You are here

National Park Quiz 80: Water

Does Crater Lake really contain more than four trillion gallons of water? Bob Janiskee photo.

All of these statements about National Park System water bodies are true except one. Can you find the ringer?

1. True or false? Water is either the key focus resource or a major focus resource in more than one-third of all National Park System units.

2. True or false? Only one of the 392 National Park System units has the world “water” in its official name.

3. True or false? Laid end-to-end, the shorelines of National Park System lakes and reservoirs would stretch around the world.

4. True or false? Laid end-to-end, the perennial rivers and streams in the National Park System would encircle the earth more than three times.

5. True or false? The two largest man-made bodies of water in the United States are in the National Park System.

6. True or false? The water area of Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota exceeds the water area of Everglades National Park.

7. True or false? Crater Lake National Park’s namesake water body contains more than four trillion gallons of water.

8. True or false? Hot Springs National Park sells water to local businesses.

9. True or false? More than 90% percent of Biscayne National Park is water-covered.

10. True or False? Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks contain more than 3,000 lakes and ponds.


(1) True. According to the National Park Service, water is either the key focus resource or a major focus resource in approximately 139 NPS units, which is about 35% of the total. The National Park Service-reported tally includes “roughly 71 ocean and Great Lakes parks, 28 stand-alone Wild and Scenic Rivers, 16 River Parks, 14 Lake or Reservoir Parks, 20 river-centered parks, and at least 6 spring or wetland parks.”

(2) True. The only National Park System unit whose name contains the word” water” is Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

(3) True. The earth’s equatorial circumference is a little over 24,900 miles, so the 32,576 miles of lake and reservoir shoreline in the National Park System would stretch around the world about 1.3 times.

(4) True. The approximately 84,271 miles of perennial rivers and streams in the National Park System would circle the earth at the equator nearly 3.4 times.

(5) True. Lake Mead and Lake Powell, the two largest reservoirs in the U.S., are located in Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, respectively.

(6) False. Voyageurs National Park has a water area of 131 square miles. While that’s certainly impressive, it’s less than one-seventh of the 977 square miles of water in Everglades National Park.

(7) True. Crater Lake, which has a surface area or 20.6 square miles and an average depth of 1,148 feet, contains an estimated five trillion gallons of water.

(8) True. The federal government began using a plumbing system to control water flows for bathhouses at Hot Springs way back in the 1870s. Local businesses who want to use the hot springs water have to buy it from the park.

(9) True. Florida’s Biscayne National Park is nearly 300 square miles in area, but about 95 % of it consists of open water.

(10) True. There are about 3,200 lakes and ponds in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Grading: 9 or 10 correct, rest on your laurels; 7 or 8 correct, pretty darn good; 6 correct, passable fair; 5 or fewer correct, nothing to brag about.


Good point, and still a more sporting method of lake building, in my opinion. Now, I just have to get there to see the darned thing. May of next year, it looks like, if all goes well. Tanganyika (and Malawi) and Baikal are on my bucket list as well, but a bit more difficult to pull off trips to see them. The fish evolution in Tanganyika vis-à-vis it's hydrologic history is quite a story.

Kirby, actually, the "crater" of Crater Lake isn't a crater at all, but a 4000 foot deep caldera formed from the inward collapse of ancient Mt. Mazama, a 12,000 foot high strato volcano of the High Cascades that emptied much of its magma chamber during its climactic eruptions, some 7,700 years ago.

Those stats are even more impressive in the light of Baikal and Tanganyika both being rift lakes, essentially knife gouges in the earth. Crater is...well...a crater. Somehow, getting your depth with the help of fault rifts seems like cheating to me. Crater's doing it right, in my book of lake etiquette.

Those sure are interesting statistics, Owen. Thanks for sharing. For more Crater Lake statistics, see my October 16, 2009 Traveler posting "By the Numbers: Crater Lake". Bye-the-bye, Crater Lake contains about four cubic miles of water. Each year, about 34 billion gallons of water are added to the lake by precipitation/snowmelt and a like amount is subtracted by evaporation and seepage.


Did you know that , that Crater Lake, based on a comparison of average depths, is the deepest lake in the world, among those lakes whose basin's are entirely above sea level? Lakes Baikal and Tanganyika are deeper, but both of these lakes have basins that extend below sea level.

Based on a comparison of the maximum depth, however, Crater Lake (594m or 1949 feet, plus or minus 7 feet) ranks as the 9th deepest in the world, second in North America, and third in the Western Hemisphere.

I'm ashamed of myself for missing that. But, 8 out of 10 is still better than normal for me.

Actually, if someone read the directions, they would have either 8 or 10 correct, not nine, as picking the wrong ringer would lead to two incorrect answers. Just trying to be argumentative because I'm bitter that I got 8. :)

Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide