On August 25, 1916, the National Park Service Organic Act was passed by Congress and approved by President Woodrow Wilson, creating the National Park Service. This Act was born out of a need to better manage and protect the 14 national parks and 21 national monuments that existed prior to the creation of the National Park Service. Thanks to the efforts of the explorers, artists and countless others who through the years have advocated for the protection of some of the most stunningly beautiful natural areas of our country, the National Park System now includes 412 official units covering more than 84 million acres in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Following are some interesting facts about this agency, celebrating its 100th year, and some if the amazing features it oversees:
1872: Year in which Yellowstone National Park was established by Congress as nation’s first national park.
13.2 mil. acres: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska, the largest park site.
0.02 acres: Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Pennsylvania, the smallest park site.
378.1 feet: The height of the world’s tallest living tree, named Hyperion, which can be found in Redwood National Forest. Note: Redwood is also home to Helios (376.3 feet) and Icarus (371.2 feet), respectively the second and third tallest living trees in world.
20,310 feet: Denali (aka Mount McKinley) the highest mountain peak in North America is located in Denali National Park and Preserve.
4,600 miles: North Country Trail, the longest point-to-point trail entirely within the National Park System.
$3.65 billion: the FY 2015 National Park Service budget
307,247,252: The number of visitors to the national parks in 2015
$16.9 billion: The amount of money spent by visitors to the national parks in 2015
295,000: Number of jobs supported by NPS visitor spending in 2015
Sources: National Park Service FAQs; Eureka! New tallest living thing discovered / THE CHAMPION: At 378.1 feet, Hyperion in Redwood National Park on North Coast towers 8 feet above Stratosphere Giant; Trivia Challenge: The Longest Trail in the National Park System