August 25th, 2016 marks the Centennial anniversary of the US National Park Service and provides time for fans of the outdoors to celebrate the work of the great American institution over the past century and all it has done to retain the majesty of America's great outdoors.
The National Park Service and National Park Foundation are responsible for the preservation of 407 natural areas across the United States, 59 of them Parks. From the famous geysers of Yellowstone and the giant sequoias of Yosemite to the swamplands of the Everglades and the iconic Grand Teton Mountain; the National Parklands of America are some of the most recognisable and celebrated in the world. The American wilderness is a unique canvas, with landscapes stretching from arid deserts to lush deciduous forests and back to lofty, snow-capped peaks. The world-famous Yellowstone became the first National Park on the planet in 1872 and the idea of declaring an area of land apt for preservation soon caught on across the world. Then in 1916, the National Park Service was born, as a way to manage and protect the land that fell under its new jurisdiction.
The upkeep of a National Park is a lot more work than it may seem at face value. It isn't all just the pruning of bushes and the management of wildlife as much as a vast undertaking to manage visitor numbers, conservation and continued protection of the parkland and its inhabitants. To qualify as a National Park, any potential area of land should benefit from having an exceptional natural beauty, should offer chances for public use and enjoyment and should retain an unspoiled and natural environment.
Some of America's most iconic and popular landmarks fall under park territory; the breath-taking scale of the Grand Canyon, the mighty roar of Niagara Falls, the sheer vertical height of El Capitan - all are graced with the protection and perseverance of the National Park Service. The wonderful beauty of America's natural landscape is truly awe-inspiring at times and has provided inspiration for many artists, filmmakers and travellers alike.
For the Centennial, the NPS is keen for everyone-everywhere to discover the beauty of the local parkland by visiting and getting out amongst nature, be it a sojourn through the American woodland or lending a hand as one of the many volunteers. Experience some of these enduring, magical vistas for yourself during summer Centennial on our "America's Great National Parks" tour.