Celebrate 100 Years of the National Park Service

 

Celebrate 100 Years of the National Park Service

By Burt Carey

God bless America,

Land that I love, 

Stand beside her and guide her 

Thru the night with a light from above; 

 

From the mountains, to the prairies, 

To the oceans white with foam, 

God bless America,  My home, sweet home. 

God bless America,  My home, sweet home.

 

God Bless America, National Park Service, centennial anniversary, Woodrow WilsonWhen he wrote the lyrics to God Bless America in 1918 and revised them in 1938, Irving Berlin expressed his love for and devotion to the United States. His song could very well be used to describe our national parks.

With the National Park Service celebrating its centennial anniversary this year, it’s time for Americans to reflect upon and enjoy our most treasured public lands. From national seashores and bird sanctuaries along the Atlantic Coast to the deserts and mountains of a now-tamed West, there are 59 national parks spread across the United States, and you’re invited to their birthday party.

Yellowstone National Park was the first, of course, established by an act of Congress March 1, 1872. Its founding creating a worldwide movement to protect lands for the enjoyment of the public. Today more than 100 countries have followed Yellowstone’s path by setting aside some 1,200 national parks.

Other lands were set aside in the ensuing years and fell under the jurisdiction of various federal agencies. Finally, on Aug. 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.

An Executive Order in 1933 transferred 56 national monuments and military sites from the Forest Service and the War Department to the National Park Service. This action was a major step in the development of today’s national system of parks—a system that includes areas of historical as well as scenic and scientific importance.

The National Park System now comprises more than 400 areas covering more than 84 million acres in 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands, all of which are serviced by some 20,000 employees. California has the most national parks (nine), while the largest, Wrangell-St. Elias in Alaska, is the largest, occupying more than 8 million acres.

Admission fees to national parks will be waived Aug. 25-28 to celebrate the National Park Service birthday, and again on National Public Lands Day Sept. 24, and Veterans Day Nov. 11. To find a national park, go online to www.nps.gov or for brief descriptions, photos, historical notes and other information, Wikipedia offers this.

Source:  Baret News