The 2012 El Yunque National Forest Quarter honors the forest which is located in the United States Territory of Puerto Rico. The quarter had a release date of January 23, 2012. That was when it was launched into American circulation via Federal Reserve Banks. The U.S. Mint began offering rolls and bags of the coins to the public on February 3, 2012.
The El Yunque quarter marks the first of five strikes to be released in the year as part of the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program which debuted from the U.S. Mint in 2010. The El Yunque National Forest Quarter is the eleventh in the series overall which will include a total of fifty-six before it is completed in 2021.
The obverse of all of the coins in the program contain a portrait of George Washington. The image of the first President of the United States was designed by John Flanagan and first used on the 1932 circulating quarter dollar.
The final design for the reverse of the El Yunque National Forest Quarter was announced by the United States Mint of December 8, 2011. Before the final design was chosen, two groups provided input on the possible quarter imagery, the Citizen’s Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA). Their input was considered along with the recommendation of the acting Director of the United States Mint before the Treasury Secretary made the final decision.
Along with the chosen design, the reverse includes the inscriptions of EL YUNQUE, PUERTO RICO, E PLURIBUS UNUM and 2012.
Also released in 2012 are the Chaco Culture National Historical Park Quarter, the Acadia National Park Quarter, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Quarter, and the Denali National Park Quarter. See the Park Quarters Release Dates page for a complete listing of all of the sites to be featured in the program.
El Yunque National Forest information
The El Yunque National Forest of Puerto Rico is unique in the fact that it is the only tropical rainforest 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.