Can you imagine being responsible for 84,000,000 acres of land, while hosting 307,000,000 people? That’s exactly what the National Park Service (NPS) did last year!
President Woodrow Wilson created the NPS to conserve our country’s scenery, wildlife, and natural and historic objects for the enjoyment of future generations. One hundred years later, the NPS now manages the 410 parks of the National Park System which includes national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and even the White House!
In addition to famous, iconic national parks like Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Denali, the NPS works with Native American tribes, local governments, non-profit organizations, businesses, and individual citizens to revitalize communities, preserve local history, celebrate local heritage, and create close to home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun.
Some of these lesser known NPS sites might be right in your backyard. There are 22 National Parks in the state of New York including the African Burial Ground (in Lower Manhattan), Castle Clinton (in NYC’s Financial District), Ellis Island, Federal Hall (in the Financial District), Fire Island, Grant’s Tomb, Gateway National Recreation Area, Governor’s Island, and Sagamore Hill (President Teddy Roosevelt home).
This vast array of natural and historic sites are great ways to get out in nature and learn about our country’s rich heritage. The NPS’s Rangers and volunteers offer talks and tours at the different sites (many of which are free). Many sites also have a free Junior Ranger Program for kids from ages 5 to 13 and kids at heart to do activities and earn a Junior Ranger Badge.
Celebrate the NPS’s 100th birthday by visiting one of our country’s 410 parks!