National Park Service Centennial

A male park ranger in uniform with an arrowhead patch speaks into a radio
The arrowhead is the symbol of the National Park Service.

NPS / Neal Herbert

 

There are more than 400 national park sites in the United States. They include parks, battlefields, monuments, seashores, historic sites, and recreation areas that are nationally significant. For 99 years the National Park Service has preserved these places because they are important to our nation.

The arrowhead is the symbol of the National Park Service. It is a reminder of the culture and history national parks protect. Each image in the arrowhead represents something protected by the National Park Service.

 
Bison graze along a creek in a valley with snow-covered and forested mountains in the background
The five elements of the National Park Service arrowhead are symbolic. Can you find representations of all of the elements in this picture?

NPS / Neal Herbert

 

Fill in the blank with the correct word: arrowhead, sequoia tree, mountain, lake, bison

  • The _________ represents the wildlife protected by the National Park Service.
  • The _________ represents the plants protected by the National Park Service.
  • The _________ represents the scenery and land protected by the National Park Service.
  • The _________ represents the recreational values protected by the National Park Service.
  • The _________ represents the history and culture of our nation protected by the National Park Service.
 
Visitors with cameras sit on the balcony of the historic log Old Faithful Inn overlooking an eruption of Old Faithful geyser in front of a forested hillside
What elements of the National Park Service arrowhead can you find in this photo of people watching Old Faithful erupt from a balcony of the Old Faithful Inn?

NPS/Peaco

 

Create Your Own Arrowhead

Every place the National Park Service protects is unique, but all are managed by the overarching purpose “… 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.”

Pretend you’ve been hired to design a custom symbol just for your local park. What things will you choose to represent each of the five elements?

 

More Information

  • National Park Service Organic Act (1916): The act that established the National Park Service
  • Yellowstone for Kids: Book produced by the Yellowstone National Park to help kids discover the world's first national park, connect with the wonders of nature, and engage in the promise of tomorrow. Get excited for an upcoming trip to Yellowtsone, discover Yellowstone on your visit, and support and protect special places like Yellowstone after your return home. Available from Yellowstone Association bookstores (76 pages, $10.95).
  • Learn more about Yellowstone's wildlife, plants, mountains and water, and history
  • Become a Junior Ranger

Last updated: November 17, 2016

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168

Phone:

(307) 344-7381

Contact Us