Trusted local news leader for Williams AZ and the Grand Canyon
Tue, Oct. 20

Grand Canyon to celebrate birth of National Park Service

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - The public is invited to join in the celebration of the 95th birthday of the National Park Service (NPS) tomorrow at Grand Canyon National Park where special programs will highlight the National Park Service's mission and history.

When Yellowstone became the world's first national park in 1872, there was no National Park Service; and when the need for on-site management of the park became apparent, the Department of War was tasked with its protection. In the decades that followed, more national parks, monuments and reserves were created and additional agencies became involved in their protection, including the General Land Office and the U.S. Forest Service. With different missions, these agencies often managed the parks and other federal lands that they were in charge of in different ways. Clearly, people began to argue, a single federal agency was needed; and in 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act, the NPS was finally established. By the time the Grand Canyon was declared a national park in 1919, after being established as a Federal Preserve in 1893, and a National Monument in 1908, the National Park Service was ready to protect this great national treasure.

According to the 1916 Organic Act, the NPS was created to "promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments and reservations..." and " conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

Today there are nearly 400 park units across the United States; and the NPS' more than 20,000 employees work diligently to preserve, protect, and share them with the public. Within Grand Canyon National Park, almost 500 of those employees protect not only the park's geologic landscape and spectacular views, but endangered species like the humpback chub, the sentry milk vetch, and the California condor.

Tomorrow's celebration will include programs that share the history and mission of the NPS as well as the exploration, history and value of Grand Canyon National Park. Programs will be offered throughout the day and include:

• 8:30 a.m. - Guided Hike - Grand Canyon Speaks Volumes

• 10 a.m. - History Talk -Women and the NPS: Pillbox Hats, Miniature Badges and Go-go Boots

• 1:30 p.m. - Rim Walk

• 1:30 - Mather Point Talk - Ranger Stories

• 2:30 p.m. - Porch Talk - The NPS Arrowhead Symbol

• 3 p.m. - Mather Point Talk

• 6:30 p.m. - Campfire Talk - Singing Through History

• 8 p.m. - Evening Program - Into the Great Unknown: John Wesley Powell's River Trip through Grand Canyon

For more on Grand Canyon's Founders Day Celebration, please contact Supervisory Ranger Libby Schaaf at (928) 638-7641 or For more on how Grand Canyon became a national park, visit

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