National Park Service at 100: The Prehistory of the Parks
There is no shortage of things to see in America’s national parks. Whether the view is of dappled Acadia or striated Zion, they all share one thing: somebody recognized that it was special enough to set aside for us all. First you have to see, and then you can save.
That’s worth keeping in mind on Aug. 25 as the U.S. National Park Service celebrates the 100th anniversary of the act that established it. The parks are celebrating with much fanfare: all 412 of them have free admission on the big day and throughout the following weekend. The Postal Service is issuing commemorative stamps to celebrate and the U.S. Mint is making special coins.
Yet America’s majestic national parks actually predate Woodrow Wilson’s signature 100 years ago. It was 1864 when the bill came across Abraham Lincoln’s desk to grant “Yo-Semite Valley” and the Mariposa Big Tree Grove to the State of California “for public use, resort, and recreation”—the first time in recorded history that a government had set aside land for public enjoyment rather than profit.
thanks +Susan Allen