Long before the National Park System was officially created, there were a number of activists and movements that raised awareness leading up to 1916. See how the NPS has become what it is today in 2016 by first looking back to 1872 where it all started.
An act establishing Yellowstone National Park was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Officially titled "An Act to set apart a certain Tract of Land lying near the Head-waters of the Yellowstone River as a public Park," this landmark legislation created the first national park.
One of the most notable advocates, John Muir, convinced prominent guests of the importance of putting the Yosemite area under federal protection; one such guest was Robert Underwood Johnson, editor of Century Magazine. Muir and Johnson lobbied Congress for the Act that created Yosemite National Park.
Soon after the establishment of the park on May 11, 1910, a number of hotels and chalets were constructed by the Great Northern Railway. These historic hotels and chalets are listed as National Historic Landmarks and a total of 350 locations are on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Antiquities Act, signed by President Theodore Roosevelt on June 8, 1906, grew out of a movement to protect the prehistoric cliff dwellings, pueblo ruins and early missions in the Southwest. It authorized Presidents to proclaim and reserve "historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest" on lands owned or controlled by the United States as "national monuments."
A major reorganization within President Franklin Roosevelt's executive branch in 1933 had a tremendous impact on the National Park Service. Specifically, two executive orders, effective August 10, 1933, transferred the War Department's parks and monuments to the National Park Service. In addition, the National Park Service received all the national monuments held by the Forest Service and the responsibility for virtually all monuments created thereafter.
It is the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states after Death Valley and Yellowstone. It has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance, one of only three locations in the world to appear on all three lists.
The park was chartered by the United States Congress in 1934 and officially dedicated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940. It is the most visited park in America.
The Historic Sites Act grew out of the National Park Service's desire for a stronger legal underpinning for its expanding historical programs and from recognition outside the Service of the need for greater federal assistance to historic properties. The Act declared "a national policy to preserve for public use historic sites, buildings and objects of national significance for the inspiration and benefit of the people of the United States."
Mission 66 was a 10-year program, initiated by National Park Service Director Conrad L. Wirth in 1956, to upgrade facilities, staffing, and resource management throughout the System by the 50th anniversary of the Service in 1966. Congress appropriated more than a billion dollars over the 10-year period for Mission 66 improvements. The legacy of the program included dozens of visitor centers, hundreds of employee residences, as well as the Mather and Albright employee training centers at Harpers Ferry and the Grand Canyon.
United States Virgin Islands
The Land and Water Conservation Fund Act established a fund for acquiring new recreation lands either within or adjacent to existing park units or new parks. Money for the fund would come from surplus property sales, motorboat fuel taxes, and other sources. A portion of the money in the fund would come from fees charged at existing parks. The fund was administered by the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, a new Interior bureau established in 1962.
Though the North Cascades National Park Act designated the region as a National Park on October 2, 1968, the National Park Service did not commence direct management until January 1, 1969.
Redwood National Park and California's Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks (dating from the 1920s) combine to protect 133,000 acres of old-growth redwood forests.
This legislation authorized the Secretary of the Interior to establish a "volunteers in the parks" program to aid in interpretation functions or other visitor services or activities in and related to areas administered by the National Park Service. The legislation provided a vehicle that allowed the Service to utilize volunteer help and services. The number of volunteers and volunteers has consistently grown and has proven increasingly beneficial.
As the National Park Service continues it's efforts in the future in order to perserve America's greatest idea, the National Park Service benefits greatly from donations from people that understand it's value. Even a small donation goes a long way to help fund and support the continuing efforts.Donate to NPS
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