The National Park Service turns 100 years young on August 25, 2016.
In 1872, Yellowstone National Park was the first of several areas designated “as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people” under control of the Department of the Interior. As the territories grew, it seemed each new park was administered by a different organization.
One hundred years ago this Thursday, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the umbrella organization that would become the caretaker of our country’s natural wonders, the National Park Service (NPS). A century later, NPS is now responsible for 83 million acres of national treasure.
NPS and other organizations are holding special events to commemorate this historic occasion. Here are a few that are happening in our little corner of the country:
- All 412 National Parks are offering Free Admission from August 25-28.
- Confluence Festival, Harper’s Ferry, W.Va., celebrates music and arts in honor of the NPS Centennial (August 20)
- Niagara (NAACP) Movement Pilgrimage, Harper’s Ferry, W.Va., retraces the footsteps of the civil rights pioneers of the NAACP. (August 21)
- Form a human arrowhead (the NPS logo) with thousands of your best friends on the National Mall (August 25)
- The North American Ornithological Conference in Washington, D.C., brings science and conservation together (August 16-20)
- NPS Centennial Family Festival at Constitutional Gardens in Washington, D.C., celebrates all things NPS (August 27)
Wallace Stegner, an American writer, notes, “National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” During this contentious election year, Find Your Park and cast a vote for the absolutely American, absolutely democratic,