Creating National Parks
Congress authorized the first national park, Yellowstone, in 1872. It was the first of many areas of beauty and scenic wonder preserved by Congress for future generations to enjoy. In the following decade, Congress designated additional national parks to conserve wilderness, to promote recreation and tourism, and to celebrate the nation’s historical heritage. The National Park Service, created by an act of Congress in 1916, now oversees some 400 parks located throughout the U.S.