NPSHistory.com

Copyright, Randall D. Payne
CHACO CULTURE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK, New Mexico



National Park Service History Electronic Library & Archive

The NPS History Electronic Library & Archive is a portal to electronic publications covering the history of the National Park Service (NPS) and the cultural and natural history of the national parks, monuments, and historic sites of the U.S. National Park System. The information contained in this Website is historical in scope and is not meant as an aid for travel planning; please refer to the official NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Website for current/additional information. While we are not affiliated with the National Park Service, we gratefully acknowledge the contributions by park employees and advocates, which has enabled us to create this free digital repository.


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nps logo          NPS EMPLOYEE MEMORIAL
by Jeff Ohlfs, updated July 22, 2022



New eLibrary Additions

Featured Publication

book cover
cover only

National Parks Forever: Fifty Years of Fighting and a Case for Independence
(Jonathan Jarvis and T. Destry Jarvis, 2022)

Preliminary Bibliographical Inventory of Park Historical and Architectural Studies (Gary Christopher and Dorothy Junkin, comps., 1971)

Labor History in the United States: A National Historic Landmark Theme Study (Rachel Donaldson, January 2022)

Landmark Legislation (SMR, August 17, 1964)

Julius Rosenwald and the Rosenwald Schools Special Resource Study Newsletter (July 2022)

Cultural Landscape Report: Antietam National Cemetery, Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, Maryland (Michael Commisso, October 2014)

Cultural Landscape Report: Antietam National Battlefield, Sharpsburg, Maryland (Quinn Evans, December 2021)

Antietam National Battlefield Landscape Management Plan Environmental Assessment (July 2022)

Historic Structure Report: East Potomac Park Field House, National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, DC Final Submission (September 2019)

Proceedings of the 1991 Assateague Island Science Conference Sheraton Ocean City Resort and Conference Center, Ocean City, Maryland, October 28-29, 1991 (1992)

Official Steamtown Locomotive Guide: Volume I (1970)

Historic Resource Study, Canaveral National Seashore (Susan Parker, September 2008)

Ranger: The Journal of the Association of National Park Rangers (Vol 37 No 3, Summer 2021, ©Association of National Park Rangers)

Conservation Casualties: An Analysis of On-Duty Ranger Fatalities (2006-2021) (Chris Galliers, Roger Cole, Sohit Singh, Jeff Ohlfs, Hamera Aisha, Amon Benoit Koutoua, Carlien Roodt and Mónoica Álvarez Malvido, extract from Parks, Vol. 28 No. 1, May 2022)

Federal Land Management Agencies: Additional Actions Needed to Address Facility Security Assessment Requirements GAO-19-643 (September 2019)

Yosemite Accessibility Guide (Summer 2022)

General Information Regarding Casa Grande National Monument, Arizona (1919)

National Parks magazine Archive of Back Issues Now Complete! (1942-2022, ©National Parks Conservation Association)


National Park Service Geologic Type Section Inventory, National Capital Region Inventory & Monitoring Network NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NCRN/NRR-2022/2422 (Tim C. Henderson, Vincent L. Santucci, Tim Connors and Justin S. Tweet, July 2022)

National Park Service Geologic Type Section Inventory, Southeast Coast Inventory & Monitoring Network NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/SECN/NRR-2022/2429 (Tim C. Henderson, Vincent L. Santucci, Tim Connors and Justin S. Tweet, July 2022)

National Park Service Geologic Type Section Inventory, South Florida/Caribbean Inventory & Monitoring Network NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/SFCN/NRR-2022/2433 (Tim C. Henderson, Vincent L. Santucci, Tim Connors and Justin S. Tweet, July 2022)

Geologic Resources Inventory Report: Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/GRD/NRR-2022/2426 (Amanda Lanik, July 2022)

Geologic Resources Inventory Report: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NRSS/GRD/NRR-2022/2421 (Trista Thornberry-Ehrlich, July 2022)

The Devils Postpile National Monument (N. King Huber and C. Dean Rinehart, extract from Mineral Information Service, Vol. 18 No. 6, June 1965)

Crater Lake Long-term Limnological Monitoring Program: State of the Lake Report 2020 (Scott Girdner, March 2021)


Laws Relating to the National Park Service: Supplement XII — 111th Congress (2009-2010) (Andrea Dekoter and Sarah Gamble, 2018)

Summary of National Park Service legislation in 106th Congress (January 6, 1999-December 15, 2000)

Summary of National Park Service legislation in 107th Congress (January 3, 2001-November 22, 2002)

Summary of National Park Service legislation in 108th Congress (January 3, 2003-December 8, 2004)

