Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, they are proud to safeguard these nearly 400 places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year. But their work doesn’t stop there.
They are proud that tribes, local governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and individual citizens ask for our help in revitalizing their communities, preserving local history, celebrating local heritage, and creating close to home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun.
Taking care of the national parks and helping Americans take care of their communities is a job they love, and they need – and welcome – they help and support.
On August 25, 1916 U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation creating the National Park Service. That marks 100 years of preserving, restoring, and sharing some of America’s most special places — from gorgeous, iconic landscapes like Yellowstone and Yosemite to the sites across the country that tell the stories of people and events that have shaped our history. Our parks are an essential part of our heritage and a source of great pride. And, most importantly, our parks belong to all of us.
That’s a lot to celebrate, so we’re starting now. Last month, President Obama kicked things off when he launched Every Kid in a Park — an initiative that will give every fourth-grade student and their families a free pass to National Parks and all other federal lands and waters for a full year.
And today, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation are continuing the celebration with the launch of #FindYourPark, a new campaign to encourage Americans to connect to our astounding network of parks and public lands — whether it’s for the first time or the hundredth.
First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush are spearheading this effort. As honorary co-chairs of the Centennial celebration, they’re challenging every American to get out and #FindYourPark.
You can find out more about the campaign at FindYourPark.com – a new website that features ways to find your park, share your park experiences and memories, and check out the stories others have shared. Already, celebrities like Bill Nye, Bella Thorne, Roselyn Sánchez, Terrence J, and Mary Lambert have posted their stories. And there’s more to come.
- The National Parks Service – Overview
- The National Parks: America’s Best Idea
- The National Parks: Civil Rights Sites
- Public Use Statistics
- Free Entrance Days – Participating Parks (By State)
- Park Planning
- NPS Timeline
- Laws & Policies
- 1864 Congress vote to transfer Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove to California under the condition that it shall be held ‘for public use, resort and recreation.
- 1872 Yellowstone becomes the first National Park.
- 1906 President Theodore Roosevelt (R) signs the Antiquities Act, allowing the president to create national monuments to protect areas of natural, cultural or scientific significance.
- 1916 The Organic Act establishes the National Park Service to ‘promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments and reservations’.
- 1933 President Franklin Roosevelt (D) consolidates all national parks, monuments, m ilitary parks, cemeteries and memorials, and other properties under the National Park Service.
- 1935 The Historic Sites Act gives the National Park Service responsibility for preserving historic places, buildings and objects of significance.
- June 17, 2016 FACT SHEET: Obama Administration Recognizes the 100th Anniversary and Economic Benefits of America’s National Parks
- Photos and Multimedia
- NPS National Mall & Memorial Parks app
- Frequently Asked Questions
- 100th Anniversary Celebrations
- National Monuments Designated by President Obama
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