A national park is a park in use for conservation purposes. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently, there is a common idea: the conservation of wild nature for posterity and as a symbol of national pride. An international organization, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and its World Commission on Protected Areas, has defined “National Park” as its Category II type of protected areas.
While this type of national park had been proposed previously, the United States established the first “public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people”, Yellowstone National Park, in 1872. Although Yellowstone was not officially termed a “national park” in its establishing law, it was always termed such in practice and is widely held to be the first and oldest national park in the world. Some would say that the first official national park to be designated as such at its creation was Mackinac Island, legislated in 1875. Australia’s Royal National Park, established in 1879, was the world’s third official national park. In 1895 ownership of Mackinac Island was transferred to the State of Michigan as a state park and national park status was consequently lost. As a result Australia’s Royal National Park is by some considerations the second oldest national park now in existence.
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Nature photography refers to a wide range of photography taken outdoors and devoted to displaying natural elements such as landscapes, wildlife, plants, and close-ups of natural scenes and textures. Nature photography tends to put a stronger emphasis on the aesthetic value of the photo than other photography genres, such as photojournalism and documentary photography.
Nature photographs are published in scientific, travel and cultural magazines such as National Geographic Magazine, National Wildlife Magazine and Audubon Magazine or other more specific magazines such as Outdoor Photographer and Nature’s Best Photography. Well known nature photographers include Frans Lanting, Galen Rowell, Eliot Porter and Art Wolfe.
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Tourism is travel for recreation, leisure, religious, family or business purposes, usually for a limited duration. Tourism is commonly associated with international travel, but may also refer to travel to another place within the same country. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people “traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes”.
Tourism has become a popular global leisure activity. Tourism can be domestic or international, and international tourism has both incoming and outgoing implications on a country’s balance of payments. Today, tourism is a major source of income for many countries, and affects the economy of both the source and host countries, in some cases being of vital importance.
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