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Establishment of Mount McKinley National Park . . . , by the Senate Committee on Territories, May 5, 1916

While Congress encouraged travel to Alaska with the Alaska Railway Act of 1914, conservationists sought to limit human impact on the wilderness. They lobbied Congress to protect Mount McKinley’s wildlife from hunters. Senator Key Pittman of Nevada, chairman of the Committee on Territories, introduced a bill to establish Mount McKinley National Park, held hearings on it, and urged its passage.

U.S. Senate Library

Establishment of Mount McKinley National Park . . . , by the Senate Committee on Territories, May 5, 1916

Preserving Alaskan Wilderness

Since the 1870s, Congress has created more than 400 national parks to conserve wild lands, promote recreation, and celebrate the nation’s heritage. To oversee these areas, Congress established the National Park Service in 1916. Persuaded by naturalist Charles Sheldon and other conservationists, Congress established Mount McKinley National Park in Alaska in 1917 to protect North America’s highest mountain. The Alaskan National Lands Conservation Act of 1980 vastly expanded the protected area to six million acres and renamed it Denali National Park.

Is it too much to expect this unrivaled work of nature will take its place among the important assets, not only of Alaska but of the nation as a whole?

Robert Sterling Yard, “Mount McKinley National Park: An Economic Asset,” Establishment of Mount McKinley National Park . . . , 1916