When Congress passed the Rocky Mountain National Park Act in 1915, the legislators focused on Rocky's scenic and natural wonders. Still, what became the park held many cultural treasures including ancient trails, game drives, cattle ranches, and lodges. Early Superintendents tried to develop roads, backcountry cabins, and trails to blend with the surroundings. Rangers manipulated the landscape to look more "natural;" they suppressed fires, planted seedlings, and controlled predators. The National Park Service purchased private lands and removed buildings, roads, post offices, driveways, irrigation ditches, and fences.
After World War II, with park visitation increasing across the country, the National Park Service implemented Mission 66, a nationwide development and improvement program. Rocky, like many parks, suffered from outdated facilities. Mission 66 brought new comfort stations, overlooks, employee housing, campgrounds, and visitor centers to Rocky Mountain National Park.
During the 1960's, as cultural revolutions swept the nation, Congress passed significant environmental laws to protect the American landscape. Many of these affected the management of both natural and cultural resources in the National Parks. Every year, more cultural resources are identified and protected in Rocky Mountain National Park. Today a team of cultural and natural resource specialists work together to protect the park resources.
Last updated: February 24, 2015