Posted by: Brad Nixon | August 25, 2016

U.S. National Park Service 100th Anniversary

I’ve been celebrating the 100th anniversary of the establishment of one of America’s greatest assets: the National Park Service.

Today, August 25, 2016, is the official anniversary. President Woodrow Wilson signed the order, but it had required the energy of a number of far-sighted people to bring it into being.

The Park Service holds 84 million acres of land and 4.5 million acres of water, protected from development. There are 27,000 historic structures, 85,000 miles of streams and 20,000 miles of roads and trails.

Whether you’re an American or a citizen of another country,  you know the names: Grand Canyon, Denali, Acadia, Glacier, Yellowstone, Sequoia, Yosemite. There are hundreds of other parks and monuments you’ve never heard of, and it would take a lifetime to explore them to any extent. I hope you do see them, as much as possible.

What makes a national park? There are 4 criteria:

  • It is an outstanding example of a particular type of resource.
  • It possesses exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the natural or cultural themes of our nation’s heritage.
  • It offers superlative opportunities for recreation, for public use and enjoyment, or for scientific study.
  • It retains a high degree of integrity as a true, accurate, and relatively unspoiled example of the resource.

I’ll continue visiting some of them with you as the year continues, because I have a lot more yet to cover. To see the articles to-date, look in Categories in the right-hand column under “US National Parks.”

It’s an appropriate time to give a tip of the “Smokey Bear” hat to the approximately 20,000 NPS employees. They, as much as the land, water, mountains and canyons are core parts of this important national resource. “Ask a Ranger,” is a byword, everywhere. Smart, knowledgeable people who know history, geology, biology, botany, astronomy, not to mention how much water you ought to be carrying before you take Bright Angel Trail down to the Colorado River.

We are richer for having devoted a hundred years to preserving our resources. Let’s hope someone in another 100 years can stand where I did and still see a wilderness in Denali National Park.

Denali NP Brad Nixon 009_13A (640x419)

And, if they’re lucky, spot a moose.

Moose Willard Nixon 0143

Walk lightly. We have one earth. Celebrate it. Preserve it.

© Brad Nixon 2016, 2017. Moose photo © Willard Nixon 2016, used by kind permission.



  1. I love your park posts. Also I was excited about that moose. I’ve never seen a wild moose. Not too many opportunities in Indiana for seeing moose!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dad and I were fortunate to be in Denali in the 2nd week of September, which turned out to be the moose rutting season. They congregate in a portion of the park that’s adjacent to the access road, and we saw several. I’d never seen one before, either, since they’re pretty much as scarce in Ohio and southern California as they are in Indiana.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cheers to the NPS and its employees — and to everyone who takes action to protect and preserve our irreplaceable park lands! Thank you for the great series of posts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for that sentiment, and, I have to say … for seeing so many of them with me!


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