To celebrate Women’s History Month, we wanted to commemorate the women who have made pivotal contributions to our national parks. From Joshua Tree to Everglades, many of our national parks would not be here today if it wasn't for women who used their voices to protect our American landmarks. Below, we highlighted a few of these impactful heroes who helped shape the parks that we know and love today.


Marjory Stoneman Douglas - Everglades National Park, FL


The Everglades of southern Florida were originally only seen as a swamp area that did not serve any ecological purpose. Majority Stoneman Douglas, however, saw what many others did not and recognized the detrimental impact that changes to the Everglades’ natural systems had on the area's water flow. When the waterflow was restricted, oxygen was depleted due to the diminishing amount of vital algal growth, leaving the aquatic animals in the area unable to survive. In response to what she witnessed, Douglas wrote The Everglades: River of Grass, where she described the importance of the natural ecosystem in south Florida and the need for human protection in the area. During that same year, Everglades National Park was established thanks to the awareness that Douglas raised.



Minerva Hoyt - Joshua Tree National Park, CA


Minerva Hoyt found solace in the California desert, visiting it frequently on horseback in the 1890s. When her husband and son suddenly passed away, she often found herself sleeping out in the open to find peace. The more she visited, the more she became fascinated by the desert, determined to protect Joshua tree’s fragile ecosystem. To foster a shared appreciation for the desert among others, she designed desert plant displays and brought them to shows from New York to London. Eventually, she created the International Deserts Conservation League with the goal of establishing the area south of Twenty-Nine Palms as a national park. In 1930, Hoyt presented her idea to the director of the National Park Service and her idea was turned down. This did not stop her even slightly as she continued to lobby for the park's creation and presented her plan to Franklin D. Roosevelt. On August 10, 1936, the president agreed and Joshua Tree National Monument was created. In 1994, the area was redesignated as a national park.



Susan Threw – Sequoia National Park, CA


When Susan Threw visited Sequoia National Park for the first time, she was immediately enamored with the towering sequoias. As an Ohio native, she had never seen a landscape as remarkable as this one. Although the park had existed for about three decades, it was only a fraction of the size that the park is today. Upon learning about various projects that were already in progress to expand the park, she decided to document the high country east of the park with the goal of exposing Americans to the stunning landscapes in the park, motivating them to preserve it. She created the book “The Proposed Roosevelt-Sequoia National Park '' which was a collection of pictures documenting the high sierra. Threw’s advocacy not only led to the park tripping in size but also served as a model for Ansel Adams, who also used photographs to convince Congress to establish Kings Canyon National Park.



Virginia Donaghe McClurg – Mesa Verde National Park, CO


Reporter Virginia McClurg first visited Mesa Verde’s cliff dwellings for an assignment and was immediately hooked. She eventually returned to the area four years later with a guide and photographer in efforts to advocate for the protection of the Ancestral Puebloan ruins in the area. She delivered lectures on the area from Denver to Paris and became one of the founding members of the Colorado Cliff Dwellings Association, where she helped build a road to the ruins and led tours to the area for anthropologists and scientists. Members who visited the area became impressed by how valuable the site was and joined McClurg in advocating for the area. In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt signed a law creating the area as Mesa Verde National Park thanks to her publicity and advocacy efforts.


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