National Park Service National Park Service

America's Best Idea Today. In National Parks And In Your Neighborhood.

Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their most special places -- their national parks.

Today, we also work beyond parks, helping communities preserve their history and create close to home outdoor experiences.

Voices of America's Best Idea

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A female park ranger standing in front of monument

Kawther Elmi
Park Ranger, Lincoln Memorial

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Secretary Ken Salazar next to U.S. flag

Secretary of the Interior
With Ken Burns and others

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smiling man with cap and glasses

Neil Adams

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About the Best Idea

Writer and historian Wallace Stegner called national parks "the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst."

For nearly 100 years, this best idea has been nurtured by the National Park Service. Over time, the number of national parks has increased and our mission has become more complex as the range of services we offer has grown beyond parks to meet the needs of thousands of towns and cities across the country. Filmmaker – and Honorary National Park Ranger – Ken Burns tells the story of the national parks and the people who helped create them in his new PBS film The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.