America’s National Park Service Turns 99!

Mount Rainier National Park, National Park Foundation Share the Experience photo contest, Stephen Byrne

The National Park Service turns 99 years old on August 25, 2015, and everyone is getting a present, free admission! Visit a park in your neighborhood or plan a trip to one of the 408 National Park Service sites across the country to join the party!

And to inspire visitors, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, have created a birthday list of 99 Ways to Find Your Park.

Photo Credit: National Park Foundation

Photo Credit: National Park Foundation

“The National Park Service’s 99th birthday is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the role of national parks in the American story,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “And it’s also a time to look ahead to our centennial year, and the next 100 years. These national treasures belong to all of us, and we want everyone – especially the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates – to discover and connect with their national parks.”

On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation to create the National Park Service, which preserves and protects 408 sites throughout the country. Each one, whether it’s a national park, a historic site or a national seashore, was established by a president or Congress to protect, preserve and share its national significance for future generations. Some parks commemorate notable people and achievements; others conserve magnificent landscapes and natural wonders; and all provide a place to have fun and learn.

Travel Tip: For some ideas on how to explore a National Parks closest to you, checkout this roundup story: How to Explore US National Parks: Solid Advice from Seasoned Family Travel Bloggers.

Point Reyes National Seashore, National Park Foundation Share the Experience photo contest, Paul Powers

Point Reyes National Seashore, National Park Foundation Share the Experience photo contest, Paul Powers

In preparation for the centennial celebration next year, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation are partnering to help audiences nationwide Find Your Park.

To encourage visitors to discover everything a park experience can be, the list of 99 Ways to Find Your Park includes a wide range of activities: from urban hikes and taking a sunrise selfie, to earning a Junior Ranger Badge and writing poetry. Visitors are encouraged to share their park experiences with friends and family by using #FindYourPark or #EncuentraTuParque on social media.

“As we celebrate 99 years of the incredible work of the National Park Service in communities across the country, we invite people everywhere to be a part of the Find Your Park movement and discover their own unique connections to parks and their programs,” said Will Shafroth, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “We encourage everyone to join in the birthday fun. Take a look at our list of 99 ideas and check off what you’ve already done, share your experiences with friends and family using #FindYourPark and #EncuentraTuParque on social media, and try something new.”

The National Park Service waived all of its entrance fees on nine days in 2015. The remaining entrance fee free days are August 25 for the National Park Service’s birthday, September 26 for National Public Lands Day, and November 11 in honor of Veterans Day. The entrance fee waiver does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.

To find a national park near you, and to learn more about the Find Your Park campaign, visit FindYourPark.com or EncuentraTuParque.com.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 408 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.


About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website RoadTripsForFamilies.com. She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine, Roadtrippers.com, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for TravelWisconsin.com, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at www.juliehenning.com.