Described as America's "best idea", the concept behind today's National Park Service has been protecting and preserving America's most spectacular scenery for more than 100 years. Indeed, the first 12 parks - starting with Yellowstone (1872), Sequoia and Yosemite (both 1890) - predate the NPS itself, which was formed in 1916. Encompassing deserts, mountains, plains, forests, seas, historic sites and more, these are places of exquisite beauty, landscapes that are instantly recognisable even to those not fortunate enough to have actually experienced them in person.