There will be five 2012 America the Beautiful Quarters featuring reverse designs representing selected sites located within Puerto Rico, New Mexico, Maine, Hawaii, and Alaska.
Already preparing for their release, the U.S. Mint has created and offered up for review 24 candidate designs that are emblematic of the four national parks and one national forest that will be honored in 2012, which is the third year of the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program.
The proposed designs were reviewed by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) on October 21 and by the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) on October 26. These two bodies are responsible for reviewing all U.S. coinage and medals. While the CFA and CCAC recommended three of the same 2012 quarter designs, an exacting account of each will wait until their official statements are issued.
It should be noted that the eventual designs chosen for the quarters will also be featured on the three-inch, .999 fine 2012 5 oz Silver Coins that will be issued through the Mint’s America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin® Program.
The following are high resolution images of the candidate quarter designs by order of their 2012 release (click on any image to enlarge it):
El Yunque National Forest Quarter Design Candidates – Puerto Rico
The CFA and CCAC both recommended design PR-04.
El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rain forest in the United States National Forest System. It is described jungle-like with its lush foliage, pretty waterfalls, and breathtaking terrain. Thousands of native plants and 240 tree species occupy the area, of which 23 are exclusive to the forest. About 600,000 annual visitors listen to the little Coqui frogs sing, see large snails, and look for the rare Amazona vittata, an endangered Puerto Rican parrot. Other kinds of parrots are more common.
Chaco Culture National Historical Park Quarter Design Candidates – New Mexico
The CFA recommended candidate NM-04. No design received sufficient votes from the CCAC to earn a recommendation.
Chaco, a prehistoric city uncovered in a New Mexico canyon, was once a thriving community. Remnants of its multi-storied buildings, ceremonial sites, and distinctive architecture continue to strike awe in its visitors. Taking a guided tour to see the petroglyphs, cliff dwellings, and diverse great houses is a popular activity.
Acadia National Park Quarter Design Candidates – Maine
The CFA recommended ME-03 while the CCAC chose ME-04.
Two million visitors flock to Acadia National Park to see the rugged, rocky coastline of Maine. The park consists mostly offshore islands, each unique. Hiking the granite peaks and exploring the historic carriage roads are popular activities. Buses and boat cruises offer diverse and breathtaking views of the park.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Quarter Design Candidates – Hawaii
Both the CFA and CCAC recommended HI-04.
Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park features two of the world’s most active volcanoes. Visitors can stand at the rim and often times watch the lava. The expansive park offers dramatic volcanic landscapes and a lush tropical forest. A museum with seimographs that monitor the volcanoes lets visitors know where most of the action has taken place.
Denali National Park Quarter Design Candidates – Alaska
Both the CCAC and CFA recommended design candidate AK-02.
Denali National Park and Preserve attracts travelers with a sense of adventure. Abundant wildlife and home to Mount McKinley, the park gives visitors a sensation of peace with a gulp of grandeur. Shuttle and tour buses go deep into the interior and offer the best views of rolling mountainsides, sheer cliffs, and prime wildlife viewing areas to see moose, caribou, Dall sheep, wolves, and grizzly bears.
The U.S. Secretary of Treasury is responsible for making the final 2012 quarter design selections after receiving final recommendations from the U.S. Mint director.