Today marks 100 years since the establishment of America’s National Park Service. Stephen T. Mather, the Service’s first director (1917-1929), commented:
“The parks do not belong to one state or to one section…The Yosemite, the Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon are national properties in which every citizen has a vested interest; they belong as much to the man of Massachusetts, of Michigan, of Florida, as they do to the people of California, of Wyoming, and of Arizona.
“Who will gainsay that the parks contain the highest potentialities of national pride, national contentment, and national health? A visit inspires love of country; begets contentment; engenders pride of possession; contains the antidote for national restlessness…He is a better citizen with a keener appreciation of the privilege of living here who has toured the national parks.”