Happy 97th Birthday to the National Park Service!
The National Park Service was established on August 25, 1916 by a congressional act under President Wilson. Until then parks and monuments had been managed individually or by the US Army, with varying degrees of success. The National Park Service’s official purpose is “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such a manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” Its nearly 22,000 employees oversee all 401 units of the National Park System, which includes 59 National Parks, 78 National Monuments, 21,000 buildings, 12,250 miles of trails, and 16 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Note: All National Park System units are free today to celebrate this occasion.