The U.S. National Park Service celebrated its 100th birthday on August 25th with events across the nation, including a giant, human version of it’s emblem in Washington, D.C., a naturalization ceremony on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and an outdoor concert at Yellowstone National Park.
President Barack Obama also teamed up with National Geographic and released a 360-degree virtual reality video at Yosemite National Park.
On Wednesday, Obama also created the Katahdin Woods and Waters monument on 87,000 acres in Maine’s North Woods donated by the founder of Burt’s Bees, Roxanne Quimby. The land, which includes stunning views of the state’s tallest mountain, Katahdin, is cherished by Native Americans, and its history includes visits by naturalist Henry David Thoreau and President Theodore Roosevelt.
The creation of the agency’s 413th property was opposed by state lawmakers and critics fear that it will hinder efforts to rebuild a forest-based economy in the region. Quimby’s son said many parks in the service’s system have been criticized upon creation but “when we look to the future, we see huge amounts of success.”
The park service is offering free admission to all its sites through Sunday. They’re among 16 free days scheduled throughout the centennial year. Some parks are serving birthday cake and offering ranger talks for the occasion.
The park service’s Instagram account has also captured more than 260,000 followers with awe-inspiring shots of the national parks. Here are some of their most memorable photos:
Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
Another view of Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
It's #InternationalDarkSky week! This is the night sky at Owachomo Bridge. What's your favorite park to see the stars? #FindYourPark #NaturalBridgesNationalMonument #cedarmesa #Utah #stars #stargazing #nightsky #nighttime #darkskypark #nofilter #nature #nationalparks #nationalmonuments #Owachomo #travel #latergram #NPS/Jacob W. Frank
Chaco Culture National Historic Park, New Mexico
Protected by an overhang, the beautiful "supernova" pictograph is on the Peñasco Blanco trail just after a crossing of Chaco wash in Chao Culture National Historic Park. There are several celestial events or cultural interpretations that have been suggested to explain this pictograph, but some think it may be a representation of the supernova explosion of 1054, also recorded by Chinese astronomers. #ChacoCultureNHS #NewMexico #nationalhistoricpark #history #pictograph #astronomy #Pueblo #culture #Chacoan
Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Ocmulgee National Monument, Georgia
More than a thousand visitors participated in Lantern Light Tours during the cherry blossom celebration at Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, Georgia #latergram #nightskies #tourism #travel #lights #people #nationalmonument #nationalparks #ExperienceYourAmerica #nature #history #Macon #Georgia #getoutdoors
Just shy of the Arctic Circle lies a land literally frozen in time: Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve Its history and culture live on through those who have come, gone, and still remain. If you #FindYourPark here, you'll retrace the routes of ancient nomadic hunters, dog-team mail carriers, and supply-laden steamboats through one of the great North American geologic faults that bore the 1890s gold rush. Solitude awaits also awaits, as only a handful of hearty souls still call this 160-mile stretch of the Yukon River their year-round home, making it wilder than it was one hundred years ago. See the link in our bio for more information about this month's National Park Getaway #Alaska @AlaskaNPS #NationalParkGetaway #nationalparks #nofilter #solitude #travel ⛺❄?? NPS?/Joshua Spice
Story by the Associated Press and CCTV America.