin National Park is located about 290 miles north of Las Vegas.
One of the best known features of the park, its limestone caverns, was also the reason for its initial federal protection when the Lehman Caves National Monument was created in 1922. The park also contains groves of ancient bristlecone pines.
Less than 100,000 visitors are estimated to visit the park annually making it an ideal getaway for those seeking some seclusion.
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Fort McHenry, located in Maryland, is best known today for the role it played in the creation of perhaps the country’s most famous song, the national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Written as a poem by Francis Scott Key, the song recalls the 25-hour bombardment of the fort by British war ships during the War of 1812. The US forces within the fort were able to fend of the British despite having inferior weapons and prevented the Baltimore Harbor from being invaded.
In the years since the War of 1812, the area has seen many different uses including a prison during the American Civil War, a hospital during World War I and a Coast Guard Base during World War II. Virtually no signs of these facilities remain today, with the fort still closely resembling the structure as it was during the War of 1812.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Located near Keystone, South Dakota, Mount Rushmore is considered one of the most iconic symbols of the United States.
Initial carving on the monument started in 1927 and did not end until 1941, with all but one season completed under the watchful eye of sculptor Gutzon Borglum. Due to Gutzon’s death, the finishing touches were completed by his son (along with dozens of other workers.)
The memorial consists of the 60-foot faces of four of the nation’s best known Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt representing 150 years of the history of the United States.
2014 America the Beautiful Quarters mark the fifth year for a series of coins with annually changing designs that celebrate the beauty of the United States and its territories. The year’s five quarter-dollars in the order of their release include:
Tennessee – 2014 Great Smoky Mountains National Park Quarter
Virginia – 2014 Shenandoah National Park Quarter
Utah – 2014 Arches National Park Quarter
Colorado – 2014 Great Sand Dunes National Park Quarter
Florida – 2014 Everglades National Park Quarter
While all of the 2014 quarters honor national parks, that is not always the case in the complete 56-coin series which started in the year 2010 and runs until 2021. More information on the 2014 quarter-dollar sites can be found below:
Great Smoky Mountains National
Located in Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is said to be the most visited national park in the nation with approximately 9 million annual visitors.
Elevation in the park ranges from 800 feet to over 6,000 feet making the 800 miles of mountain trails in the park both challenging and rewarding. Visitors due need to take precautions for changing weather and the wildlife (an estimated 1500 bears reside within the park boundaries).
The location was added to the national park system in 1934 through the generous $5 million contribution of philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
Shenandoah National Park Quarter
Established in 1935, the park encompasses a narrow portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.
The most recognizable feature in the park is known as Skyline Drive which is 105 miles in length and runs mostly along the ridge of the mountains. With over 75 scenic overlooks, it is not hard to understand why the speed limit on the road is only 35 miles an hour allowing for plenty of safe viewing (of course the winding course of the road also adds to the enjoyment).
Most visitors to the park come in the fall to see the beautiful changing colors of the leaves.
Arches National Park Quarter
Located near Moab, Utah, Arches National Park consists of over 2,000 natural sandstone arches which have been created over thousands of years through the effects of erosion.
The area was originally designated a national monument in 1929 but was re-designated a national park in 1971 through an act of Congress.
Today, around 800,000 estimated annual visitors trek to the park to take in the natural beauty. Of note, over 40 arches have collapsed since 1970.
Great Sand Dunes National Park Quarter
Containing approximately 85,000 acres, Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado was designated a national park only in 2004, but had been a national monument since 1932.
The park claims the tallest sand dunes in North America with heights reaching 750 feet above the floor of the valley below.
Also included as part of the park are alpine lakes and several mountain peaks which reach heights of over 13,000 feet.
Everglades National Park Quarter
Encompassing the southern quarter of the everglades marshland in Florida, the park is touted as the largest subtropical wilderness in the Untied States. The park is also the third largest in the continental United States at 1.5 million acres.
Unknown to most, the everglades is actually a slow-moving system of rivers traveling at speeds well under 1 mile per day. As such, it makes an ideal habitat for hundreds of species of birds, fishes, mammals and over 50 species of reptiles including alligators and American crocodiles.