Summary of National Park Service legislation in 109th Congress (January 4, 2005-December 9, 2006)

Summary of National Park Service legislation in 110th Congress (January 4, 2007-January 3, 2009)

Summary of National Park Service legislation in 111th Congress (2009-2010)

Summary of National Park Service legislation in 112th Congress (2011-2012)

Summary of National Park Service legislation in 113th Congress (2013-2014)

Summary of National Park Service legislation in 114th Congress (2015-2016)

Summary of National Park and Related Laws: Enacted in the 115th Congress (January 3, 2017-January 3, 2019)

Summary of National Park and Related Laws: Enacted in the 116th Congress (January 3, 2019-January 3, 2021)

Summary of National Park and Related Laws: Enacted in the 116th Congress (2019-2020)


Cultural Landscapes Inventory: El Morro Esplanade, San Juan National Historic Site (July 2022)

Cultural Landscapes Inventory: Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve Cultural Landscape (December 2021)

Cultural Landscapes Inventory: Bodie Island Light Station, Cape Hatteras National Seashore (2022)

Cultural Landscapes Inventory: Ocracoke Light Station, Cape Hatteras National Seashore (2022)

Cultural Landscapes Inventory: Cultural Landscape, Christiansted National Historic Site (December 2021)

Cultural Landscapes Inventory: Wind Cave National Park Cultural Landscape (2021, rev. Sep. 2020)

Cultural Landscape Inventory: Buckner Homestead, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area (1985)


Channel Islands National Park

Historic Resource Study: Channel Islands National Monument and San Miguel Island, California (Lois Weinman Roberts, May 1979)

General Ecological Monitoring Program Design, Implementation, and Applications: A Case Study from Channel Islands National Park, California (Gary E. Davis, 1997)

Data Management Plan Assessment and Recommendations, Channel Islands National Park (EcoAnalysis, Inc., May 17, 1994)

Natural Resources Monitoring in Channel Islands National Park, California (Gary E. Davis, extract from Renewable Resources Inventories for Monitoring Changes and Trends, 1983)

Proposed Management and Assessment of the Feral Donkey (Equus asinus) on San Miguel Island, California (Date Unknown)

San Miguel Island: Its History and Archaeology (Francis R. Holland, Jr., extract from Journal of the West, Vol. II No. 2, April 1963)

Channel Islands Marine Protected Areas — First 5 Years of Monitorin: 2003-2008 (2008)

Natural Resources Monitoring Handbooks, Channel Islands National Park (October 1988)

Biennial Natural Resources Study Report: Channel Islands National Park (1986)

Landbird Monitoring: 1994 Annual Report, Channel Islands National Park NPS Technical Report 96-02 (Timothy J. Coonan, July 1996)

Terrestrial Vertebrate Monitoring: 1994 Annual Report, Channel Islands National Park NPS Technical Report 96-03 (Catherin A. Schwemm, December 1996)

Environmental Assessment on the Control of Exotic European Rabbits on Santa Barbara Island, Channel Islands National Park, California (July 1981)

Ecological Monitoring Design, Implementation, and Applications: A Case Study from Channel Islands National Park, California (Gary E. Davis, c1997)


Denali National Park and Preserve

Relationship of White Spruce to Lenses of Perennially Frozen Ground, Mount McKinley National Park, Alaska (Leslie A. Viereck, extract from Arctic, Vol. 18 No. 4, December 1965)

Characteristics of Wolf Attacks on Moose in Mount McKinley National Park, Alaska (Steven W. Buskirk and Philip S. Gipson, extract from Arctic, Vol. 31 No. 4, December 1978)

The Controlled Traffic System and Associated Wildlife Responses in Denali National Park (F.J. Singer and J.B. Beattie, extract from Arctic, Vol. 39 No. 3, September 1986)

Late Quaternary Environments, Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska (Scott A. Elias, Susan K. Short and Christopher F. Waythomas, extract from Arctic, Vol. 49 No. 3, September 1996)

Moose, Caribou, and Grizzly Bear Distribution in Relation to Road Traffic in Denali National Park, Alaska (A.C. Yost and R.G. Wright, extract from Arctic, Vol. 54 No. 1, March 2001)

Determinants of Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) Sightings in Denali National Park (Bridget L. Borg, Stephen M. Arthur, Jeffrey A. Falke and Laura R. Prugh, extract from Arctic, Vol. 74 No. 1, March 2021)

Resource Briefs

Discovery of Denali's First Dinosaur Track (2013)

Fossil Bird Diversity (2012)

Long-term Monitoring after Restoration of Kantishna's Placer-Mined Streams (2009)

