The fledgling national park service
Dedication to America's wild life: thank you, Pres Woodrow Wilson!
1916 was a pivotal year in national parks' history. Although Yellowstone had already been established as the first American national park in 1872, President Woodrow Wilson signed the historic National Park Service Organic Act in 1916. This legislation put national parks under the control of the US Department of the Interior, where they had once been managed by individual states, or even the United States Army. This paved the way for people and resources to be dedicated to America's wild spaces.
Conservation: now a legal obligation.
America had already made the idea of a national park real with a handful of western parks, including Yellowstone, in the 19th century. The Organic Act made conservation a legal and political obligation. This huge social initiative was a bold statement against speculation that America was a country driven by increasingly capitalist motives.
Aloha, 8 new parks!
Eight new parks were created from 1916-1925, including one in Hawaii. Despite this achievement, recreational visits remained relatively low during this decade. But the stage was set for growth…today, more than 100 nations have national parks of their own.
Total Recreational Visits to all National Parks: 7,754,863
Park with Most Recreational Visitors: Rocky Mountain, Colorado – 1,849,165
Highest Ratio of Visitors to Acre: Hot Springs, Arkansas – 141