Marking the sixth year in a quarter-dollar coin series that honors national parks and sites are the 2015 America the Beautiful Quarters. The coins released for the year, the location of the site, and in the order they will be available are:
Nebraska – 2015 Homestead National Monument of America Park Quarter
Louisiana – 2015 Kisatchie National Forest Park Quarter
North Carolina – 2015 Blue Ridge Parkway Quarter
Delaware – 2015 Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge Quarter
New York – 2015 Saratoga National Historical Park Quarter
More information on the sites commemorated follow:
Homestead National Monument of America
Through the Homestead Act of 1862, free land was available for the taking in the undeveloped territories of United States. All an interested individual had to do was file an application, make improvements to the land, and then file for a deed of title.
One of, if not the first individual to file a homestead claim was Daniel Freeman. Stories tell of him filing a mere 10 minutes after midnight on January 1, 1863 at the Land Office in Brownville, Nebraska. This was the first day in which the Act went into effect.
Accordingly, his homestead is now the site of the National Monument dedicated to the rugged individuals who pursued land ownership under the Homesteading Laws. Aside from the unique Heritage Center on property, visitors are also able to see a small tract of Tallgrass Prairie as it would have been in the days when Freeman arrived.
Kisatchie National Forest
Designated in 1930 by President Herbert Hoover, Kisatchie National Forest of Louisiana contains over 600,000 acres of old growth pine and bald cypress groves.
With a headquarters in Pineville, Louisiana, the forest boasts dozens of recreational sites along with over 100 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, etc. Visitors are also able to enjoy activities like camping, swimming, hunting and even All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) riding within the park boundaries.
Of interest, the National Forest Service sometimes completes prescribed burns of sections of the forest.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Scenery is the topic of the day when it comes to discussions of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The 469 mile long road is located in both Virginia and North Carolina, but for the sake of the America the Beautiful Quarters Program, it is honored in the state of North Carolina.
Construction on the parkway itself began in 1935 under many of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s public works programs. Private contractors, Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps and even the Civilian Public Service program all played a role in its completion.
The complete Parkway as it is presented today took over 52 years to complete, with the last section being added as recently as 1987. The entire road follows closely along the Blue Ridge mountain chain and offers spectacular views at almost every mile-marker.
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Containing almost 16,000 acres, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge is located on Delaware Bay in Delaware. Four-fifths of the entire refuge is actually tidal salt marsh but the area also includes fresh water pools, swamps, and grasslands.
The refuge was created in 1937 but has served as a breeding ground for migrating birds and other wildlife for centuries. Today, an estimated 100,000 annual visitors come to the refuge.
Also located within the refuge boundaries is the Allee House. It is a pre-revolutionary war farmhouse that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Saratoga National Historical Park
Located forty miles north of Albany, New York, the Saratoga National Historical Park preserves the site of the Battle of Saratoga, known as the first major battle in which American Revolutionary forces were victorious over British forces.
With a victory to their name, American forces enjoyed a surge of support, both within the country and from foreign powers. Most notably among these was the new-found ally of France.
The state of New York preserved the area as a historic preserve in 1927 with it coming under the control of the National Park Service in 1938.
The United States Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters Program begins its seventh year with the 2016 America the Beautiful Quarters that honor the sites of a forest, monument and three parks. The coins released for the year, the location of the site, and in the order they will be available are:
Illinois – 2016 Shawnee National Forest Quarter
Kentucky – 2016 Cumberland Gap National Historical Park Quarter
West Virginia – 2016 Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Quarter
North Dakota – 2016 Theodore Roosevelt National Park Quarter
South Carolina – 2016 Fort Sumter National Monument Quarter
Each of these national parks or nationals sites will be featured on the reverse, or tails side, of a new quarter dollar issued in intervals throughout 2016. More information on the sites follow:
Shawnee National Forest
Shawnee National Forest is located in the Ozark and Shawnee Hills of southern Illinois. Unlike most of the rolling plains of the state, this area was not completely covered by glacial sheets leaving its topography full of rich stone bluffs and scenic overlooks to the lowland areas below.
The Forest encompasses about 265,000 acres and ranges in elevation from 325 feet above sea level (the flood plains of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers) up to the highest point in the park at 1,064 feet, Williams Hill.
Visitors to the forest enjoy activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, picnicking and even horse-back riding on the trails.
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
Established in 1940, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Kentucky honors the gateway to the American West that was used for centuries by both the Native Americans and later the European settlers.
