STORIES IN THIS SERIES

NPS@100

Turf wars nearly smothered agency at birth


A dog-eared book of laws currently on display in the National Archives hints at the forces that led to the creation of the National Park Service 100 years ago today.

Next to the legislation now known as the National Park Service's Organic Act is a yellowing page that authorized the maintenance and operation of dams across the St. Croix River along the southern border of Maine and Canada. Rapid development in the years leading up to World War I led Congress to authorize dozens of dams like those on the St. Croix. CONTINUE READING >>>

NPS@100

Parks struggle to attract next generation of supporters

HAMPTON, Va. — After more than 175 years guarding the entrance to Hampton Roads harbor, the Fort Monroe Army base was decommissioned in September 2011 as part of a broader military force realignment.

The next month, President Obama unilaterally designated the largest U.S. stone fort — a key refuge for slaves during the Civil War — as a national park site in his first use of a century-old conservation law. CONTINUE READING >>>

NPS@100

'Park-barrel' politics spawn sparsely visited sites

A 500-piece puzzle sits on a table in the visitor center at the Thomas Stone National Historic Site, a nod to what the site's lone park ranger describes as a "relaxed" atmosphere.

The estate is infamous for its low visitation. Its story is a hard sell: Thomas Stone was a largely unknown signer of the Declaration of Independence who is described in his own park as a "moderate" who lacked charisma and "hardly spoke in Congress."

CONTINUE READING >>>

NPS@100

Shift to cultural parks despite thin funding stirs crisis

When President Obama designated New York's Stonewall Inn in June as a national monument, it became the first dedicated to what the president called "the struggle" for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights.

Stonewall National Monument also became the National Park Service's 412th park unit, underscoring the immense and diverse array of parks covering some 84 million acres in every state.

CONTINUE READING >>>

NPS@100

Parks face 'greatest threat' -- climate change

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. — Visitors at the Beaver Meadows entrance here marvel over their first glimpse of thick ponderosa pine stands rolling out like a welcome mat to the snow-capped Rocky Mountains.

But the meadows that should be filled with native bunchgrasses and flowers instead are covered with cheatgrass. The invasive plant has turned the fields brown and threatens extensive ecological damage across one of the nation's most iconic parks.

CONTINUE READING >>>

NPS@100

National Park Service: storied past, troubled future

America's national parks sprang from an audacious ambition.

"If you go back to our roots and the original establishment of the National Park Service, it was not about the parks, it was about the country, it was about who we are as a nation," Director Jonathan Jarvis said in a recent interview. "It's about pride, patriotism, you know, Americanism was the concept of setting these places aside just like the cathedrals of Europe or whatever. This is who we are." CONTINUE READING >>>





 

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