Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
placeholder article
placeholder article

America Celebrates 100 Years of Adventure with National Park Service Centennial

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at App State chapter.

As the school year rolls around, students are flocking to swimming holes, hiking trails, and the parkway for one last summer adventure. But this year, there is one more reason to head outdoors and enjoy America’s natural beauty.

This month, one of the most beloved departments of the U.S. government celebrates its 100th birthday. On Thursday, August 25, the National Park Service marked its centennial anniversary. The Park Service, which is a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior, was created in 1916 with the passing of the Organic Act.

Over its 100-year history, the Park Service has protected and conserved some of the most beautiful land in the world- such as the white snowcaps of Denali, the green grass of Everglades, and the giant forests of Redwood. Throughout the years, the Park Service has established a total of 419 sites.

Yellowstone National Park, located in Wyoming, became the world’s first national park when it was created on March 1, 1872, 44 years before the National Park Service was written into law.

Not only does the National Park Service protect natural history, but preserves monuments and historic landmarks that are essential to the American identity. The National Mall in Washington, D.C. is actually a part of the National Park System. The Park Service also includes a memorial dedicated to World War II in Hawaii, the Statue of Liberty, and several battle forts. Just this year, the National Parks Service named Stonewall, a New York bar that has symbolized the gay rights movement, as a protected monument.

In celebration of the centennial, the National Park Service waived entrance fees at all National Parks on the 25th. In addition, parks across the country are coming up with creative ways to celebrate adventure in America.

On the 25th, around 1,000 people gathered on the National Mall to create the Park Service’s logo by holding brown, green, and white umbrellas. People dressed as George Washington and outdoor enthusiast Teddy Roosevelt also showed up for the party.

Online, people flocked to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to celebrate their favorite park moments by using the hashtags #FindYourPark and #NPS100.

The National Park Service launched the “Find Your Park” movement earlier this year in anticipation of the celebration. The campaign was highlighted when President Obama and the First Family visited Yosemite National Park in June. In addition, the Park Service released National Parks Adventure, an Imax film narrated by Robert Redford, as a part of the 2016 celebration. On the day of the centennial, the White House once again voiced its appreciation by posting several Instagram photos depicting outdoor adventure in the parks.

Celebrities like Bill Nye the Science Guy and Hollywood heartthrob Scott Eastwood tweeted their love for the Park Service and all it has done to protect American natural and cultural history.

While the official centennial has passed, the Park Service will continue its #FindYourPark campaign in order to further celebrate the land which it protects. In Appalachia, visitors can adventure to several park sites, like Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Appalachian Trail.

Thanks, National Park Service, for preserving our past and providing Americans with countless opportunities to experience adventure in our own backyard. Here’s to another hundred years!



Tanaya Lake in Yosemite National Park. Photo by Reece Clemmons

National Park Service photo, by Tim Ervin.











Savannah is a senior at Appalachian State majoring in English with a concentration in professional writing and a double minor in geology and communication. She enjoys hiking, doing yoga, watching scary movies, and playing with her 6 dogs. A lover of the environment and natural history, Savannah hopes to do communication work for the National Park Service after graduating.