Gateway Arch National Park
Mike and I quickly drove through St. Louis to hit up (at the time) the newest National Park; Gateway Arch. To be frank, I was less than enthused. I had been there as a child, and it’s definitely worth a visit. But it is NOT a National Park. It should have remained a National Monument. This is heresy of course, but when I asked why to a Ranger while I was visiting, he said that with the new designation, there is increased funding, more tourism for the city as the 60th Park, and he had heard there was a quid pro quo of sorts for votes/support for this. Again, all heresy, but it makes sense since this is the official NPS definition/difference between their parks, monuments, historic site, etc.
- A national park contains a variety of resources and encompasses large land or water areas to help provide adequate protection of the resources.
- A national monument is intended to preserve at least one nationally significant resource. It is usually smaller than a national park and lacks its diversity of attractions.
I think we can all agree that the Gateway is a great destination, a wonderful place to visit…. but not a “National Park.” That said, the museum is simply wonderful and one of the coolest one’s I’ve been to. It’s fun to ride up the arch (especially as a kid), and the history and significance of this monument is one of the importance in our Midwest.