Last week marked the 99th birthday of the United States’ National Park Service. If you’re a reader of our blog, you probably know that we’re on a quest to visit all 59 of these parks, and we’re getting there! 42 down, 17 to go.
We, along with Ken Burns, think National Parks are one of America’s best ideas. Here are some of the reasons why!
America has always been the land of opportunity, and US National Parks are full of opportunities! They provide the opportunity for people to access wild and scenic areas. The proponents of national parks saw what happened at Niagara Falls, and knew that it wasn’t a model for the future of our wild, scenic country. Advocates including John Muir fought to ensure access to our land’s beauty for everyone, “unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations,” as the National Park Service Organic Act of 1916 proclaimed. This was definitely a “best idea.”
National parks provide the opportunity for people to discover the tranquility and wisdom of nature. For many, life is a hurried business. Time spent in the national parks, away from the busy hubbub of daily life, gives people time to relax and be refreshed. The parks provide the opportunity to clear our minds of distractions and worries and focus inward.
National Parks provide the opportunity for families to spend time together in the outdoors, fostering relationships with both nature and one another. Many families spend too little time together, and the parks provide a marvelous playground where they can grow, explore and discover together.
And lest we think our national parks only provide opportunities to the American people, we must remember that our national parks also provide the opportunity for wildlife to live and flourish in safe, well-maintained, and pristine habitats. Were it not for national parks, much of the habitat necessary for wildlife would surely have disappeared by now.
National Parks, America’s Best Idea, are a shining example of how America really is the land of opportunity.
And … how about using the hashtag #LuvYourNPs when you’re talking about national parks in your social media stream? We created it and use it often, but we’d love for it to become a thing!
Enjoy your next national park visit, whether it’s for a week or a weekend. (And who knows, it might even be free!)
Glacier National Park photo credit: Kelley Knutson