Starting in April 2010, the America the Beautiful Quarters Program will begin producing quarters with tails side designs that showcase a national park or other federally preserved area from each state, U.S. territory, and the District of Columbia.
The familiar 1932 John Flanagan portrait of President George Washington will be featured on the heads sides of the quarters.
A new quarter will be introduced about every 10 weeks for 11 years. The 56 coins will be issued sequentially in the order in which the featured location was first placed under the care of the federal government.
"The new quarter program recognizes that public places of inspiration and recreation have always been important to Americans," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said today.
"The quarters highlight the diversity and magnificence of 48 National Park Service sites and two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuges cared for by the Department of the Interior as well as six national forests administered by the Department of Agriculture," Salazar said. "Hopefully the coins will encourage people to learn more about each area and its significance to our heritage."
One of the hot springs at Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas (Photo credit unknown)
The first, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, was established as Hot Springs Reservation in 1832 and later became a national park.
Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming was established in 1872, followed by California's Yosemite National Park in 1890 and the Grand Canyon in Arizona in 1893.
Congress authorized the America's Beautiful National Parks Quarter Dollar Coin Act of 2008 to celebrate the nation's legacy of conservation.
The legislation recalls steps in the nation's preservation movement and quotes Theodore Roosevelt who said that nothing short of defending this country in wartime "compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendents than it is for us."
Secretary Salazar and the U.S. Mint selected the places based on recommendations from the governor or chief executive of each host jurisdiction.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner approved the list on August 25.
The designs will be developed through a consultative process involving the governor or other chief executive of each jurisdiction, the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, and will be selected after review by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee.
In addition to the coins for circulation, the Mint will produce collectable items including proof sets, silver proof sets, a five ounce silver bullion coin, coin bags, and coin rolls for each quarter.
Click here to see a complete list of all 56 national sites and the order in which they will be honored.
Copyright Environment News Service, ENS, 2009. All rights reserved.