Memorial Day: The 50 most visited monuments and memorials in the USA
TOP 5. Statue of Liberty National Monument, New York, N.Y. 4, 279, 020 visitors.
This Memorial Day, many will visit our national’s monuments and memorials in order to honor those who gave their lives for this country. Each year, the National Park Service puts together a list of attendance numbers at its parks, memorials and monuments (Annual Park Ranking for Recreation Visitors for 2015), so we’ve compiled a list of the 50 with the most visitors last year, ordered from smallest to largest. Which monument or memorial was visited by almost 2.5 million more visitors than the next most popular in 2015? Scroll through the gallery above to find out.
Memorial Day is more than just a day off from work. It’s a day to honor veterans who died protecting the U.S. Here are just a few of the many memorials you can visit to commemorate these brave men and women. USA TODAY
Afterwards, compare this year’s rankings with last year’s:
The 42 most visited memorials and monuments
And take a look at the 50 most visited National Parks in 2015:
America’s 50 most visited national parks in 2015
Climate Change is the National Parks’ Biggest Challenge
A Threat That Hits Close to Home for All Americans
“A grove of giant redwood or sequoias should be kept just as we keep a great and beautiful cathedral.”
— Teddy Roosevelt
Why the Statue of Liberty, Stonehenge and Venice are under threat because of climate change
The Statue of Liberty, Uganda’s gorilla forest, Stonehenge and Venice are all threatened by sea level rise, drought and other climate change effects, according to a United Nations list of 31 protected sites at risk.
Researchers reviewed existing data and reports to measure the climate-specific threat to 31 sites in 29 countries, ranging from coral reefs and tropical forests to deserts and archaeological icons.
And they found that “every site in the report is already experiencing some impacts of climate change,” according to lead author Adam Markham of the US-based Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) think tank.
“Climate change is fast becoming one of the most significant risks for World Heritage sites,” said a statement from the UCS and two UN bodies.
Representatives of 195 nations agreed in Paris last December to limit average global warming to “well below” 36F (2C) over pre-industrial levels, and 34F (1.5C) if possible.
Stonehenge Credit: Ben Birchall/PA
This must be achieved through deep cuts in fossil fuel use – coal, oil and gas which releases planet-warming greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when burnt.
But scientists say that even a 2C increase will mean a land-gobbling sea level rise, longer and more frequent droughts, dramatically-altered storm and rainfall patterns, and increasingly acute water shortages.
Beyond the 2C threshold, the projected impacts worsen exponentially.
“As the report’s findings underscore, achieving the Paris Agreement’s goal… is vitally important to protecting our world heritage for current and future generations, said Mechtild Rossler, director of the UN culture agency’s World Heritage Centre.
New York’s Statue of Liberty is threatened by sea-level rise and superstorms, Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park by hotter temperatures and drought, and England’s prehistoric Stonehenge monument by storms and flooding, the report found.
Along with the UCS think tank, the report was compiled by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
“The archaeological site of Skara Brae in Scotland and some of the statues on Easter Island are in real danger of being lost to the sea as a result of coastal erosion (worsened by climate, storms and sea level rise) in the near future,” Mr Markham told AFP by email.
The Yellowstone National Park may be transformed in just a few decades by more frequent wildfires and ever-less snow due to warmer and shorter winters.
“Venice is likely to eventually succumb to rising water levels,” said Mr Markham.
“Coral reefs such as those in New Caledonia and Palau are already being damaged by stronger and more frequent El Ninos.”
Most of the sites face multiple threats, from damage caused by tourists to mining, poaching and human encroachment, Mr Markham explained.
“Climate change impacts are a new and additional stress that makes the combination of all the others worse and brings new direct threats.”
In many cases, loss or damage to the sites would make a significant dent in tourism income and livelihoods.
Unesco lists more than 1,000 heritage sites.
Of these, nearly half are threatened by industrial activities such as mining, oil exploration and illegal logging, according to a report released in April by conservation group, WWF.
Climate bureaucrats tasked with drawing up a roadmap for executing the Paris agreement close a 10-day session in Bonn on Thursday – the first official negotiating round since the historic pact was concluded.
at a glance
The formal name for the Paris climate talks. Officially, the 21st conference of the parties to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in which world leaders agreed on the need to act to prevent dangerous global warming
“Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” are voluntary pledges countries have made in advance of Paris, setting out the action they plan to take to tackle climate change in the 2020s
The agreed UN aim to avoid global warming reaching 2C above preindustrial levels, the level beyond which scientists say we will see the worst effects of climate change
Action to limit climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Action to adapt to the effects of climate change – e.g. extreme weather events
Loss and damage
The impacts of climate change to which it is no longer possible to adapt – e.g. if a country becomes uninhabitable