Now that the National Park System is bulging with 392 units, it’s easy to forget that park system dynamics include subtractions as well as additions. In fact, Congress has been selectively abolishing/deauthorizing/decommissioning/delisting national parks for more than a century. The first instance occurred in 1895 when the second national park that Congress created, Mackinac National Park, was transferred to the state of Michigan and abolished only 20 years after it was established. Dozens of other parks were abolished in subsequent decades.
The stories of these abolished parks are interesting, and in many case instructive. Parks have been abolished due to lack of national significance, lack of funds for development and operation, destruction of natural and cultural resources, mission realignment, and other reasons, including bungling on the part of Congress and mismanagement on the part of the National Park Service. Like people, Congress and the Park Service have made mistakes -- and hopefully, learned from them.
During 2009, Traveler posted histories of ten abolished parks.
Traveler previously posted articles about these seven additional abolished parks: