Wednesday, December 12, 2018

When Did The National Park System Begin.

Yellowstone National Park, Sunset  When I was growing up, my father would throw us into the car with tents, food, and clothing to spend a couple weeks camping in various National Parks.   My father taught school, so he'd have the summer off with us and this was a fairly cheap way of taking a vacation.

The very first National Park in the United States happened on March 1, 1872, when Congress withdrew two million acres of land from the territories of Montana and Wyoming and declared Yellowstone National Park as a public park for the benefit of people.

 Yellowstone was placed under the care of the Secretary of the Interior.  The secretary was told to preserve everything in the park.  Yellowstone was the first but not the last.  Over the years, Congress designated other parks and monuments for the people but they all ended up under the care of different departments. 

In 1906, President Theodore signed the Antiquities Act which gave the government the right to create national monuments as a way to protect cliff dwellings, pueblo ruins, old missions in the southwest.  No one is allowed to dig for any antiquities on federal lands without specific permission from the department.  About a quarter of the places in the National Park Service were acquired under this act.

On August 25, 1916, Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service, a bureau within the Department of the interior. The same act established the services mission, goals, and policies designed  to protect the 35 national parks and monuments.
In 1933, an executive order transferred 56 national monuments and military sites from both the Forestry and War Departments.  The unification of all these national places was the first real step creating a real national park service. In addition, it added historic preservation as part of the Park Services mission.  In 1935, the Historic Act was officially passed so the service could focus on historic preservation of everything within it's parks.

In the 1950's Congress approved enough money to upgrade facilities  and created visitor centers in various parks, living places, and training facilities.  Later in the late 1960's, the park services established trails, one was the Appalachian trail while the other was the Pacific Crest Trail.

 At this time, the National Park Service contains over 84 million acres in all 50 states, Guam, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Saipan, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Colombia.  Remember this, the next time you visit a national park. 

Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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