National Park Service

National Park Service logo

Happy Birthday National Park Service!

Sometimes called “America’s Best Idea,” the National Park Service is 100 years old this August!  President Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created The National Park Service (NPS) as part of the Department of the Interior on August 25, 1916. At that time the NPS was responsible for protecting 35 parks and monuments. Before the creation of the NPS, national parks, preserves and historic sites were maintained by different government agencies. Today the NPS oversees more than 400 parks, monuments, historic sites and recreational areas.  But the history of the federal government protecting specific lands and monuments goes back even further than 100 years. It all started in 1832 when the area around Hot Springs, Arkansas was set aside to be protected as a national reservation. Forty years later, in 1872, Yellowstone National Park, with its famous geysers and wildlife, was created by an act of Congress. 

In 1951 the arrowhead was selected as the official logo by the National Park Service.  The logo includes the following symbols: the sequoia tree and bison represent vegetation and wildlife, the mountains and water represent scenic and recreational uses, and the arrowhead itself represents historical values.

The National Park Service has two roles to play in maintaining the parks and other sites under its care. They are charged with protecting the environmental and historical value of the places under its management as well making them available and open for the public to use and enjoy.

Yellowstone National Park
Did You Know?

Yellowstone National Park was once run by the United States Calvary.
Several prisons, including Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay, are part of the National Park System
The White House is part of the President’s Park that is maintained by the NPS.
At 13.2 million acres, (an area bigger than Switzerland), Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska is the largest park in the system. The smallest property owned by the National Parks Service is the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial.  It measures just 871.2 square feet.
In 2015 the national parks had 307,247,252 visitors!