Today, is the official 100th Birthday of the National Park Service! Happy Birthday! I know that many parks around the U.S. have been doing special stuff this whole year, but today, is a very special day, because on August 25th 1916 was the day that President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill that created the National Park Service, as a new branch of the Department of the Interior.
Some parks have been around for longer than the Park Service, like Yellowstone, which has been “a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people” since March of 1872. But this year is the centennial of one park in particular that is close to my heart, Acadia National Park, which is located in my hometown of Bar Harbor, Maine. (Just so I don’t get yelled at by everyone back home, it’s actually all over Mount Desert Island, and not just located in Bar Harbor. You’re welcome, towns of Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert, and Tremont. Now shut up, this is my blog.)
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. founded Acadia on July 8th, 1916, setting aside 10,000 acres for this new park. He also financed the carriage roads (or hiking paths) and many of the buildings that still exist today. If you haven’t ever taken the trip, it’s really worth your time. The park is beautiful, the town is picturesque, and the mosquitos are about the size of cats. Not really a perk, that last one, is just something to be aware of come June.
Acadia holds a special place for Alex and myself, not only because I grew up there, but in one month from yesterday (September 24th, 2016) we are going to be married in the park I grew up in. We’re so excited, and everything is coming together quite well. In mid-September, we are going to take a break from touring in order to go home and help prepare for the wedding. We can’t wait to share the park with both our families and our dearest friends as we celebrate our love.
In New York City, we’ve had parks and common areas dating back to 1733 (The Bowling Green), but the Parks Department in its current form was created in 1898. Recently, I was schooled by a NYC Park Ranger on the meaning of the Park Department’s flag when I misidentified the symbol as a maple leaf. If you every walk around the city and see the green flag with the white leaf, know that that leaf is a London Planetree, not a maple. The Park Ranger said that you can always tell a London Planetree because the bark looks just like camouflage. Many cities plant these trees because they thrive in areas with high air pollution, they can survive drought and are also very strong and less likely to fall down and crush a house/car/hipster or whatever.
So, Happy Birthday National Park Service and thank you for making our city and our country so beautiful!