The St. Louis Arch, also known as the Gateway Arch, is designated as a National Park for several reasons:
- Landmark and Symbol: The Arch is an iconic symbol of the United States and is recognized worldwide as a symbol of St. Louis and the spirit of westward expansion. It represents the historical significance of St. Louis as the "Gateway to the West," commemorating the role the city played in the westward expansion of the United States.
- Unique Design and Architecture: The Arch is a remarkable architectural achievement, designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen. Its unique design and engineering make it a significant cultural and historical landmark, deserving of protection and preservation.
- Historical Significance: The St. Louis Arch preserves and tells the story of the westward expansion of the United States, including the Lewis and Clark expedition and the Oregon Trail. It serves as a reminder of the explorers, pioneers, and settlers who ventured westward, shaping the nation's history.
- Recreational Opportunities: The St. Louis Arch offers a range of recreational activities to visitors. The surrounding grounds provide well-maintained trails and green spaces for walking, picnicking, and enjoying the views. The park also includes the Museum of Westward Expansion, which exhibits artifacts and information about the history of the region.
- Educational and Cultural Importance: Being designated as a National Park allows for the educational and cultural benefits associated with such a status. Park rangers and interpreters provide guided tours, educational programs, and information about the history and significance of the Arch, enhancing visitors' understanding and appreciation of the site.
Overall, the National Park designation for the St. Louis Arch recognizes its historical, architectural, and cultural significance, and provides opportunities for preservation, education, and recreational activities for visitors.