#11 Yunque Puerto Rico National Forest coin bear part of the America the Beautiful Series
The El Yunque National Forest of Puerto Rico is unique in the fact that it is the only tropical rain forest in the national forest system. It is also one of the oldest national sites under the control of the US government as it was originally created by the King of Spain in 1876. The United States acquired it as a result of the Spanish-American War.
El Yunque has undergone a number of name changes over the years with its longest running name being the Caribbean National Forest. In 2007, George W. Bush ordered a name change again, returning it to El Yunque, the name the forest had been called for generations by the local population. Although no one is sure about the origins of the name, one of the highest peaks in the forest is also called El Yunque.
At the highest regions of this forest, over 250 inches of rain falls each year and even in the lower sections, at least 50 inches of rain falls a year. Combined with the latitude of the region offering a tropical climate, the forest consists of a very complex ecosystem.
El Yunque offers a variety of activities for visitors each year. Tourists can plan camping, hiking, and snorkeling trips in the area. Tours are available in the forest as well, where visitors can see some of the many sites and animals that are native to this area.
The quarter for this bear was released by the US Mint on January 23, 2012