The Gap is located at the border between Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia and features a prominent break in the otherwise tough to traverse Appalachian Mountains. Through this break, hundreds of thousands of settlers journeyed westward into Kentucky and beyond during the early years of the United States.
Today, an estimated one million visitors are attracted to the park by its history as well as the scenery and trails which the park has to offer.
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
Scenery is not the only thing that Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in in West Virginia has to offer as it also has a rich history.
Located on the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers, the Park is only 50 miles from the nation’s capital. The town around which the Park is located was named after Robert Harper who operated a ferry service on the river.
In later years, the town would serve as a federal armory (in fact Meriwether Lewis outfitted the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition here) which was overtaken by a group led by Abolitionist John Brown in what was known as John Brown’s raid. He meant to arm the slaves to fight for freedom in 1859, but failed and was hung.
An interesting Civil War note, Harpers Ferry was such a strategic location that is changed hands 8 times during the War.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Located in North Dakota, Theodore Roosevelt National Park consists of two separate units totaling approximately 70,000 acres.
The park is named after the 26th President of the United States who operated a ranch on the land in the late 1800’s before heading back east and entering the world of politics. His love of nature that was fostered in the prairies of North Dakota helped to shape his policies as President that led to the creation of many national parks.
Today, both park units are surrounded by 7-foot fences to help keep a population of American Bison in the park boundaries. Aside from the wildlife, over 100 miles of trails and prairie views are offered to the estimated 400,000 annual visitors.
Fort Sumter National Monument
Fort Moultrie was the first fort built on Sullivan’s Island to protect the port city of Charleston, South Carolina.
It is said that when the British forces fired on the yet to be completed or named fort in 1776, the soft palmetto logs absorbed the shock and little damage occurred forcing the British warships to retire nine hours later. In honor of his successful defense of the fort, it was named in honor of the American commander of the battle, William Moultrie.
Today, the area is better remembered for the nearby Fort Sumter which played a pivotal role in the American Civil War.
When the five 2017 America the Beautiful Quarters are released, the series of coins that celebrate the beauty of American sites will be nearly three-quarters compete, with a full eight years of history. The coins released for the year, the location of the site, and in the order they will be available are:
Iowa – 2017 Effigy Mounds National Monument Quarter
District of Columbia – 2017 Frederick Douglass National Historic Site Quarter
Missouri – 2017 Ozark National Scenic Riverways Quarter
New Jersey – 2017 Ellis Island National Monument Quarter
Indiana – 2017 George Rogers Clark National Historical Park Quarter
More information on the sites the 2017 America the Beautiful Quarters celebrate follow:
Effigy Mounds National Monument Quarter – Preserving sacred and historic structures from centuries ago is the main reason for Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa. The structures being referred to here are earthen mounds which were created by the Native Americans of the area.
The Monument consists of three separate units, all of them containing mounds with the Sny Magill Unit containing the most at 112. The North and South Units are more easily accessible and contain the visitor facilities for the area.
Mounds were built for burial, lodging and ceremonies by Native Americans from the midwest to the Eastern coast, but only in this area is such a collection so dense and well preserved. The monument even includes 31 effigies which are mounds in the shape of creatures like birds, mammals and reptiles.
Frederick Douglass National National Historic Site
Commemorating the man more so than the house is the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site located in Washington, D.C.
Frederick Douglass was a well-spoken abolitionist who in his early years was actually a slave before escaping to freedom. Throughout the remainder of his life he promoted the ideas of equality, not only based on ethnicity, but also for women.
The house serving as the base of the historic site was bought by Douglass in 1877, and served as his home until he died in 1895. He named the house "Cedar Hill" and it still affords visitors a grand view of Washington, D.C. today.
Ozark National Scenic Riverways
Located in Southern Missouri, Ozark National Scenic Riverways is the first national park area set aside to protect a wild river system.
The Riverways claim two of the clearest spring-fed rivers in the world, the Current and the Jacks Fork. Also found in the area are many caves, some of which offer tours into their depths.
The park consists of 80,000 acres with canoeing, hunting, hiking and fishing being just some of the activities that are enjoyed there.
