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New Quarters Will Honor National Parks

By Ed O'Keefe

Pretty soon you'll be able to carry a bit of the Grand Canyon in your pocket. Or at least a picture of it.

Fifty-six national parks and other historic sites will be honored with commemorative quarters starting next April, the U.S. Mint and Interior Department announced Wednesday.

The quarters will feature an image of a national park or other national historic site from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories. The Mint will release a new coin every 10 weeks for 11 years in the order in which the location was placed under the care of the federal government.

That means Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas will go first. The Hot Springs Reservation was established in 1832 and later became a national park. Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, the Grand Canyon National Park and Mt. Hood National Forest will follow later next year. (Review the full release list here.) Images of the coins will be released at a later date.

For those of you keeping score (and trust us -- people do), the quarters will commemorate 48 National Parks, two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuges and six national forests operated by the Agriculture Department.

Congress authorized the quarter program in 2008. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the U.S. Mint picked the sites for the quarters based on recommendations with the governors or chief executives of each state or territory. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner gave final approval to the list on Aug. 25.

By Ed O'Keefe  | September 9, 2009; 12:20 PM ET
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