The National Park Service Arrowhead

The National Park Service was created by an Act of Congress called the Organic Act on August 25, 1916. Many people have called it “America’s best idea” because the National Park Service:

“…preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations...”

Today, there are 424 sites in the National Park Service. Some of these sites preserve unique natural and ecological features in the United States; some of these sites preserve important places tied to the history of the United States; and some even do a little bit of both!

At one point, the National Park Service wanted to create a symbol, or emblem, that would include all of the special places that it was there to protect. There was even a competition in 1949 to see if someone could come up with one. However, after a lot of discussion, the arrowhead we use today was authorized as the official National Park Service emblem by the Secretary of the Interior on July 20, 1951.

The elements of this emblem symbolize the major elements of the national park system:
1.The Sequoia tree and bison represent vegetation and wildlife.
2.The mountains and water represent scenic and recreational values.
3.The arrowhead represents historical and archeological values.

What is your favorite National Park site? What would your arrowhead look like?

Last updated: June 28, 2021

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