• America's Park Service Visionaries

Early Leaders of the Park Service Idea

The National Parks are uniquely American. Celebrate the visionaries who came before us with groundbreaking ideas – not only about preserving our nation's "crown jewels", but also extending the National Park Service’s mission to some of the nation’s other uniquely American treasures. Because of them, the agency today manages a range of cultural sites including monuments, parkways, battlefields, cemeteries, and recreation areas. This rich variety has created a portfolio of over 390 parks, all with their own special contribution to the American story.

The National Park Service of the 21st Century continues forward with a team of unsung heroes.  Some are rangers who lead tours and provide for visitor safety. Others maintain, clean, and repair our parks. And even further behind the scenes, are a legion of administrators, historic preservationists, archeologists, and ecologists striving to discover more about America’s past, so that it can be preserved and passed on to future generations.

John Muir

Father of the National Park Service

image of John Muir

teddy Roosevelt

U.S. President and Conservationist

image of Theodore Roosevelt

Marjory Douglass

Mother of the Everglades National Park

image of Marjory Stoneman Douglass


Stephen t. mather

First Director for the National Park Service

image of Stephen T. Mather

charles young

First Superintendent Sequoia National Park

image of Charles Young

enos mills

Father of Rocky Mountain National Park

image of Enos Mills


george wright

Father of NPS Natural Resources

image of George Wright

freeman tilden

Father of NPS Interpretation & Education

image of Freeman Tilden

Park Sevice People

Today's Parks & Programs Staff

Learn more about park rangers, researchers, and other staff