Managing Invasive Plants (Date Unknown)

Moose Rutting (Date Unknown)

Paleoecology of Denali's Dinosaurs (2008)

Protecting Wildlife and Visitor Experience along the Denali Park Road (Date Unknown)

Reconstructing Ecosystems of the Lower Cantwell: Plants in the Age of Dinosaurs (2011)

Restoration of Mined Lands in Kantishna (2009)

Small Mammals (December 2014)

Soundscape Condition in the Vicinity of the Denali Massif (February 27, 2019)

Studying the Active Boundary of Tectonic Plates (Date Unknown)

Subsistence (Date Unknown)

Visitor Spending and the Local Economy (Date Unknown)

Wildland Fire Ecology (Date Unknown)

Wildland Fire Risk and Response: Why are you cutting those trees? (Date Unknown)

Resources Reports: Apr. 2001Oct. 2001Sep. 2001

State of Park Resources Reports: 19931994199519961997

The Tattler (The Science Newsletter for Denali National Park and Preserve)

Vol. 1 (1991): No. 1 - March 1991No. 2 - May 1991No. 3 - August 1991No. 4 - December 1991

Vol. 2 (1992): No. 1 - April 1992No. 2 - July 1992No. 3 - October 1992

Vol. 3 (1993): No. 1 - June 1993

Vol. 4 (1994): No. 1 - June 1994No. 2 - August 1994No. 3 - December 1994

Vol. 5 (1998): No. 1 - March 1998


Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Some Properties and Age of Volcanic Ash in Glacier Bay National Monument (Garry D. McKenzie, extract from Arctic, Vol. 23 No. 1, March 1970)

Giant Wave in Lituya Bay: The Biggest Splash in History (Don J. Miller and Robert L. Wiegel, extract from Mineral Information Service, Vol. 18 No. 12, December 1965)

Advances Great and Small: Resources Management Newsletter, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (1995-1996)

Ice Structures, Burroughs Glacier, Southeast Alaska Institute of Polar Studies Report No. 3 (L.D. Taylor, July 1962)

Land Forms Produced by the Wastage of the Casement Glacier, Southeast Alaska Institute of Polar Studies Report No. 9 (Robert J. Price, February 1964)

Ecological Observations in the Muir Inlet Area, Glacier Bay National Monument, Alaska Institute of Polar Studies Report No. 15 (Roy A. Welch, March 1965)

Soil Development and Ecological Succession in a Deglaciated Area of Muir Inlet, Southeast Alaska Institute of Polar Studies Report No. 20 (R.P. Goldthwait, F. Loewe, F.C. Ugolini, H.F. Decker, D.M. DeLong, M.B. Trautman, E.E. Good, T.R. Merrell III and E.D. Rudolph, August 1966)

Glacial Geology of Adams Inlet, Southeastern Alaska Institute of Polar Studies Report No. 25 (Garry D. McKenzie, November 1970)

Glaciological Investigations on the Casement Glacier, Southeast Alaska Institute of Polar Studies Report No. 36 (Donald N. Peterson, September 1970)

Glacial Geology of the Burroughs Glacier Area, Southeastern Alaska Institute of Polar Studies Report No. 40 (David M. Mickelson, 1971)

Glacial Geology of the Brady Glacier Region, Alaska Institute of Polar Studies Report No. 60 (Stephen J. Derksen, December 1976)

Internal Drainage of Stagnant Ice: Burroughs Glacier, Southeast Alaska Institute of Polar Studies Report No. 65 (Grahame J. Larson, 1977)

Meltwater Storage in a Temperate Glacier, Burroughs Glacier, Southeast Alaska Institute of Polar Studies Report No. 66 (Grahame J. Larson, 1978)

Neoglacial Lacustrine Sedimentation and Ice Advance, Glacier Bay, Alaska Institute of Polar Studies Report No. 79 (Robert G. Goodwin, 1984)


Variations of Blue, Hoh, and White Glaciers During Recent Centuries (Calvin J. Heusser, extract from Arctic, Vol. 10 No. 3, January 1957)

Changes in Blue Glacier, Mount Olympus, Washington Institute of Polar Studies Report No. 1 (Ann Davey, February 1962)

Machines Over the Garden: Wilderness Values and Aviation in Alaska's Gates of the Arctic National Park (Roderick Nash, Date Unknown)

The Distribution of Exotic Woody Plants at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park NPS Research/Resources Management Report No. 52 (Teri Butler, Donald Stratton and Susan Bratton, June 1981)

Exotic Woody Plants of Shiloh National Military Park, Tennessee: A Population Survey of Aggressive Species NPS Research/Resources Management Report No. 51 (Teri Butler and Peter S. White, September 1981)

