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a protected land or water area with a relatively unspoiled natural setting, often with unusual features, such as waterfalls, canyons, and picturesque landscapes. Some national parks are analogous to preserves, from which they differ mainly in that they are also public recreation areas.
Originally, national parks were set aside as areas where the state protected natural resources from predatory exploitation by private entrepreneurs. The first such area, Yellowstone National Park in the USA, was established in 1872. By 1973 there were more than 1,000 national parks in 98 countries. In many countries national parks are established by the supreme legislative body of the state. In some countries, such as the USA and Japan, the excessive number of visitors to the national parks creates a threat to the natural objects; therefore, steps are taken to provide for appropriate organization of the national parks and the surrounding regions. In the USSR the Lahemaa National Park in Estonia (1969) and the Gauja National Park in Latvia (1973) were established by decrees of the Councils of Ministers of the Estonian SSR and the Latvian SSR.
REFERENCEUnited Nations List of National Parks and Equivalent Reserves, 2nd ed. Brussels, 1971.
V. A. BORISOV