One hundred years ago today, on 25 August 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act”, establishing the US National Park Service. A century later, the National Park System covers more than 84 million acres and includes 59 national parks, along with national monuments, battlefields, national seashores, lakeshores, and reserves. From the individuals who helped develop the NPS, to those who took steps to restore the parks, to those who actively work to conserve the wildlife therein, today we celebrate and honor all the effort invested in keeping the NPS “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Images: 1) Horseshoe bend, Arizona by Unsplash. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay. 2) Yosemite National Park, California by fancycrave1. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay. 3) Acadia National Park, ME by heipei. CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr.

We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then and have known ever since that there was something new to me in those eyes, something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.
—  Aldo Leopold
The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, “What good is it?” If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.