Rocky Intertidal Monitoring: 2017-2018 Results from Redwood National and State Parks NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/KLMN/NRR—2022/2425 (Karah Ammann, Eric C. Dinger and David Lohse, July 2022)

Mammals of the Katmai National Monument, Alaska (Everett L. Schiller and Robert Rausch, extract from Arctic, Vol. 9 No. 3, 1956)

Modeling the Effects of Hunan Activity on Katmai Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) through the Use of Survival Analysis (Tom S. Smith and B. Alan Johnson, extract from Arctic, Vol. 57 No. 2, June 2004)

Bear Management Plan, Katmai National Park and Preserve (1986)

Management Implications of Wolf-Moose Research, Isle Royale National Park, Michigan (Rolf O. Peterson, April 4, 1977)

Isle Royale Wolves and National Park Management (Rolf O. Peterson and John M. Morehead, Date Unknown)


Mary Austin: A Page From History... (Elisabeth L. Egenhoff) / The Land of Little Rain (Mary Austin, extract from Mineral Information Service, Vol. 18 No. 11, November 1965)

On Birds Observed at the Dry Tortugas, Florida, During Parts of March and April 1890 (W.E.D. Scott, extract from The Auk: A Quarterly Journal of Ornithology, Vol. VII No. 4, October 1890)

The Terns of the Dry Tortugas (William B. Robertson, Jr., extract from Bulletin of the Florida State Museum Biological Sciences, Vol. 8 No. 1, 1964)

A Review of the Copepod Genus Ridgewayia (Calanoida) with Descriptions of New Species From the Dry Tortugas, Florida (Midred Stratton Wilson, extract from Proceedings of the United STates Museum, Vol. 108 No. 3398, 1958)

Ecology of White-tailed Deer in Eastern Everglades National Park: An Overview (Tommy R. Smith, Cynthia G. Hunter, John F. Eisenberg and Melvin E. Sunquist, extract from Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History, Vol. 39 No. 4, 1996)

The Diet of the Florida Panther in Everglades National Park, Florida (George H. Dalrymple and Oron L. Bass, Jr., extract from Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History, Vol. 39 No. 5, 1996)

Wildlife in Southern Everglades Wetlands Invaded by Melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia) (Nancy K. O'Hare and George H. Dalrymple, extract from Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History, Vol. 41 No. 1, 1997)

Logan Pass Wooden Walkway Study: Effects of Pentachlorophenol on Alpine Fire Ecological Services Bulletin No. 4 (R. Gary Beaver, 1975)

Small Mammal Surveys on Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site Final Report (Dean E. Pearson, Kathryn A. Socie and Leonard F. Ruggiero, February 2, 2006)

Development Concept Plan, Harmony Hall (June 2022)

Hawai'i Volcanoes Disaster Recovery Project Environmental Assessment Draft (July 2022)

Heat From Kilauea Volcano Mapped by Aerial Infrared Survey (extract from Mineral Information Service, Vol. 18 No. 4, April 1965)

The North Cascades: A report to the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture by the North Cascades Study Team (October 1965)


The Sentinel (Civil War Sesquicentennial)

Vol. I No. 1 (Spring 2011)

Vol. I No. 2 (Summer 2011)

Vol. I No. 3 (Fall 2011)

Vol. II No. 1 (Spring 2012)

Vol. II No. 2 (Summer 2012)

Vol. II No. 3 (Winter 2012/2013)

Gettysburg 150th Anniversary 1853 (2013)

Atlanta Campaign 150th Anniversary 1864 (2014)

Overland Campaign 150th Anniversary (2014)

150th Anniversary 1864 (2014)

Featured Publication

book cover
cover only

Mountains for the Masses: A History of Management Issues in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
(Theodore Catton, 2014)


Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Chemical Immobilization of Black Bears in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (William Joseph Cook, March 1980)

Bear Management Plan, Great Smoky Mountains National Park (May 1979)

Black Bear Management in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Research/Resources Management Report No. 13 (Francis J. Singer, 1977)

An Integrated Ecological Approach to the Management of European Wild Boar (Sus scrofa) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Management Report No. 3 (usan P. Bratton, 1974)

Investigating the Wildland-Urban Interface and Potential Impacts Surrounding Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Ashley Elizabeth Scruggs, Master's Thesis, 2008)

Air Quality Great Smoky Mountains National Park Management Folio #2 (1997, ©Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association)

Air Quality Great Smoky Mountains National Park Management Folio #2 (2006, ©Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association)

Historic Preservation Great Smoky Mountains National Park Management Folio #5 (2000, ©Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association)

