National Park Service Founders Day in the United States Date in the current year: August 25, 2024

National Park Service Founders Day in the United States National Park Service Founders Day is observed annually on August 25. It is celebrated to commemorate the signing of the National Park Service Organic Act and highlight the contribution of the National Park System to conservation and preservation efforts.

Although the National Park Service was officially founded in 1916, its history dates back to the mid-19th century. The first national park in the United States was Yellowstone National Park, established on March 1, 1872. Mackinac National Park was the country’s second national park. It was established in 1875 and reorganized as Mackinac Island State Park in 1895.

The movement to create a unified federal agency that would oversee national parks was spearheaded by the American industrialist and conservationist Stephen Mather. He was inspired by his 1904 trip to Europe, where he visited a number of national parks and admired their public accessibility.

President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act on August 25, 1916, establishing the National Park Service (NPS) within the Department of the Interior. In 1917, Mather was appointed as the first director of the new agency and led it until his resignation due to declining health in 1929.

Since 1933, the NPS has overseen the entirety of the National Park System, which includes national parks, national military parks, most national monuments, national memorials, national cemeteries, and parklands that used to make up the National Capital Parks. The agency is responsible for the preservation of the historical and ecological integrity of the properties it manages, as well as for ensuring their availability and accessibility for the general public.

The NPS manages over 400 official units of the National Park System in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of the United States. The agency has approximately 20,000 employees (park rangers, the United States Park Police, emergency workers, fire management specialists, dispatchers, maintenance personnel, administration personnel, and other relevant professionals) and almost 280,000 volunteers who contribute through the Volunteers-In-Parks program.

National Park Service Founders Day is celebrated in all national parks across the United States. To observe the holiday, the NPS offers special programs to educate the general public about the importance of the National Park System. If you live near a national park, celebrate the holiday by taking a trip there and sharing photos of your visit on social media with the hashtag #NPSFoundersDay.

Even if you cannot visit a national park on August 25, there are still ways for you to observe the holiday. You can take a virtual tour to experience the beauty of nature without leaving your home, plan a future trip to a national park with your friends or family, revisit photos from your past trips and share some of them on social media, read a book or watch a documentary about national parks, or commit to supporting the National Park System by signing up as a volunteer with the NPS.

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National Park Service Founders Day in the United States, environmental observances, professional holidays, National Park System