Ellis Island National Monument (Statue of Liberty)
Found at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Harbor, but located mostly within New Jersey jurisdiction, Ellis Island served as a gateway to the promise of America from 1892 until 1954. During this time, an estimated 12 million immigrants passed through its doors resulting in an estimated 40% of the American population being able to trace its ancestry through Ellis.
The island itself was only 3.3 acres originally, but was expanded to 27.5 acres through fill resulting from the construction of the New York subway, ballast from ships and other sources.
Today, Ellis Island National Monument is operated under the Statue of Liberty National Monument, which is located on nearby Liberty Island. The Statue of Liberty has been an iconic representation of America since its dedication in 1886.
George Rogers Clark National Historical Park
Celebrating a victory for the young United States over British forces, the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park in Indiana is located at the site of where Fort Sackville was believed to be.
Fort Sackville was under British control in 1779 when a group of frontiersmen led by George Rogers Clark (older brother of William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame) successfully defeated the British resulting in their capture. This defeat insured American control of the frontier area almost equal in size to the original thirteen colonies.
2018 America the Beautiful Quarters are the ninth year of coins from the United States Mint quarters series that honors American sites. The featured coins, and in the order they will be released for the year include:
Michigan – 2018 Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Quarter
Wisconsin – 2018 Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Quarter
Minnesota – 2018 Voyageurs National Park Quarter
Georgia – 2018 Cumberland Island National Seashore Quarter
Rhode Island – 2018 Block Island National Wildlife Refuge Quarter
More information on the sites the 2018 America the Beautiful Quarters honor can be found below:
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Created in 1966, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan along Lake Superior has the distinction of being the first National Lakeshore ever created by Congress.
The Lakeshore consists of over 42 miles of shore covering 73,000 acres along the way. Paved roads enter the area on both ends, but anyone wishing to drive the entire length would have to do so on a county road.
Sites in the Lakeshore not only include the shore itself but a forest, lakes, waterfalls, sandstone cliffs and sand dunes. Colorful sandstone cliffs along the shore gave the area its name with their walls rising sometimes 200 feet above the lake level. The erosive effects of the water have created caves and other structures that are quick to foster the imagination in anyone.
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Also located along Lake Superior, but this time in Wisconsin, is the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore which was created in 1970.
Apostle Islands consists of 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland that offer both spectacular views and a glimpse into the history of the area. Aside from the natural beauty and growth of the area, visitors pay special attention to the sandstone sea caves and the 6 lighthouses that are included inside the Lakeshore’s boundaries.
Probably the most visited lighthouse is located on Sand Island. It stands 44 feet tall and was among the first to be lit in the early 1920’s to aid in ship navigation through the turbulent Superior waters.
Voyageurs National Park
Established in 1975, Voyageurs National Park is located near International Falls, Minnesota.
The park itself is named after French-Canadian fur traders known as voyageurs who were the first European settlers to frequent the area. They used the waterways of the area to both catch the animals from which they derived the fur from as well as a means of transportation to get those furs to market.
Today, an estimated quarter of a million annual visitors frequent the park, enjoying activities such as camping, boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing.
Cumberland Island National Seashore
Only accessible by boat, the Cumberland Island National Seashore was created in 1972 to preserve a majority of Cumberland Island in Georgia.
The island is touted as the largest and southernmost of Georgia’s barrier islands and contains maritime forests, beaches and marshes, all which invite both visitors and wildlife to the area. Unfortunately, due to its limited access, only an estimated 40,000 visit the seashore annually.
For those that are interested in taking in the seashore, the visitor center and ferry access to the island is located in St. Marys, Georgia.
Block Island National Wildlife Refuge
Established in 1973, twelve miles off the shore of Rhode Island, Block Island National Wildlife Refuge was started with a transfer of 28 acres from the United States Coast Guard.
Today, the refuge encompasses 127 acres and is most noted as a stop-over for over 70 species of migratory songbirds in the Atlantic flyway.
Visitors to the refuge should call ahead and reserve a space aboard the Block Island ferry which departs from Narragansett, Rhode Island.