Brook Trout Great Smoky Mountains National Park Management Folio #6 (2009, ©Great Smoky Mountains Natural History Association)


Evaluation of Bear-Resistant Food Containers for Backpackers (John Dalle-Molle, Michael A. Coffey and Harold W. Werner, 1985)

Grizzly Bear Compendium (Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, 1987)

Bear Management Annual Review for 1976, Shenandoah National Park (1977)

Black Bear Behavior and Human-Bear Relationships in Yosemite National Park Technical Report No. 2 (Bruce C. Hastings, Barrie K. Gilbert and David L. Turner, September 1981)

Forests and Interesting Trees in the National Park System (Napier Shelton, 1993)

Highlights of Natural Resources Management: 1993 NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/NRPO/NRR-94/13 (1994)

Prospects for Integrated Coastal Resource Management in West Africa (John R. Clark, Scott T. McCreary and Samuel C. Snedaker, June 2022)

Science Newsletter: Mojave National Preserve (Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center) (2009-2021)

Earth, Wind & Water (NRPC Newsletter): Vol 1 No 1 - June 8, 2007Vol 1 No 2 - September 2007Vol 1 No 3 - January 2008Vol 2 No 3 - Winter 2009Vol 4 No 1 - Summer 2010

The Nor'easter: Vol 1 No 1 - Autumn 2005

The Current — The Newsletter of the Greater Washington National Parks: Vol. 2 No. 2, Spring 2007Vol. 2 No. 3, Fall 2007

Patina: The newsletter of sustainability efforts and environmentally preferable alternatives at the Statue of Liberty National Monument Vol. 1 Issue 1 - January 2001Vol 1 Issue 2 - April 2001

Resource Reporter (Stones River National Battlefield News) (2005)

History of Fish and Fisheries in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Pictured Rocks Resource Report No. 11 (John Vogel, 2000)

Nature Notes: Restoration, Badlands National Park (Vol. 1, 2001)

Coho Salmon & Steelhead Trout Restoration Project: Introduction and Overview, Point Reyes National Seashore/Golden Gate National Recreation Area/Muir Woods National Monument (1998)

Alaska Goldrush National Historic Landmarks: The Stampede North (1998)

Draft Wilderness and Backcountry Management Plan and Environmental Assessment, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park/Curecanti National Recreation Area (June 2022)

Gulag: Soviet Prison Camps and Their Legacy (David Hosford, Pamela Kachurin and Thomas Lamont, 2006)


Archaeological Research in the Northeastern San Juan Basin of Colorado During the Summer of 1921 (Jean Allard Jeancon, 1922)

Archaeological Investigations at Chimney Rock Mesa: 1970-1972 Memoirs of the Colorado Archaeological Society No. 1 (Frank W. Eddy, 1977)

National Forest Vacations (July 1955)

History of the Fremont National Forest (Melva Bach, 1990)

History of the Willamette National Forest (Lawrence and Mary Rakestraw, 1991)

The Wilderness Act in California (Richard M. Stewart, extract from Mineral Information Service, Vol. 18 No. 8, August 1965)



     NPS REFLECTIONS

Gardiner River Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park. (Thomas Moran)
THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE NATIONAL PARKS AND THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE


(Prepared for use in forthcoming Service Administrative Manual and reproduced in this issue of the Bulletin for the benefit of the Service personnel engaged in publicity work and desiring background material of this type.)

Passage on August 25, 1916, of the organic act establishing the National Park Service was the first step made by the Federal Government toward correlating the administration of its widely distributed national park and monument system. In that act the Service thus established was directed to "promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations hereinafter specified by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of said parks, monuments, and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife 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."

National parks first came into the land-use picture in 1872, when by act of Congress approved March 1, the Yellowstone National Park was, to quote the words of the act itself, "dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people."

Establishment of the Yellowstone National Park, the first reservation of its type ever created, pointed the way to a new type of land-use and a new set of land values that served as a beacon to guide this country and other Nations of the world in conservation of land for sociological purposes. The story of its inception, therefore, is of interest.

During the first three-quarters of the nineteenth century the geysers and hot springs formations of the Yellowstone region were visited occasionally by Indians and by white trappers and hunters, and from them stories of the unearthly wonders of that wilderness filtered to the outside world. At first disbelieved and derided, their persistence and growth finally led to the explorations of the official Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition in 1870. That party confirmed the rumors of thermal wonders in the area, and at the close of their explorations the men sat around a campfire near what is now Madison Junction, discussing what they had seen and the probable disposition of it all. Private preemption, with resultant use for personal profit, was the logical outcome to most members of the party, since it followed the accepted policies of that time in regard to land distribution.

