Science & Tech Editor
In 1864, President Lincoln signed legislation decreeing that the Yosemite National Forest would be reserved in its natural state. In his following, many other reservations were set up to protect America’s greatest places. To protect their legacy, 100 years ago this August, the National Parks Service was founded.
From the shores of Cape Cod to the Redwoods of California, the United States sets aside land to remain in its natural state, not just for conservation, but for recreation. Throughout the summer, the national parks, for the hundredth time, allowed for thousands of nature getaways.
People love to get out of the cities, away from the hustle and bustle of rush-hour traffic, grinding schedules and office spaces. Those participating in outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, camping and fishing enjoy the wonderful locations these parks have to offer.
Influenced by John Muir’s dedication to the Yosemite Valley region, Lincoln enacted the first legal conservation. This beautiful part of California stands as a natural landmark, with awe-inspiring beauty that many prefer to be left undisturbed.
He set a precedent for generations to come. Over the next couple years, many other national reservations came into place, protecting America’s most pristine landscapes. Yellowstone and others were quick to follow, protecting thousands of acres of territory from any future development.
The renowned granite walls of Yosemite attract climbers from around the world, offering picturesque natural beauty that all can admire. The park offers a haven for everyone, as the Yosemite National Park played host to 800,000 guests in the month of July this year.
I was able to get away from my summer job for the week, camp in the Yosemite Valley to celebrate the hundredth anniversary, and experience the history of the beloved land. In between the hammock-filled trees and bouldering pads at “Camp 4”, I met people from all over the country also enjoying their surroundings. This is even the location where slacklining was invented.
The National Park System allows tourists to see the marvels of the natural world. From majestic geysers to crystal clear lakes and waterfalls, these wonders of the country are only a hike away. In addition, the areas provide a dedication to the diverse historic landmarks of the United States. Park rangers and veteran travelers, teach visitors about unique qualities that make the land important enough to be preserved.
Lincoln worked hard making sure people could enjoy the country they live in. He is revered for all his duties. The protection of Yosemite Valley, and the wave of legislation toward conservation efforts as a result of his work, will continue to shape the lives of all those outdoorsy people.
Lincoln’s legacy lives on not only in our changing landscape, but also in the change in your pocket. Being enshrined on the penny, Lincoln embodies the phrase “all for one.” This phrase fits the National Park Service’s centennial because the organization devotes itself to reserving land for all people may enjoy. If you look closely on the ground in Yosemite, you will find the trail of one hundred pennies I left in my wake on my hiking trip this past August.