United States National Park Service Celebrates 100 Years Today — Which Means Free Admission For You

T he National Park Service of the United States was created 100 years ago today, Thursday, August 25, 2016; and as part of the celebration, fees for admission into national parks which normally charge them will be waived through Sunday, August 28, 2016 as part of the 16 days of free entrance days in 2016.

In other words: during the next four days, you can enter any of the 413 national parks free of charge.

United States National Park Service Celebrates 100 Years Today

“The Centennial will celebrate the achievements of the past 100 years, but it is really about the future”, according to this article at the official Internet web site of the National Park Foundation. “It’s about kicking off a second century of stewardship for America’s national parks and for communities across the nation.  Most importantly, it’s about inviting you to join us. We all have a role to play in ensuring that future generations of Americans will be able to enjoy the thrilling experiences of nature and wildlife, history and culture, and the spirit of adventure that is waiting at every national park.”

The National Park Service and National Park Foundation have teamed up and are working closely with partners and stakeholders across the country on programs, events, and activities to increase awareness, deepen engagement, and invite support for the national parks of the United States — as well as the work of the National Park Service and its partners — to ensure that the centennial is more than simply another birthday. They want you to embrace the opportunities to explore, learn, be inspired or simply have fun in your 413 national parks — as well as understand how the community-based recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs of the National Park Service positively impacts your own community.

Celebrate by Getting Involved — Or…

There are so many ways to get involved and enjoy the 413 national parks in the United States — and even more ways to support these special places and their programs.

Randal S. Olsen — who is a senior data scientist at the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Biomedical Informatics — decided to design the optimal road trip to 47 national parks in celebration of the centennial of the National Park Service and offers an interactive map of the trip: “In total, this road trip spans 14,498 miles (23,333 km) of road and will take roughly 2 months if you’re traveling at a breakneck pace. I’ve designed this road trip to form a circle around the U.S., so you can hop on at any point and proceed whatever direction you like. Just make sure to follow the agenda from that point on if you want to follow the optimal route!”

If you want to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service in a decidedly tamer fashion, you can get involved and do one or more of the following activities:

  • Find a park to visit.
  • Learn how the National Park Service can help your community.
  • Volunteer and give back in our national parks.
  • Join the national park community.
  • Support the National Park Foundation and local park Friends Groups.

Articles With Trip Reports

In addition to articles pertaining to my visits to such places as the Thomas Jefferson Memorial; Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial; and the Washington Monument — which I intend to post in the future — I have already posted several trip reports at The Gate of my visits to a few of the sites which are part of the National Park Service such as the following:

Learn More

Find out more: a retrospective of the visual identity of the National Park Service.

Read about the leaders who brought the National Park Service to life. For example, did you know that John Muir is also known as the Father of the National Park Service; and that as the most famous naturalist and conservationist in the United States, he fought to protect the wild places he loved — including Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon and Mount Rainier — as national parks?

Find out how the National Park Foundation — which is the official charity of the national parks in the United States — helps protect our national parks; connect all Americans to them; and inspires the next generation of park stewards.


My sincerest congratulations go out to the National Park Service, which joins Nathan’s Famous frankfurters in Coney Island and The Boeing Corporation as entities that have celebrated their centennial this year.

From Yellowstone National Park to Gateway National Recreation Area; from Mount Rainier National Park to Gettysburg National Military Park; from Muir Woods National Monument to Great Smoky Mountains National Park; and from Denali National Park to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, I have been to a number of sites within the National Park Service in the United States — but I have so many more to visit.

The formation of the National Park Service 100 years ago was one of the greatest ideas in the United States, designed to help preserve not only treasured national landmarks; but also the indigenous flora, fauna and topography which have been a part of the North American continent for centuries — for all to enjoy during the past 100 years…

…and — hopefully — for at least the next 100 years as well.

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

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