Then came the verbal bombshell that destroyed the old line of thinking on land distribution so far as it concerned superlative areas, and established the new form of social-use of lands that made possible the magnificent national park and monument system of today. Hon. Cornelius Hedges, Montana lawyer, advanced the revolutionary suggestion that individual members of the party forego personal gain in order that the region, so unlike anything else in the country, might be reserved as a national park for the benefit of the people of all time. The daring idea fired the enthusiasm of the party, which sponsored the successful movement to establish Yellowstone National Park.

No other national parks were created until 1890, when the Yosemite, Sequoia, and General Grant Parks in California were established, followed in 1899 by Mount Rainier in Washington.


Bathhouse Row, 1938, Hot Springs National Park. (NPS photo)

Even before the Yellowstone, however, the United States Government showed an interest in the public ownership of lands valuable from a social use standpoint. In 1832 the Hot Springs Reservation in Arkansas was established by act of Congress, because of the medicinal qualities believed to be contained in the waters. It can in no sense of the word be called our first national park, however, because in its early reservation there was no idea of park use; it was definitely a place for the treatment of sick people, In 1921 it was made a national park and now, developed with motor roads and winding trails, stresses the recreational uses as much as the use of the hot waters.

Shortly after the turn of the century, additional national parks were established. The most important legislation of that period affecting national park use -- and perhaps the most far-reaching in its effects since the approval of the organic act establishing the Yellowstone National Park -- was the passage by Congress of a bill known as the "Antiquities Act", which was approved June 8, 1906. It gave the President of the United States authority "to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments." The Antiquities Act provided that the national monuments thus established should be under the jurisdiction of one of three Cabinet officers -- the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, or the Secretary of War. Monuments reserved because of their military significance were placed under the War Department, those within or adjacent to national forests under the Department of Agriculture for administration in connection with such national forests, and the remainder -- and the greater number -- under the supervision of the Department of the Interior.

From that time on to 1915 additional national parks and national monuments were established as areas of outstanding importance in these fields were brought to the attention of tho necessary authorities, but there was no well-thought out policy of park establishment or correlated plan of protection, administration, and development of the areas already making up the national park and monument system.

In 1915, the then Secretary of the Interior, Franklin K. Lane, realizing the specialized nature of national park work and the desirability of unifying the parks into one integrated system, appointed Stephen T. Mather, an old college friend and a keen lover of the mountains and the outdoors generally, as his assistant for the purpose of devoting his energies entirely to park matters.


Stephen T. Mather, founder of the National Park System and first Director of the National Park Service.

The next year came the passage of the National Park Service act. Mr. Mather logically became the first director of the Service. Following his resignation because of ill health in 1929, Horace M. Albright, associated with him throughout his national park work and having served as assistant director of the National Park: Service, superintendent of Yellowstone National Park, and assistant director, field, became director. Upon the resignation of Mr. Albright in August, 1933, Arno B. Cammerer, associate director under both Directors Mather and Albright, assumed the directorship.

From its establishment in 1916 up to 1933, when activities connected with the emergency works program and the consolidation of park activities brought entirely new duties and responsibilities, the growth of the Service was one of natural and logical expansion.

The organic act of 1916, instead of granting the lump sum requested for personal services, set up a few definite statutory positions insufficient in number to meet the minimum requirements of the work. To eke out this personnel, details of clerks were made from the Office of the Secretary and from various bureaus of the Department of the Interior. As quickly as possible new positions were secured to replace these details and to handle the growing administrative, scientific, and technical phases of national park work, Engineering, landscape-architectural, forestry, naturalist -- including biology and geology -- and historical staffs were added to the personnel, as expansion of the various types of area and service, and increased use of the parks by the public, made necessary this specialized service.

At all times, however, it has been the policy of the National Park Service to use, where possible, the specialists of various scientific and technical bureaus of the Federal Government in solving park problems. Close cooperation is maintained with the Bureau of the Public Health Service in sanitation problems; the Bureau of Public Roads builds the major park roads and bridges for the Service; and the Bureau of Biological Survey, the Geological Survey, the General Land Office, United States Forest Service, and many other bureaus cooperate as problems in their particular fields arise. This prevents overlapping and duplication of functions with those of other bureaus.

One of the important duties facing the Washington administrative staff upon the organization of the National Park Service was securing superintendents of the requisite experience and training to undertake successful administration of the various national parks. Expenditure of an overwhelming amount of time and infinite patient search resulted in the selection of a staff of field superintendents of unusualLy high caliber. When this was done, the Director of the National Park Service, in 1931, requested that the position of park superintendent be brought under Civil Service rules. The permanent ranger force had been placed upon a Civi1 Service basis in 1926.