The US Mint’s America the Beautiful Quarters Program begins its second to last year with the 2019 America the Beautiful Quarters. The coins released, the location of the site, and the order they will be available during the year follow:
Massachusetts – 2019 Lowell National Historical Park Quarter
Northern Mariana Islands – 2019 American Memorial Park Quarter
Guam – 2019 War in the Pacific National Historical Park Quarter
Texas – 2019 San Antonio Missions National Historical Park Quarter
Idaho – 2019 Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Quarter
More information on the 2019 America the Beautiful Quarter sites follows:
Lowell National Historical Park
Honoring the American Industrial Revolution, especially as it related to the textile industry, the Lowell National Historical Park in Massachusetts was created by Congress in 1978.
In the early 1800’s, enterprising individuals planned an industrial center along the Merrimack River. Plans called for sprawling complexes full of green spaces and open dormitories that would be a beacon to workers around the world. The plans succeeded and immigrants and citizens from other states flocked to work in the mills, especially young women.
Utilizing the power of the Merrimack River for its factories, Lowell was a center of commerce until the middle of the 20th century. Several decades of neglect followed, but a revitalization effort gained ground in the 1970’s leading to the Park we find today.
American Memorial Park
Commemorating a battle seen as the beginning of the end of the Pacific portion of World War II, the American Memorial Park was established in 1978 on the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands.
When American forces battled for possession of the island in June of 1944, they probably did not know the importance of that location. At a cost of thousands of lives (both American and local islanders), the Marianas Campaign proved successful in cutting off supply and communication channels for many Japanese forces.
It also provided access for the American B-29 bombers to strike the Japan Mainland leading to the end of the War.
War in the Pacific National Historical Park
Honoring the bravery and sacrifices of all who participated in the Pacific Theater of World War II, the War In the Pacific National Historical Park is located in several locations on the island of Guam.
Guam itself was captured by Japanese forces in 1941 and would not be liberated until 1944 when American forces invaded. The Memorial Wall at Asan Bay Overlook contains the names of over 16,000 Americans and Chamorro (indigenous peoples) who suffered or died during the war on Guam.
While the park itself is a reminder of a horrific chapter in world history, the pristine beaches and turquoise waters return a sense of peace to all who visit.
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
Located in San Antonio, Texas, the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park contains four of the five missions established in the area in the late 1600 and early 1700’s.
These missions were the work of Catholic orders who planned on converting the local Native American population to Christianity through their teachings. They were also considered part of the colonization of the country of Spain who controlled the region during this time.
The Park consists of Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan, Mission Espada as well as Espada Aqueduct. The aqueduct was built in 1731 by Franciscan friars to bring water to the fields around Mission Espada.
Frank Church River of No Returns Wilderness
Located in Idaho and created in 1980, the Frank Church River of No Returns Wilderness is the largest contiguous area of protected wilderness in the continental United States at 2.3 million acres.
Inside the wilderness area, visitors find mountainous landscapes including deep canyons and white-water rivers. The Salmon River Canyon is one of the deepest gorges in the United States, with a depth larger than the Grand Canyon, but without the sheer walls.
The name of the area has two origins. First, the Salmon River was called the River of No Returns by early settlers who could navigate down the river, but were unable to make it back up due to the rapids. Frank Church was a US Senator who was instrumental in the protection of the area.
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
Vermont – 2020 Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park Quarter
Kansas – 2020 Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve Quarter
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.
The 2021 America the Beautiful Quarters from the United States Mint is scheduled to only honor one location, Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Alabama.
2010 was the inaugural year for the 56-coin series, with minted coins released at a rate of 5 per year through 2020. This totals 55, leaving just one for the year 2021.
However, a stipulation in the America’s Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008, which authorized the series, gives the Secretary of the Treasury the authority to extend the program past 2030. The decision must be made by 2018 (year 9 of the original program), and would create a second run of the quarter dollars operated in the same fashion as the first.
Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
Former slave Booker T. Washington created the Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers in Alabama, which was later renamed the Tuskegee Institute. Among other things, the Institute had a flight program which greatly interested the U.S. Military.
Considered an experiment by many, the Army Air Corps started training African American men to be combat pilots in 1940. Before this time, they were not even allowed to fly US military aircraft. Overcoming prejudice and segregation, over 1,000 men at the institute excelled and became one of the most highly respected fighter groups of the war.
The Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site honors these men and the accomplishments they achieved.
In addition to the circulating quarters, the US Mint has also been authorized to create massive three inch bullion coins with the same America the Beautiful designs. These bullion coins will be struck from five ounces of .999 fine silver. (See America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins.)