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
The 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.
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