NATIONAL PARK SERVICE FOUNDERS DAY | AUGUST 25
On this day in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed what is now called the Organic Act. It established the National Park Service. As part of the Department of Interior, the National Park Service protects 400 areas in 50 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, totaling 84 million acres.
National Park Service Founders Day recognizes the superior conservation and preservation efforts of the National Parks System. Whether enjoying scenic trails, open spaces, watersheds, or recreational areas, the National Parks Service provides a natural outdoor resource accessible to every American. Hiking and biking trails entice us to explore. They also offer an outdoor experience like no other. These parks challenge us with more beauty and history than most of us can imagine.
A Trip Through Time
Not only does the National Park Service provide access to millions of acres of the most picturesque places in the country, but it also takes us back in time. Through historic trails, we walk in the footsteps of Harriet Tubman. For example, a historic trail in Maryland takes us along the path of the Underground Railroad, where Tubman led men and women away from slavery and to freedom. In Ohio, we explore the infancy of aviation in the United States.
As we travel through the beauty of the historic Natchez Trace, we’ll discover the intense and tragic histories that lay along the way. From Native Americans to European settlement and the Civil War, the Natchez Trace survived it all.
West of the Mississippi, ancient ruins and resurrected forts tell the stories of those who have gone before us. In rustic settings or an out-of-the-way oasis in New Mexico, rediscover the history of untold ages. After the arid West, head North and study the Klondike Gold Rush in Washington or the history of Columbia River, too.
Majestic beasts and glorious sunsets throughout the National Park Service entice visitors all year long. Some of these parks are in your own backyard, too! They are a mere stone’s throw away. Once you get started, you won’t want to stop. Make a list and keep going.
HOW TO OBSERVE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE FOUNDERS DAY
Celebrate by visiting one of the 400 management areas across the country. There’s one not far from each of us. There are several ways to get started, too!
- Make a list of the parks you’d like to see.
- Map them out! Then hit the road every chance you have.
- Help keep our National Parks clean and natural. If you pack it in, pack it out.
- Revisit your favorite ones and share photos on social media.
- Introduce a friend or family member to the world of National Parks.
- While visiting, take a hike or learn about the history and culture of the region.
- Read about the history of the National Park Service or watch a documentary.
- Take a virtual tour.
Don’t forget to share your journeys too! Share your experiences, past, and present, where ever you go.
Use #NPSFoundersDay to share on social media.
Educators and families, be sure to visit the National Day Calendar Classroom for ideas and projects to Celebrate Every Day! You can also download and print the Hike Color Page to inspire your next visit to a National Park. Send a picture of it, and we just might share it on our social media pages.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE FOUNDERS DAY HISTORY
On August 25, 1916, President Wilson signed into law the Organic Act passed by Congress. It created the National Park Service, which became a part of the Department of Interior. At the time, there were 35 management areas, including national parks and monuments. Since then, it has grown, and the National Park Service continues to preserve these beautiful gems for generations to come.