Happy 96th Birthday to the National Park Service!

Today, August 25th 2012, is the birthday of the National Park Service. The NPS was established in 1916  under the Organic Act to protect and preserve America’s “gems”.  The act was signed into law by Woodrow Wilson and Stephen Mather was given the job of the first NPS director. At the time that the Organic Act was signed, there were already 35 national park units (14 National Parks and 21 National Monuments) that were now under the management of a newly created government entity.

In honor of this birthday, the NPS has created a website dedicated to sharing stories and photos about visitor experiences in America’s National Parks. You can also donate money to the National Park Foundation as a ” birthday gift” to the NPS.  The website also allows you to share your birthday wish for the national park system.  Additionally, the travel channel will be showcasing some of America’s most popular and spectacular national parks starting at 3pm today.

The National Park Service has already begun gearing up for their centennial birthday in 2016. I already have my centennial NPS pin. 🙂 The NPS started their centennial plans in 2006, when they asked stakeholders what they envisions for the next century of national park management. The goals and visions were published this year in their “The Future of National Parks” report. 

The Battle of The Bridges of Yosemite Valley

The National Park Service and the National Trust for Historic Preservation – two organizations who you would think would be on the same page in terms of the preservation of resources in the United States. However, at the moment, the two organizations are in a complicated position.  Yosemite National Park, managed by the National Park Service, is currently working on the Merced River Management Plan.  In 1987, the Merced was designated as a “Wild and Scenic River” – a federal designation that protects “outstanding” rivers in the United States . As part of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968, designated rivers “shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.” Currently, the free-flowing condition of the Merced is being altered by three historic bridges in Yosemite Valley that are built into river.

Merced River in YOSE (taken by Ashley D)

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