<p>In 1916, a National Geographic expedition in southeast Alaska explored the "Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes," as explorer Robert F. Griggs called the volcanically active area. It would become Katmai National Monument.</p>

Ten Thousand Smokes

In 1916, a National Geographic expedition in southeast Alaska explored the "Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes," as explorer Robert F. Griggs called the volcanically active area. It would become Katmai National Monument.

Photograph by H.S. Cresswell, Nat Geo Image Collection

Stunning Vintage Photos Show the History of National Parks

A new National Geographic book explores wild places as you've never seen them.

The very first national park, Yellowstone, was established in 1872. By 2013, the United States National Park Service was overseeing 4,000 parks, landmarks, seashores, and other protected areas. And the idea has gone global: Around the world, there are thousands of national parks protecting such gems as Africa's Serengeti and China's pandas.

"We save wild places so they might one day save us," writes Kim Heacox, author of The National Parks: An Illustrated History, a new book from National Geographic that looks back at the history of parks. 

These photos from the book demonstrate the enduring power of preservation.

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