Today is the 100th birthday of the National Parks Service. And if ever there were a centennial worth celebrating, the NPS’ 100th birthday is it.
As novelist Wallace Stegner once said, “National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.”
In honor of that great idea, the White House has been celebrating the NPS’ birthday all day on Instagram, beginning with a photo of Yosemite Valley from famed photographer Chris Burkard.
“The first time I saw Yosemite National Park I was young,” Burkard wrote. “My eyes were glued to the window as we passed the famous tunnel view, and I caught my first gaze of its massive granite walls and waterfalls. I was blown away. Never before had anything in nature struck me so profoundly. I knew in that moment I had truly found my park.”
After that, the White House’s account shared a photo from professional rock climber Sasha DiGiulian ascending Lost Arrow Spire in Yosemite.
“So happy to celebrate the @NationalParkService turning 100,” DiGiulian wrote. “Thanks to them I have the ability to play in the most beautiful places in this country. #FindYourPark and remember to respect those around you and your surroundings!”
A theme among the posts was the necessity to continue conserving our parks.
A photo of the Instagram-famous dog @Loki_the_wolfdog inside Redwood National Park emphasized the fact that 90 percent of the Coastal Redwoods have been logged, and highlighted the importance of the NPS in continuing to protect them.
In that same vein, Olympic snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler shared on the White House’s account a photo of a recent hike she took with her husband through the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness area just outside of Aspen, Colorado.
“Climbing mountains in wild places is one of my favorite things, whether it's with my snowboard in the winter and spring or backpacking in the summer, like I just got to do with my husband and close friends this past weekend,” Bleiler wrote.
“And national parks aren't just good for us, they're also vital to the health of our planet,” she continued. “Did you know that our national parks remove 14.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year?!”
The White House’s Instagram takeover is still going on, so head over to its page to see its ongoing celebration of the NPS’ centennial.
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