When you look at all the magnificent beauty within America’s National Parks, it is very easy to have a sense of civic pride, especially this year as we celebrate the Centennial founding of the National Park Service.
If you have not visited a National Park lately, 2016 may be a fantastic year to plan a trip to one as we commemorate the founding of the National Park Service. There are currently 59 National Parks and over 117 protected areas that are designated national monuments. There is something for everyone to discover and also parks are accessible in every part of the country.
Teddy Roosevelt is remembered as instrumental in generating an interest in preserving and cherishing the natural beauty of the lands found in our country. He was one of the most visible advocates of the establishing and preserving of the Parks: often remembered as the “conservation president”. He loved the great outdoors and began several steps to insure the preservation of our nation’s natural landmarks. The passage of the 1906 Antiquities Act enabled Roosevelt and future presidents to proclaim certain sites and landmarks historical and/or scientific and worthy of preservation. The very first site to be proclaimed as a national monument under this act was Devils Tower in Wyoming. It is a unique natural feature, rising 825 feet above the Wyoming plains. Roosevelt’s dedication to the preservation of lands prompted the establishment of Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. With rugged terrain and landscapes filled with colorful geographic features, the park has been described as the “Badlands” of the north.
Roosevelt paved the way for park preservation, however it was really Stephen T. Mather who helped to turn the concept of a National Park system into legislative reality. Mather was an American industrialist and conservationist who promoted the concept of the creation of a federal agency to oversee the National Parks administration. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law an order establishing the National Park System. Stephen Mather was appointed as the first director of the National Park Service in 1917.
Since 1916 our National Park service has continued a legacy for 100 years. I encourage you to celebrate this legacy by visiting a National Park sometime during this Centennial year. Check out the National Parks web-site at: www.nps.gov to find information on the park of your choice. I have a few parks on my list that I am hoping to see including Glacier National Park in Montana….lots of chances for great photos! Can hardly wait to view these mountains with my own eyes and take my own photos other than internet voyages. Put Your Traveling Shoes On. JES
(Authors note: I originally posted this in March, but revised with a few updates and photographs)