National parks have been a part of American life since 1872 when Congress signed into law legislation establishing Yellowstone National Park as the United States first National Park. Then, on August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act creating the National Park Service. Since then, the National Park Service (NPS) has expanded to 423 units (generally referred to as parks), including 63 National Parks, ranging from the grandeur of Yosemite to the quiet beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The purpose of the National Park Service is to conserve unique landscapes and the cultural and the natural resources they contain for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of all Americans and the world. Its mission is to preserve the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife within the national parks by providing access and use to these resources while protecting these nationally significant places.
The National Park Service units include National Battlefields, National Battlefield Parks, National Battlefield Sites, National Military Parks, National Historical Parks, National Historic Sites, International Historic Sites, National Lakeshores, National Memorials, National Monuments, National Parks, National Parkways, National Preserves, National Reserves, National Recreation Areas, National Rivers, National Wild and Scenic Rivers and Riverways, National Scenic Trails, National Seashores as well as some other related areas.
The National Park Service typically has some type of special events happening at many of the National Park units around the country. To find out more, visit the National Park Service's website at: NPS Birthday.