Washington Office staff, 1932. Front row (l-r): Arno B. Cammerer, Horace M. Albright, Arthur Demaray and Isabelle F. Story. (NPS photo)

At the present time, aside from the temporary workers in connection with the emergency work program, the employees of the National Park Service from the Director through all grades of employment in the Washington Office and extending in the field from superintendent through clerk and permanent ranger are under Civil Service regulations. The only excepted positions are such seasonal ones as laborer and temporary summer ranger in some of the national parks and monuments.

A momentous step forward in national park administration was the consolidation, on August 10, 1933, of all Federal park activities under the National Park Service. This was effected under President Roosevelt's Executive Order of June 10, 1933, under the following section:

"Section 2. -- National Parks, Building, and Reservations

"All functions of administration of public buildings, reservations, national parks, national monuments and national cemeteries are consolidated in an Office of National Parks, Buildings, and Reservations in the Department of the Interior, at the head of which shall be a Director of National Parks, Buildings, and Reservations; except that where deemed desirable there may be excluded from this provision any public building or reservation which is chiefly employed as a facility in the work of a particular agency. This transfer and consolidation of functions shall include, among others, those of the National Park Service of the Department of the Interior, and the National Cemeteries and Parks of the War Department which are located within the continental limits of the United States. National cemeteries located in foreign countries shall be transferred to the Department of State, and those located insular possessions under the jurisdiction of the War Department shall be administered by the Bureau of Insular Affairs of the War Department,

"The functions of the following agencies are transferred to the Office of National Parks, Buildings, and Reservations of the Department of the Interior, and the agencies are abolished;

Arlington Memorial Bridge Commission
Public Buildings Commission
Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital
National Memorial Commission
Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway Commission

"Expenditure by the Federal Government for the purposes of the Commission of Fine Arts, the George Rogers Clark Sesquicentennial Commission, and the Rushmore National Commission shall be administered by the Department of the Interior."

This order was modified by Executive order of July 28, 1933, which listed the areas to be transferred from the War Department, with special reference to the national cemeteries. By the supplemental order, only such cemeteries were transferred to National Park Service jurisdiction as are contiguous to or connected with national military parks and monuments so transferred.

By the provisions of the Executive order of June 10, 1933, the National Park Service became the Office of National Parks, Buildings, and Reservations. Later, in recognition of the prestige accruing to the title "National Park Service" throughout the conservation field, that name was restored to the bureau by a provision in the act making appropriations for the Department of the Interior for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1935.

With the addition of the areas thus transferred, and including a few new areas established during the past three years, there are now under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service (as of December 1, 1936) the following areas: 26 national parks, 2 national historical parks, 11 national military parks, 69 national monuments, 10 battlefield sites, 4 miscellaneous memorials, 11 national cemeteries, the National Capital Parks System of nearly 700 units, and 3 national parkways.

In accordance with the terms of the Executive order, the National Park Service also is charged with the maintenance of most of the Federal buildings in Washington, D. C., with the exception of the Capitol, the Library of Congress, the Government Printing Office, and the Supreme Court Buildings; and also of a few Federal buildings at points outside the District of Columbia.

In absorbing the new duties thus accruing to it, the Service separated the functions of the former Office of Public Buildings and Public Grounds into two distinct units, the Branch of Buildings Management and the office of National Capital Parks. The Branch of Buildings Management is coordinate with the other administrative branches of the Service, while the National Capital Parks System is a field unit comparable with the various national park units outside the District of Columbia.


Watercolor measured drawing of stucco building facade with wooden door, columns and religious figure carvings in niches, San Jose de Tumacacori Mission NHP. (HABZ AZ-3)

Further extension of national park activities was provided through the passage of the act of Congress approved August 21, 1935, empowering the Secretary of the Interior, through the National Park Service, to conduct a Nation-wide survey of historic American sites, buildings, objects, and antiquities. The act also made provisions for cooperative agreements with States and with local and private agencies in the development and administration of historic areas of national interest, regardless of whether titles to the properties were vested in the United States.

When the emergency relief program was initiated in the spring of 1933, the National Park Service was in a position to absorb into its own activities a large segment of such work, and to benefit greatly therefrom, as the long-range plans of the Service included many projects to effect full public enjoyment of the areas open to the people that were impossible of fulfillment for many years under the regular annual, appropriations for national park work.

