National Park Service Centennial




In the early years of the 20th century Stephen Mather and Horace Albright mounted a vigorous public relations program to protect our National Parks. A public relations campaign led to supportive articles in National Geographic, The Saturday Evening Post, and other popular magazines.

Congress responded as desired, and on August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson approved legislation creating the National Park Service within the Interior Department. The act made the bureau responsible for Interior's national parks and monuments, and such other national parks and reservations of like character as may be hereafter created by Congress. In managing these areas, the Park Service was directed to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.

In the century since the founding of the National Park Service the number of parks has grown to over 400 units. The number of Americans who now visit our National Parks has grown to more than 500 million every year.

As we approach 2016 this site will produce articles that recall this history and articles that will call for new directions to improve the management of the National Park Service. We hope that this information will strengthen the preservation and conservation of our historic and natural resources and will enlighten the American people to the importance of the heritage represented by the National Park System.

Centennial Links

Park Videos

Notable NPS Employees

Date: 01-Feb-2014