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Reed Smoot, photograph, n.d.

Senator Reed Smoot of Utah, best known as chairman of the Finance Committee and author of the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff, also had a strong interest in the western environment. He was the chief Senate sponsor of the National Park Service Act.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Every year there are more visitors to our parks, . . . and I see in the future success for the accomplishment of all that Congress had in view in creating the National Parks Service.

Senator Reed Smoot of Utah, National Parks Conference, January 2, 1917

Reed Smoot, photograph, n.d.

The National Park Service

As settlement of the West depleted natural resources, conservationists urged Congress to preserve some of the nation’s most scenic and fragile environments. Congress authorized the first national park, Yellowstone, in 1872. In 1916 Representative William Kent of California and Senator Reed Smoot of Utah sponsored legislation establishing a National Park Service to oversee Yellowstone and other wilderness areas conserved by Congress. The National Park Service now maintains over 400 parks and historical sites nationwide for the enjoyment of present and future generations.

The parks do not belong to one state or to one section. . . . they belong as much to the man of Massachusetts, of Michigan, of Florida, as they do to the people of California, of Wyoming, and of Arizona.

Stephen T. Matha, Annual Report of the Director of the National Park Service, October 14, 1920