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General NewsHappy 100th Birthday, NPS

July 1, 2016

Going to “National Park Adventure” IMAX movie.

Going to “National Parks Adventure” IMAX movie.

The National Park Service (NPS) is turning 100 this year on August 25. For this special anniversary, the NPS is celebrating its past achievements and looking at a challenge to its future. How can the NPS engage the next generation in service?

President Woodrow Wilson established the NPS in 1916 when he signed the Organic Act. After that, the federal government took over the protection and maintenance of the country’s national parks. According to the NPS, by 1920, one million people were visiting national parks each year. By 2014, that number had increased to 292.8 million tourists.

However, despite the popularity of the parks, NPS needs to attract younger people. The average age for visitors is rising. In 2015, CNN reported the number of young visitors who were under 15 years old had decreased by half in the past decade.

Therefore, the NPS and the National Park Foundation (NPF) have started new programs for young people. One is called Every Kid in a Park. During the 2015-2016 school year, fourth-grade students and their families can visit national parks free of charge. A new website also lists many opportunities to serve and participate in a variety of youth programs.

To get ready for a park visit, young people and their families can go to see a special 2016 documentary film “National Park Adventure” in IMAX theaters.

“We’re trying to encourage next generations to appreciate their parks as much as earlier generation have,” said Robert K. Sutton, the NPS’s chief historian. “We think that’s a very positive thing that can come out of the centennial.”

Developed by Rachel Kim

Photographer: Rachel Kim


Published July 2016

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