This week the National Park Service celebrated its 99th birthday by offering complimentary admission to all of there parks, including waiving fees to 127 sites that aren’t normally free. National Park historians might recall that the first designated parks was Yellowstone which received that status all the way back in 1872. However the National Park Service as we know it today wasn’t formally established until August 25, 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act” into law.
“The service thus established shall promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations hereinafter specified by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said parks, monuments, and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
– Act To Establish a National Park Service (Organic Act), 1916
While a 99th anniversary might not be as exciting as a 100th (an event the NPS is already gearing up for), it’s definitely worth taking a moment to celebrate this milestone. Even as it closes in on turning a century old itself, what’s wonderful about the National Park Service is that they help preserve something that’s been around far longer — the natural beauty of our great country. With the Park Service in place that beauty will hopefully be there for hundreds of years to come. Happy Birthday, NPS!