In the fast paced world we live it is exceedingly important to remember and preserve the past that has shaped us. An area where kiwis can readily relate is the shared passion for the outdoors and the incredible natural beauty that can be found throughout both countries. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS), a federal program designed to protect diverse sites which showcase the United States’ unique natural and cultural heritage.
On August 25th, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the NPS with the clear purpose of conserving such remarkable sites “by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” In New Zealand there are similar protections put in place by the Department of Conservation, reflecting the global push to preserve our planet. Now, one hundred years later, the aim has been fully realized with over 400 individual parks scattered across the United States which are visited annually by nearly 280 million people. As President Obama has said “our long term prosperity depends on the faithful stewardship of the air that we breathe, the water we drink, and the land that we sow. That’s a sacred trust.”
The famous Yellowstone National Park and shares the distinction with Lake Taupo as one of the world’s few super volcanoes. It is the oldest of these nationally protected parks, but has since been followed by hundreds of sites including Mt McKinley, the highest point in North America, Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest known cave system in the world and historic sites where Civil War battles were fought.
Over the next few months the Embassy will be sharing personal stories of visits to various national parks throughout the county and invites you to get involved with the commemoration. Be sure to look out for social media hashtags #NPS100 and #FindYourPark (Twitter (Embassy and Ambassador Gilbert), Facebook and Instagram). Also check out our blog posts (“Related Posts” to the right).
Visit the NPS100 website for more information: nps.gov/subjects/centennial.
As well as further information about how you can get involved with the Find Your Park Campaign: findyourpark.com.