Nation­al Park Quar­ters, also referred to as Amer­i­ca the Beau­ti­ful Quar­ters, will include five dif­fer­ent designs per year fea­tur­ing Nation­al Parks and Nation­al Sites of Amer­i­ca.

El Yunque Amer­i­ca the Beau­ti­ful Quar­ter

el-yunqueThe first coin in 2012 to appear as part of the Unit­ed States Mint Amer­i­ca the Beau­ti­ful Quar­ters™ Pro­gram will be the 2012 El Yunque Amer­i­ca the Beau­ti­ful Quar­ter fea­tur­ing El Yunque Nation­al For­est in Puer­to Rico. The pro­gram itself start­ed in 2010 and fea­tures five new quar­ters a year, mak­ing this strike the eleventh in the series.

Final design selec­tions for the coin will not be known for some time. As an exam­ple of this, for the 2011 quar­ters, the two bod­ies respon­si­ble for mak­ing rec­om­men­da­tions on their appear­ance (the Citizen’s Coinage Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee and the Com­mis­sion of Fine Arts) only reviewed pos­si­ble can­di­dates in Jan­u­ary of 2010. This gave the Unit­ed States Mint at least a year before they would need to dis­close the design select­ed by the Trea­sury Sec­re­tary who has the final say. If the Mint holds to this pro­ce­dure, the El Yunque Quar­ter will be reviewed by the CCAC and the CFA the first part of 2011.

El Yunque Nation­al For­est in Puer­to Rico

This nation­al for­est in Puer­to Rico stands as a unique mem­ber among the nation­al for­est pro­gram in that it is the only trop­i­cal rain for­est in the fed­er­al sys­tem. Its 28,000 acres hosts an extreme­ly diverse bio sys­tem found nowhere else.

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Climb­ing Up

Yunque means anvil in Span­ish and may be the source of the name as ear­ly vis­its from Spaniards show that the thun­der­storms they encoun­tered in the region sound­ed like ham­mers hit­ting anvils. Anoth­er pos­si­ble source for the name is the indige­nous peo­ples word for the area of “Yu-ke”, thought to mean “White Lands.”

How­ev­er, the name came about, it is cer­tain that the area is unique. At its high­est regions, includ­ing the sec­ond high­est peak in the moun­tain range also known as El Yunque, an esti­mat­ed 250 inch­es of rain fall annu­al­ly. Even on the low­er lev­els, it is not uncom­mon for 50–60 inch­es of rain to be seen. All of this mois­ture is brought to the for­est through the trade winds that blow from Africa across the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

For those seek­ing some adven­ture, it is pos­si­ble to find gold in the rivers of the park. How­ev­er, it will not be a very prof­itable under­tak­ing as a full days work might only yield a few dol­lars worth of the pre­cious met­al.

Many may be unfa­mil­iar with the name of El Yunque. This may, in part, be due to the fact that it was changed in 2007 from the Caribbean Nation­al For­est