100 Years of National Park Services

In a few short months, the United States National Park Service will celebrate its one hundredth anniversary. August 25, 2016 marks the day when President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Organic Act. This act created the National Park Service, a federal bureau tasked with “conserving the scenery and the natural and historical objects and the wild life therein…and by such means will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Today, the National Park System covers more than 84 million acres across 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands. Over 400 areas consisting of national parks, preserves, monuments, resources, rivers, and historical sites are managed by the National Park Service.

Surfer mapping software: Map of the US National Park boundaries
The US Park System consists of 84 million acres across 50 states and territories. Map plotted in Surfer.

To celebrate this milestone, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation are working together to show people how to embrace opportunities to explore, learn, and enjoy the national parks. I’ve visited 6 out of the 11 national parks located in my Colorado backyard, and over Labor Day for the past 5 years, I’ve trekked out into the Yellowstone National Park wilderness (read about last year’s excursion) for a backpacking weekend. This July, I’ll be running 20 miles of Rocky Mountain National Park trails.

I encourage you to get out and experience these impressive areas for yourself. To see which ones are close to you, check out the National Park Service Stats page. More information on the centennial celebrations can be found at FindYourPark.com.

Happy centennial, National Park Service!

Grapher 2D & 3D graphing software: Bar chart of the top 10 national parks
Did you know more than 307.2 million people visited America’s national parks in 2015? Here’s a graph of the top 10 visited national parks. Data acquired from https://irma.nps.gov/DataStore/ and plotted in Grapher.