Thursday, August 25, marks the 100th anniversary of Founder’s Day, the date that commemorates the creation of the National Park Service (NPS) with the stroke of President Woodrow Wilson’s pen. Though national parks had been established as far back as 1872 with the creation of Yellowstone National Park, the formation of the NPS provided the mandate and mechanism necessary to protect and preserve these repositories of the America’s invaluable cultural and natural history in perpetuity.
The NPS website summarizes this historical event as follows: 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.
This “Organic Act” states that “the Service thus established shall promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments and reservations…by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said parks, monuments and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and 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.”
The rolling celebration of the NPS Centennial will accelerate in the coming weeks, with events and activities taking place at national parks, recreation areas, monuments, and historic sites across the country.
Grand Canyon National Park has a number of events slated for August 25, including a naturalization event for new U.S. citizens at Mather Point Amphitheater at 10:00 a.m., and an “Amtrak Rails to Trails” exhibit and other assorted activities and informational booths at the South Rim Train Depot from 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. The NPS is also waiving entrance fees into the park August 25-28 to mark the occasion. Follow this link for information on events at Grand Canyon and across this great land of ours!