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Celebrate National Park Week April 18-26

April 14th, 2020 · No Comments · Children, City Library, Main Branch, West Branch

In 1872, Congress established the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act, “to set apart a certain tract of land lying near the headwaters of the Yellowstone River as a public park.”  When President Grant signed the bill into law on March 1, he made Yellowstone not only America’s, but the world’s first national park.  Other parks followed, and in 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt used the Antiquities Act to declare Devil’s Tower in Wyoming the first national monument.

At that point in time, each park and monument was independently managed and funded.  After controversy surrounding the idea of building a dam in the Hetch Hetchy Valley, within Yosemite National Park, the Sierra Club and other environmentalists petitioned for stronger protection of these national treasures.

President Wilson created the National Park Service in 1916, an agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior.  The mission of the agency is to conserve the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife within the parks.  Today there are over 400 national parks, monuments, memorials, historic sites, parkways, recreations areas, seashores, scenic riverways and trails protected by the National Park Service.

In honor of the National Park Service’s 75th anniversary, President George H.W. Bush issued Proclamation 6325, making “the week of August 25 through August 31, 1991, as National Park Week.”  Since then, this special week has been moved to April and 2020 is no exception. 

Even though many of the parks themselves are closed, due to COVID-19, the National Park Service, in conjunction with the National Park Foundation, is celebrating National Park Week 2020, from April 18 to 26, with a focus on digital experience.  More can be found on the National Park Service website: www.nps.gov including information on how to connect with them on social media.  Join them as they also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day (April 22).

Take a virtual tour of Antietam National Battlefield.  Check out the webcams for parks around the country, including Saint-Gaudens National Historic Park in Cornish, NH.  Join the NPS and National Park Foundation on April 16 for a Twitter chat.  Tour the Everglades via an audio podcast. 

Or for a more literary feel, read the Anna Pigeon mysteries, by Nevada Barr.  Anna is a law enforcement ranger with the National Park Service, and each book has her at a different park around the country, starting with Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Track of the cat.  Ms. Barr herself worked as a park ranger on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi (featured in two of her mysteries).  Most of her books can be found in digital format through our catalog.

However you choose to celebrate, just remember to stay safe.

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