Astronaut celebrates 100 years of parks

America's national parks offer some of the most incredible views of beautiful landscapes here on Earth — so imagine what these spectacular scenes look like from space. 

NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, commander of Expedition 48, has a unique vantage point of Earth from the International Space Station (ISS), where he has captured many photos of the deep trails of the Grand Canyon in Arizona; the high peak of Denali (also known as Mount McKinley) in Alaska; and the dry, barren landscapes of Death Valley in California. 
"Many of the large-scale parks are easily seen from the space station — their rugged beauty and unspoiled terrains reveal a geographical landscape as diverse as America itself," Williams said in his video. "And the smaller parks, often unseen from space, are every bit as significant and crucial to the overall landscape and timescale of American history and culture." 

Williams' love for national parks began when he was a child. His father was a high school history teacher and seasonal park ranger for the National Park Service. Every summer, his family would move from Wisconsin to Wyoming, where is dad serviced Devils Tower National Monument. 

From the space station, Williams has had the opportunity to photograph Denali National Park; the extensive Grand Canyon network, which is 18 miles (29 kilometers) wide, 1 mile (1.6 km) deep and 277 miles (446 km) long; and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument in Washington, where the iconic volcano erupted in 1980. 

The National Park Service was founded 100 years ago, on Aug. 25, 1916. Since its creation, the service has protected and preserved the country's natural beauty. 

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