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23 Fascinating Things You Never Knew About The National Parks

People used to watch bears feed out of dumpsters for fun.

1. The National Park Service just had a big birthday — it turned 100 years old on August 25, 2016.

2. Speaking of Yellowstone, it was the very first national park — or was it?!

3. Either way, Yellowstone is basically just a giant freakin' volcano, and if it ever erupts, we're toast.

4. Moving on! The National Park Service isn't just responsible for gorgeous natural wonders. It also oversees a whopping 417 public sites, and only 59 of those are national parks.

5. The tallest tree in the world is Hyperion, which is in Redwood National Park in California — but almost no one knows exactly where it is.

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Hyperion is about 700-800 years old and is 369 feet tall! It was discovered in 2006, but its exact location has never been revealed due to fears that human traffic would disturb its ecosystem.

6. And the longest known cave system in the world is in Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.

7. Speaking of caves, you can buy and eat food inside of one at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

8. National parks used to have something called "bear shows," which basically consisted of tourists watching bears eat out of open garbage dumps at night.

9. And until the early '60s, people would feed bears from their car windows.

10. Drowning is the most common cause of death in a national park — but park deaths are relatively rare.

11. The NPS has never disclosed how many people have gone missing in the parks, but the number is estimated to be more than 1,100.

12. It takes about 10 years to become a permanent federal NPS employee.

13. One of the hundreds of thousands of people who have worked for the NPS is President Gerald Ford, who was a park ranger at Yellowstone.

14. The current oldest full-time park ranger is 95-year-old Betty Reid Soskin, who works at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California.

15. The NPS first hired female park rangers in 1918, just two years after it was founded.

16. In fact, the NPS might not exist if it weren't for the help of women!

17. And until 1978, female park rangers weren't allowed to wear the same uniform as their male counterparts.

18. Some parts of the distinctive park ranger uniform are descended directly from the United States Army Cavalry's 19th century uniforms.

19. The largest national park by area is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, in Alaska, and it's 20,625 square miles.

20. The newest national park is Pinnacles in California, which was established on Jan. 10, 2013.

21. Pinnacles was California's ninth national park, which makes California the state with the most national parks.

22. Only one state doesn't have have any sites run by the National Park Service, and that's wee, little Delaware.

23. The most visited national park is Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which had an insanely impressive 10,712,674 visitors in 2015.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and see what they have to offer!