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National Parks





Parks vs Monuments


Bryce Canyon

Carlsbad Caverns

Crater Lake

General Grant


Grand Canyon

Grand Teton


Hot Springs

Lassen Volcanic

Mesa Verde

Mount McKinley

Mount Rainier


Rocky Mountain


Wind Cave





National Parks Portfolio NPS Arrowhead logo


WHEN the first edition of the National Parks Portfolio was issued in 1916, comparatively few people realized the importance and value of the national parks in our national scheme of existence; very few, in fact, knew how many of these reservations there were or where located. The national monuments were practically unknown.

In the past fifteen years, however, great changes have occurred in the national-park and monument system. Whereas in 1916 only 356,097 people visited the national parks, in 1930 a total of 2,774,561 saw these areas, and an additional 472,095 visited the national monuments. And the millions who have not yet visited these areas learn about them through illustrated lectures, books, and magazine and newspaper stories.

In this space of time great changes also have taken place in the administration and development of the parks and monuments. In the earlier years attention necessarily was given to the upbuilding of administrative units and the development of the necessary accommodations to care for the physical well-being of visitors.

Now, this preliminary work having been accomplished, the greatest development in the system is along esthetic and educational lines, and the benefit to visitors has increased accordingly.

To Stephen T. Mather, first Director of the National Park Service, is due the greater part of the successful development of the national park and monument system.

The issuance of the first National Parks Portfolio in 1916 was his personal accomplishment. No Government funds were available for such a publication. Mr. Mather, however, knew that some such book was necessary if the parks were to be made known to the people of the United States. He, therefore, interested seventeen western railroads in the project and with their contribution of forty-three thousand dollars had the National Parks Portfolio prepared and published.

A year later the Government took over the publication of the Portfolio. It is now in its sixth edition and gives representation to the twenty-two national parks and thirty-four national monuments included in the system.

Director, National Park Service.

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