Today, the National Park Service turns 100. Of the currently 59 US National Parks, I think I’ve been to 15. That’s not counting national monuments, national historic parks, national historic sites, national recreation areas, national memorials, national seashores, etc, etc, etc – just national parks. Now that I’m actually counting them up, I’m realizing that I haven’t been to nearly enough parks!
The National Park system is an amazing legacy for the people of America. They belong to all of us and they truly are “America’s Best Idea” (if you haven’t seen the Ken Burns film yet, go watch it now). The mission of NPS is simple:
The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, President Obama designated a new national monument, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
I celebrated by going through photos of the first times I visited various parks:
Some of these parks I’ve been to again since these first trips (Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon). Shenandoah, I’ve been to many times. It’s definitely a goal of mine to get to all of our national parks in my lifetime. I need to step it up.
Want to join me but don’t know where to start? Find your park.