By Patrice D., Guest Blogger
By the Act of March 1, 1872, Congress established Yellowstone National Park in the Territories of Montana and Wyoming "as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people" and placed it "under exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior." The founding of Yellowstone National Park began a worldwide national park movement. Today more than 100 nations contain some 1,200 national parks or equivalent preserves.
On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting the 35 national parks and monuments then managed by the department and those yet to be established.
Thus began our nation's wonderful National Parks System, which now includes over 400 National parks in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands.
How many national parks or monuments have you visited? My family and I enjoy camping and try to visit a national park every year. This year, we visited Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, The Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Cleveland, Ohio (this park is so close, and has lots of year round activities), and the beautiful Gulf Islands National Seashore. I took this sunrise picture on the beach at Gulf Islands. The sand was so white and clean it squeaked!
The farthest west I have been is the beautiful Zion Park in Utah, and Yellowstone in Wyoming. We stayed at the Madison campground in Yellowstone. It’s a beautiful area, and it’s semi-primitive, which means it had bathrooms with running water, but no showers and no electricity. It was so dark at night that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, but we saw so many stars it was amazing.
This is my National Parks Passport, which I try to take with me when I know I’m visiting a park. There are stamping stations at the visitors center at every National Park where you can purchase your own passport and have it stamped.
The National Parks Service is urging all of us to “Find Your Park.” Did you know that there is a National Park less than 50 miles from us? The beautiful Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in Porter, Indiana.
There are many books written about the National Parks, and with the 100 year anniversary, there are many new editions available. Here are just a few with links to our Bibliocommons catalog.
The National Parks America's Best Idea: An Illustrated History, by Duncan, Dayton.
An American Legacy: Celebrating 100 Years of the National Park Service, by Shive, Ian.
Ansel Adams in the National Parks Photographs From America's Wild Places, by Adams, Ansel.
National Parks Guide U.S.A, by Flynn, Sarah Wassner.
There are even some magazines with special editions for the National Parks anniversary. Check your local branch for availability.
There are links to all of the National Parks, and much more at the National Parks website.