One Hundred Years of the National Park Service

“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there is hereby created in the Department of the Interior a service to be called the National Park Service…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 purposes 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.”

An Act of August 25, 1916, Public Law 64-235, (39 STAT 535) to Establish a National Park Service, and for Other Purposes, 8/25/1916

File Unit: Laws of the United States, 1915-16, 64th Congress, 1st Session, Part 3, Public Acts 163-241, 1789 - 2011Series: Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789 - 2011Record Group 11: General Records of the United States Government, 1778 - 2006

Yellowstone. The Grand Canyon. Yosemite. For many Americans, the mere mention of these sites conjures up images of grandeur and magnificence.

The Tetons - Snake River,” Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming., 1933 - 1942, from the series Ansel Adams Photographs of National Parks and Monuments, 1941 - 1942

As the conservator of the United States’ most storied and important landmarks, the National Park Service is charged with the preservation and operation of each of the nation’s 59 national parks, as well as hundreds of protected shorelines, preserves, and historical landmarks.

This summer, the National Archives will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service by displaying the document that founded the NPS, the Organic Act of 1916.

Though the first national park had been established at Yellowstone on March 1, 1872, it and subsequently designated national parks were only loosely managed under the Department of the Interior.

By establishing a National Park Service, the Federal Government ensured the efficient and responsible conservation of national landmarks for future generations.

The passage of the Organic Act was the result of a collaborative effort between businessmen, government officials, and private citizens, who together  had advocated for the establishment of a National Park Service for decades.

President Wilson signed the bill on August 25, 1916, and the National Park Service was born.

The Organic Act provided for the appointment of a full-time Director of the National Park Service as well as a support staff to manage the parks from Washington, D.C. These employees were to be paid out of a pool of funds appropriated by Congress. Additionally, the Parks Director was tasked with organizing the system of local officials and park rangers that operated each site.

Today the National Park Service employs over 22,000 full time employees as well as 221,000 volunteers across more than 400 park areas. Each year, the National Park Service enables more than 275 million visitors to experience the beauty and wonder of America’s protected landmarks.

The National Archives will be displaying the Organic Act of 1916 in the East Rotunda Gallery from June 30 through August 31, 2016. Plan your visit and see the origins of the National Park Service for yourself!

Originally posted by todaysdocument

(Dogs at Yosemite National Park,  excerpted from the film “Yosemite Valley“)

Keep reading at On Exhibit: One Hundred Years of the National Park Service | Prologue: Pieces of History


This spectacular bolt of lightning was photographed from Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. A cloud-to-ground bolt like this can strike with up to one billion volts of electricity, and heat the air around it to an astonishing 30,000 Kelvins (53,540 Fahrenheit), which is 5 times hotter than the surface of the sun (surface only though – the sun’s atmosphere and inner layers are much hotter). This sudden intense heat causes the air to expand rapidly and vibrate; resulting in the sound we call thunder.

- RE

Photo Credit: Hallie Larsen, National Park Service



Happy 100th Birthday to the National Park Service! Today in 1916 President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Organic Act which created the NPS and paved the way for the protection of our most beautiful, rugged, and historic places. Thank you to all those involved with the NPS that work to keeping our parks pristine.

Admission to all NPS units is free from August 25th to August 28th in celebration of the Centennial, so get out there and enjoy one near you. If you’d like to know more about how you can participate in the Centennial, then head over to FindYourPark.com


Awesome View, Banff National Park


100 Years of National Parks, 100 years of climate change

On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act” to establish the National Parks and Services. Since then, the parks have experienced a lot of changes. 

In the early 1900s, field biologist Joseph Grinnell and a group of students traversed California to conduct one of the most extensive ecological surveys ever conducted in the western United States.

They collected thousands of animal specimens from prominent natural landmarks and meticulously filled hundreds of thousands of field notes pages that biologists still refer to this day.  

“His field books are little goldmines,” said biologist Steven Beissinger, who along with other researchers from UC Berkeley, have been following Grinnell’s footsteps, revisiting and resurveying the same iconic landscapes of Yosemite, Mojave Desert and other national parks to find out how much has changed.

At the time Grinnell documented the regional wildlife, certain species of animals were only found at a particular elevation.  

But as expected with climate change, the shifting temperature and precipitation patterns are impacting the ecology and are causing animals to migrate to different elevations and areas from those they once inhabited. 

Given the reality of climate change, Beissinger thinks the parks can still play an important role as a refuge for species to survive in the face of a changing environment.

He and his colleagues are identifying areas where climate isn’t changing as rapidly as a means to help land manager prioritize their conservation efforts — so that these refuges can remain connected and species can move around as needed in the future.

Happy 100th anniversary to the National Park Service! This Museum diorama is set in front of one of the most iconic National Monuments—Devils Tower in Belle Fourche River, Wyoming. Rising solidly over the soft, broken red sandstone of the Belle Fourche River Valley, Devils Tower has inspired awe for generations. To some Northern Plains tribes, the formation is so remarkable that it figures in their sacred legends. In the late 1800s, a state senator tried but failed to make it a national park. In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt declared Devils Tower a national monument. It was the first decision of the Antiquities Act, which allows the President to protect culturally and scientifically valuable federal land for generations to come.

Learn more about the mule deer diorama. 

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel, only read one page.” -St. Augustine

Happy Centennial Anniversary to the @NationalParkService!
Today, plan an adventure to one of America’s 413 National Parks! Life’s too short to not go on an exciting adventure!
Thanks @jla6595 for this amazing photo at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah!

Which National Park is on your bucket list?

Happy 100th Birthday, National Parks! Sorry You’re Falling Apart.

Thursday marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park System, which has been described as “America’s best idea.”

Today the National Park Service oversees 409 sites, 23 national trails and 60 “wild and scenic” rivers. These parks are among the country’s most prized assets ― enjoying high public regard and record attendance last year, with 307 million visitors.

But they also face a nearly $12 billion backlog on maintenance.

Read more.


The hydrothermal features of  Yellowstone by day and by night, for the Park Service’s 100 birthday

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