The 100th Anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service

August 22, 2016


"Wilderness is more than a natural place, more than a place for recreation. It is a place for inspiration." - The National Park Service

Although I had lived near National Parks before, it was only a few years ago that I really came to appreciate National Parks. And yes, I have even visited them before, but again, I didn't truly appreciate them. With summer and outdoor play time already winding down and since this year marks 100 years of the U.S. National Park Service, it seemed fitting to speak to National Parks.

First, here are some fun facts:

  • The National Park Service was formed by an act signed by President Woodrow Wilson on August 25, 1916. 
  • The first national park to be formed was Yellowstone National Park, which was established by an Act signed by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872.
  • The largest national park is the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska, which comes in at 13.2 million acres., whereas the smallest national park is the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Pennsylvania, which is only 0.02 acres.
  • In 2015, there were roughly 307 million visitors to the national parks.
  • In 2015, the top five most visited national parks were (starting with the most visited): Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yosemite National Park and Yellowstone National Park.


People are celebrating this centennial anniversary in different ways. Whereas my interest in national parks has increased even more, one photographer that caught my attention decided to visit all of the national parks. Jonathan Irish is a professional outdoor, adventure and travel photographer and contributor to National Geographic who is working to hit all 59 U.S. national parks in 52 weeks, along with Stefanie Payne who worked as a creative product development lead for NASA human spaceflight in Washington D.C. As for Jonathan's work, the images he has captured thus far, are simply amazing. If you had any doubt about visiting a national park before, those doubts will certainly be subsided after you see his imagery.

Here are some examples, which can be found via his Instagram page @jonathan_irish and include Yosemite National Park, Acadia National Park and Grand Canyon National Park.

Acadia National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Yosemite National Park

And, you can follow his "Greatest American Road Trip" here that speaks to this undertaking.

Which national park is your favorite? Do you have any plans to visit one this year? I'll admit that after seeing Jonathan's images, I now have my eyes set on visiting Acadia National Park .

- Aimee

P.S. When touring a national park, try wearing an Adea modal tee - comfortable and practical.

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