2010 is the inaugural year for America the Beautiful Quarters Program which will feature 56 rotating reverse designs for the next eleven years. These designs are to honor national parks and other national sites in each state, DC and US Territories.
The United States Mint’s process for creating the new quarter-dollars includes the production of several candidate designs featuring themes for the selected national park or site. These are then submitted to the Secretary of the Interior, the chief executive of the host jurisdiction (State/District of Columbia/Territory), the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) for review and comment.
The candidates for the 2010 National Park Quarter Designs have already passed this step, and are at the next phase where the U.S. Mint Director makes the final recommendations to the Secretary of Treasury, who is tasked by the America’s Beautiful National Park Quarters Dollar Coin Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-456) to make the final design selections.
The following includes the park and site quarter candidate designs, in line art form, along with the recommendations made by the CFA and CCAC.
For the coin portraying Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, the CCAC preferred quarter design candidate AR-04 which depicts the doorway of the main park’s building with a fountain in front of it. CCAC members "appreciated the design’s clear imagery, emphasis on water, and incorporation of natural landscape."
The CFA preferred AR-02 which features the doorway of the park’s main building from the 1930s. Members commented on the "simplicity of this design," although they questioned the quality of the drawings they had to review. Members also suggested that the small National Park Service sign to the right of the door be eliminated, believing it would be too small to make out at the scale of the quarter.
For the coin portraying Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, the CCAC "strongly" preferred quarter design candidate WY-01. The design depicts a bison or buffalo in front of Old Faithful.
The CFA, on the other hand, disliked all of the designs due to their "poor quality" and selected none. Members approved of featuring Old Faithful, but suggest another depiction.
For the coin portraying Yosemite National Park in California, the CCAC liked quarter design candidate CA-03 which features a view of El Capitan. Committee members "praised the simplicity and ruggedness of the design, and its effective composition."
The CFA selected candidate CA-04, which depicts the Half Dome rock formation. However, members felt more work needed to be done with the artful to give it a more finished look. They recommenced the use of other sources to help in making refinements, like the photographs of Ansel Adams.
For the coin portraying Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, the recommended design from both the CCAC and CFA was AZ-01 which features an aerial view of the canyon. The CCAC commented that it, and AZ-04 were "powerful images." They chose the first design for scaling reasons. The CFA had the following to say in a letter to US Mint Director Ed Moy:
"The Commission recommended alternative #1, due the depth of the perspective view, but suggested several modifications. Noting that the foreground scree is given too much dominance in the composition, the Commission members recommended shifting the strong vertical alignment at the center of the coin to the right to emphasize the deep perspective toward the left side of the composition."
For the coin portraying Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon, the CCAC and CFA again agreed on a common design. Chosen was OR-03 which depicts Lost Lake in front of Mount Hood. The CCAC like its "imagery, and for the absence of design elements that would detract from the view of the mountain" while the CFA chose it for its " superior composition and simplicity of elements."