Happy 100th birthday to the National Park Service! On August 25th, 1916 President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service into law. At the time, there were less than 40 national parks and monuments in the system. Today, there are more than 400. Texas alone is home to more than a dozen national park sites. You can learn more about them with the incredible PBS documentary, “The National Parks of Texas: In Contact With Beauty.”
When the NPS was first established in 1916, it was tasked with preserving our national lands in order 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.” Even though the size of the NPS has increased dramatically since its early days, so has the population of the US, and with that, continued struggles to preserve the parks and honor the original mission of the NPS.
In a recent interview with NPR, US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell identified the two biggest problems facing the NPS today – climate change and a lack of diversity amongst the visitors to our national parks.
To learn more about how climate change is already altering the landscape of one of our country’s most stunning national parks, you can check out a blog we published earlier this month, “What I Did on My Summer Vacation.”
And to learn more about how communities and organizations around the country are trying to increase access to the outdoors for young people and minorities, be sure to check out this incredible blog post – “Why I Wear Jordans in the Great Outdoors,”written by CJ Goulding, a good friend of the local and national movement to get kids outside.
One last thing – in celebration of their birthday, the NPS is offering free admittance to all of the country’s national parks today through Sunday, so get out there and #FindYourPark!