National Park Service Celebrates 97th Birthday

On August 25, 1916, the United States became the first country to set aside some of its most beautiful places for the whole country to cherish and enjoy. The National Park Service was created under Woodrow Wilson and the 64th Congress to care for, protect and promote all of the national parks throughout the country. Each park represents an important part of our nation’s collective identity and these amazing places belong to each and every American.
The extraordinary mission of the National Park Service extends even further than the parks, however. The work of NPS reaches into communities across the country where dedicated rangers, administrators and nature lovers work with partners to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities that revitalize neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life. The National Park Service is devoted to connecting Americans to their environment and to their heritage through education, healthy lifestyles and fun activities in these amazing places.

Celebrate the creation of the National Park Service with your family, friends, loved ones and fellow Americans this August! Birthday celebrations are taking place throughout the country and you’re invited! More than 400 National Park Service units will celebrate the 97th birthday of "America's Best Idea" with an Entrance “Fee Free Day" on Sunday, August 25. To find a participating park near you, please visit the National Park Service’s webpage.

Enjoy a ride on the rails at Steamtown National Historic Site, the only place in the National Park System where the story of steam railroading, and the people who made it possible, is told. The historic industrial railroad yard site features a visitor orientation center with exhibits showing how the former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad's Scranton Yards evolved from 1850 to present, a 250-seat digital surround-sound theater showing the park movie, "Steel and Steam," an active roundhouse, and history and technology museums that tell a multimedia-rich story of the significance of railroad transportation in the United States. Visitors may join a scheduled Locomotive Shop tour as well, and of course, the entrance fee is waived for the day. 

Or, get out and do some camping to celebrate the 97th birthday of the NPS! Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will be celebrating the National Park Service's 97th birthday on Sunday, August 25, by authorizing one night of free camping at Alum Ford Campground and free backcountry permits for the day. Join the National Park Service under the Gateway Arch at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on August 24 and August 25 for a special family fun day, and discover ways to enjoy the great outdoors. This free event will be hosted in the lobby of the Gateway Arch, where kids are invited to explore a life-size tipi, learn how to pitch a tent and sing songs around the campfire. Park rangers will also present interactive lessons about tree identification and the Plains Indians. Bring the family and enjoy a night under the stars! 

Founders Day is the perfect opportunity not only to take an active role in preserving these special places, but to explore and enjoy them. To find a celebration near you, please visit the NPS website. Get out and celebrate – happy birthday, NPS!

Image Caption: Canadian National #3254, a 2-8-2 'Mikado' steam locomotive built for freight service, rests alongside the passenger depot at Moscow, Pa during a Steamtown seasonal excursion.
Image Source: NPS