Celebrating 100 Years of America’s Best Idea: The National Park Service

August 25, 2016
colorado river, grand canyon national park
Boating on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon Nation Park

Today marks the official birthday of the National Park Service, celebrating its 100th year! From the Statue of Liberty in New York City to the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, from the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve in Alaska to Dry Tortugas National Park in Key West -- and everything in between -- the National Park Service has spent the last century protecting our geographical treasures.

On August 15, 2016, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act, which created the National Park Service, and stated its purpose: “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."

Many parks are throwing a birthday bash this month, to which you are all invited, of course. The NPS hosts a number of free park days throughout the year, and this weekend – August 25-28 – would be a wonderful end-of-summer treat. And if you’re looking for a cool souvenir, the U.S. Mint has issued three commemorative coins and the U.S. Postal Service created a set of Forever Stamps featuring 16 national parks.

Documentary lovers won’t want to miss National Parks Adventure, a MacGillivray Freeman film narrated by Robert Redford. Created for IMAX and other giant-screen theaters, they describe it as “a film that offers not only a sweeping overview of the national parks’ history, but is equal parts adrenaline-pumping odyssey and soulful reflection on what the wilderness means to us all.”

We are the “future generations” mentioned in the Organic Act a century ago. So find your park, gather up a group of people, and go celebrate our national parks!

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