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Bear on side of car with photographer taking its picture, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This item is in the public domain.

 

Credits

Clemson University Libraries, part of the South Carolina Digital Library. http://www.scmemory.org

There are few ideas more sacred than the physical, emotional, and spiritual connections individuals have had with nature. The love of these beautiful landscapes has inspired countless generations to protect and preserve these lands and to make sure that the wild, untamed beauty will continue to awe future generations who have yet to come across their magnificence. On March 1, 1872, Yellowstone National Park was federally recognized as the country’s first protected area, 44 years before the National Park Service was founded in 1916. And with this first step, the conservation, culture, history, and preservation of parks and protected areas began. Not only do these parks and protected areas ensure the vitality of natural resources, but of historical and cultural resources as well.

Constructing and defining the National Park Service as the revered organization that it is today was no easy task. While some individuals have used their talents to create and preserve the physical landscape—physically building the parks and developing policies and laws—others have used their literary and artistic skills to showcase their beauty and history. No one person is the guardian or champion of these protected areas—with collaboration, vision, and connection to the land, we are part of the parks equally as the parks are part of ourselves.