100 years ago, in 1916, August 25, 1916 to be precise, then President Woodrow Wilson established the National Park Service. And for that I say: Thank you.
I truly enjoy the parks, monuments, landmarks, historic sites, national rivers, historic trails, heritage corridors, and yes, even the battlefields. I’ve been an admirer since the first time I set foot on one of national entities shepherded by the national park system. I don’t remember how old I was and I’ve mixed up national and state marks in my mind, but the first one I truly can say I remember is Sandy Hook National Recreation Area, which wasn’t far from Fort Monmouth, NJ. We visited it several times. My dad rescued a Horse Shoe Crab there once.
At the time President Woodrow signed the Organic Act, as it was called, there were already 35 parks and monuments in existence. What the Organic act was to guarantee the parks would be protected and preserved. I wonder what he would say if he knew those 35 parks have grown to 400 plus? And include forests and coastlines? And that our parks would be tourist destinations for peoples all over the world?
According to the National Park Service, NPS, 1 million people visited the parks in 1920. In recent years around 292 million people visited. The last park I visited was Ninety-Six NHS. On vacations I always make it the parks a focal point of the trip. It’s a fun way to learn. When I went to Arkansas, my last vacation, I visited five National Park sites.
In South Carolina we have:
Charles Pinckney NHS – Mt. Pleasant
Congaree NP – Hopkins
Cowpens NB – Chesnee
Fort Sumter NM – Charleston
Gullah-Geechee National Heritage Corridor – SC/GA/FL/NC
Kings Mountain NMP – Blacksburg
Ninety Six NHS – Ninety Six
Overmountain Victory – National Historic Trail – SC/TN/NC/VA
South Carolina National Heritage Corridor – Edgefield
As you can see, there’s one in easy reach from any part of the state. Visit the website of the closest one near you to find out what Centennial doings may be taking place.
Plus: With the Every Kid in a Park campaign, every fourth grader can get a pass for their family to visit our national parks for free!