National Park Service's 92nd Birthday

This year the National Park Service is celebrating its 92nd birthday. Congress established the National Park Service on August 25, 1916 with the passing of the National Park Service Organic Act. The new agency would take possession of thirty-five national parks and monuments previously administered by the Department of the Interior. This day, now known as “Founders Day,” commemorates the establishment of the National Park Service:

“…to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life 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 391 units make up the National Park Service. Harry S Truman National Historic Site was added as a unit by Congress on May 23, 1983.

 
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Badges

From the early days of Yellowstone National Park, there was a need to distinguish the men who would protect the national parks from those who would damage them. The early rangers did not wear uniforms and may or may not have carried a badge. The first clear reference to badges for rangers relates to their use by Yellowstone park scouts.

 
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Arrowhead

Each symbol on the arrowhead is symbolic of a National Park Service value. The Sequoia tree and bison represent vegetation and wildlife, the mountains and water represent scenic and recreational values, and the arrowhead represents historical and archeological values.

 
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Ranger Hat

While technically not an insignia, the ranger hat has become synonymous with the ranger service. Even though Smokey is actually a motif of the Forest Service, most people think of the Park Service when they see him. Similar police hats are also called “Smokey the Bear” hats.

The 1932 ranger hat regulations specified that the “Stetson hat” was to have a “three inch stiff brim,” was to be equipped with the “prescribed National Park Service leather hatband,” and was to be considered the standard headpiece for use in all National Parks and National Monuments.

 
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Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park. With its inception a new concept was born and people around the world found a new way to preserve and protect the best of what they had for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations. Located in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, it is home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk. Preserved within the park are Old Faithful and a collection of the world’s most extraordinary geysers and hot springs, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

 
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Mount McKinley National Park (Denali National Park and Preserve),established February 26, 1917, and was the first park created under the National Park Service through the authority of the Organic Act of 1916. The original park was designated a wilderness area and incorporated into Denali National Park and Preserve in 1980. Designated an international biosphere reserve in 1976, the park encompasses more than 6 million acres and includes a complete sub-arctic eco-system with large mammals such as grizzly bears, wolves, Dall sheep, and moose.

 
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San Juan Island National Historical Park was authorized by an act of Congress on September 9, 1966. Establishment of the park coincided with the celebration of the National Park Service’s 50th anniversary. Commemorating the peaceful settlement of Oregon Territory boundary issues between the United States and Great Britain in 1872, the park consists of two units—English Camp and American Camp—representing sites occupied by the respective military units between 1859 and 1872. The American Camp is shown here as a farm in the late 19th century.

 
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Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site opened to the public on Saturday, April 28th, 2007, becoming the 391st (and most recent) National Park Unit. The site memorializes the massacre of nearly 160 Cheyenne and Arapaho on November 29, 1864. Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site, situated on over 12,000 acres in southeast Colorado, recognizes the significance of the massacre in American history, and its ongoing significance to the Northern and Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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223 North Main Street (Visitor Center)
Independence, MO 64050

Phone:

(816) 254-2720

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