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Happy 100th birthday, National Park Service!

On August 25, 2016, the National Park Service turns 100.* A centennial is a pretty big celebration if you ask us and it got us thinking about all the great things America’s national parks have to offer.

In celebration of this milestone, the National Park Service is “launching a movement to spread the word about the amazing places [they] manage, the inspirational stories that the national parks tell, our country’s natural resources, and our diverse cultural heritage.” To this end, they have launched a ‘find your park‘ campaign.

If you didn’t know, all of us over at Dowitcher Designs are huge fans of nature. There are few things we like better than a rewarding hike and spending time outdoors. And we’re headquartered in the beautiful city of Santa Barbara, CA, where there just so happen to be several nearby national parks! Or at least ones within road trip distance. Find the park closest to you here.

Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park

We love history:

John Muir happens to be one of my favorite conservationists. Dubbed the “Father of the National Parks,” Muir was instrumental in the preservation of such wildernesses as Yosemite Valley and Sequoia National Park. An eloquent activist, he simply wanted the U.S government to establish more national parks. In 1890, there was only one: Yellowstone. Muir would soon petition Congress for the National Park Bill (which passed in 1890 and established Yosemite as a national park).

Later, after meeting Muir in 1903, Theodore Roosevelt would set aside 148,000,000 acres of forest reserves to be preserved. The number of national parks doubled during his administration, in part due to  an influential camping trip with John Muir!

In 1916, two years after Muir’s death, the National Park Service was created to regulate the nation’s parks.

Redwood Trees

We also love numbers:

  • The National Park System covers more than 84 million acres and has 410 sites (128 historical parks or sites, 81 national monuments, 59 national parks, 25 battlefield or military parks, 19 reserves, 18 recreation areas, 10 seashores, four parkways, four lake shores, and two reserves)
  • Yellowstone National Park was established by Congress as the first (nation and world wide) on March 1, 1872
  • In 2015, there were 307.2 million recreational visits. Compare that to the 1 million recorded visits in 1920!
  • National parks contain 247+ species of threatened or endangered plants and animals, 75,000+ archeological sites, 18,000 miles of trails, 167 million + museum items, the world’s largest carnivore, and the world’s largest living things (Giant Sequoias)

That’s 410 different places to explore and 18,000 miles to walk! We’d better take a few sick days and plan an epic road trip adventure.

Check out more neat stats on the National Park Services website.


*This blog post was originally published on May 20, 2016


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