Immediately upon the approval by the President of the Emergency Conservation Work program, the Service cooperated by establishing 70 Civilian Conservation Corps camps in national parks, national monuments, and other Federal park areas; and at the same time undertook supervision of 105 such camps on State park and allied lands. As of December 1, 1936, the Service is operating 77 national park and monument CCC camps and 353 camps on State recreational areas. Included in the CCC activities of the National Park Service is supervision of such work in the Hawaiian and Virgin Islands. The cooperation of the National Park Service in State park CCC work is supervisory in character and is concerned mainly with the approval and supervision of the CCC projects undertaken and the expenditure of the Federal funds involved. Administration of the State areas has remained exclusively with the State authorities. To expedite this work, on June 1, 1936, the National Park Service was reorganized under a new regional system to handle CCC operations in Federal and State park areas.


CCC building Kendall Lake Shelter, Cuyahoga Valley National Park. (NPS photo)

The most notable CCC accomplishments include prevention and suppression of forest fires, erosion control and prevention, roadside sloping and beautification, and the construction of trails, campgrounds, and picnic areas. The CCC program also has been of great assistance in the administration and development of the military areas transferred to the National Park Service under the 1933 consolidation of Federal park activities, since practically no regular personnel or funds were provided in connection therewith. It also has assisted greatly in extending the educational service generally.

Stimulated by the excellent results accruing from the cooperation of the National Park Service in the supervision of CCC activities on State areas, Congressional legislation approved by President Roosevelt June 23, 1936, authorized the Service to extend its cooperation to the various States, and, political subdivisions thereof, beyond the period of the emergency. Under the terms of that act, which provided for aid to the States in planning, establishing, improving, and maintaining State parks, the National Park Service is now engaged in a comprehensive study of the public park, parkway, and recreational-area programs of the United States, exclusive of lands under the jurisdiction of the United States Forest Service. The act provides that such surveys may be made only with the consent of the local authorities.

With funds allotted by the Public Works Administration, great strides have been made in pushing construction of many important projects, including the installation of sanitation and power systems, the reconstruction of sub-standard roads and construction of bridges, administration and museum buildings, and employees' residences. One of the most notable outgrowths of the PWA program was the initiation of work on the Blue Ridge Parkway -- a form of recreational development hitherto unrelated to national park administration and development.


The Narrows, Zion National Park. (Howard Firm)

In addition to major participation in these two relief programs, the National Park Service has also cooperated with the Civil Works Administration, the Works Progress Administration, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Resettlement Administration, the National Youth Administration, and State relief agencies.

Especially noteworthy from both historic and architectural standpoints, as well as providing employment for needy architects and draftsmen, is the Historic American Buildings Survey, initiated as a Civil Works project and continued in cooperation with the American Institute of Architects with FERA funds. This survey, the first of its kind to be undertaken nationally, has resulted in the collection of exact physical records of over 3,000 antique buildings and other structures, important historically or architecturally. The material thus accumulated is filed by special arrangement with the Library of Congress among its pictorial American archives.

A new type of area, the "recreational demonstration project", came into being shortly after the launching of the Emergency Conservation Work program, and in cooperation with ECW and with the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. Later the Resettlement Administration took over this work from FERA, and the Service continued its cooperation with that organization. Through these recreational projects, wholly financed from Federal funds, the National Park Service is turning submarginal land, unsuited to farming, into areas for recreation and enjoyment by millions of people of the lower income groups, principally those from large industrial centers. On August 1, 1936, development of the 46 recreational demonstration projects in 24 States was turned over entirely to the National Park Service, which then undertook the complete program of acquisition of land and development of facilities. Previous to that date, the Resettlement Administration had acquired the necessary lands under its land program.

Under the Works Progress Administration program, the National Park Service on December 1, 1935, entered into an agreement with that Administration under which it assumed responsibility for planning and technical supervision of the work programs of 41 WPA camps -- a program undertaken at the request of State, county, and municipal agencies sponsoring the camps. On August 1, 1936, through Presidential allocation of funds direct from the relief appropriation for the operation of these camps, the program was transferred entirely to the control of the National Park Service, and the camps now are known as the National Park Service Work Camps.

The increased responsibilities incurred by the Service since March 1933 through cooperation in emergency activities, consolidation of Federal park activities, and normal expansion along national park lines, has resulted in a notable increase in personnel, both emergency and Civil Service.

Expansion of other agencies also brought new problems to the National Park Service, as upon it devolves the responsibility for supplying the necessary office space for such organizations.

           Text from Park Service Bulletin, Vol VI No 10, December 1936
Isabelle F. Story


Picnickers at New Picnic Area at Baptism Creek, 1936-1937, Hopewell Furnace NHS (NPS photo)


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