National Park Service Celebrates 100th Birthday with Find Your Park

Backpackers.com — The National Park Service (NPS) was signed into being on August 25, 1916, by President Woodrow Wilson with the “Organic Act.” This coming August will be the 100th anniversary of the historic and monumental decree, and the NPS is stoked. By stoked we mean beyond excited to the point of creating an entire campaign that celebrates the history of its existence, the National Parks it represents, and the stories of Americans who have contributed to the parks.

national park service find your park

The campaign is called Find Your Park. The NPS says of the project:

“…[W]e are launching a movement to spread the word about the amazing places we manage, the inspirational stories that the national parks tell, our country’s natural resources, and our diverse cultural heritage.”

It is, in short, a shout out to every person who loves nature. The NPS wants you (in that classic finger-pointing war-poster way) to talk about why you love the National Parks. It has teamed up with companies, government agencies, celebrities, and pretty much everyone to celebrate with a massive collection of stories and videos. Joseph Gordon Levitt explains his organization HitRecord’s involvement, and why the project is important, in the video below. (It’s also a great summary of Find Your Park, so watch if you’re curious or confused.)

Find, Share, and Support Your Park

There are already countless videos, tweets, grams, and articles that support the Find Your Park movement. But the NPS really hopes you get involved. It has structured the campaign around three action items.

Find Your Park: This one is pretty obvious. Go to the website, enter your location, and the NPS populates great hikes, wilderness areas, and general ideas for nature exploration in a National Park or monument near you. There are virtual tours of certain well-loved places for those far away, too.

Share Your Park: This is the specific place to share your National Park stories. Social media seems to be the most popular method, and using the hashtag #FindYourPark will mark your post as one of the growing movement. You can also upload “a song, a photo, a painting, a poem, a dance, a video – anything you want” to the Find Your Park page, and it will be added to the growing number of supporters.

There’s also the Press Play Contest, in which NPS has teamed up with Mashable and Playlist Live to award five excellent videos, which will be “showcased at Playlist Live Orlando and profiled on Mashable.com!” The winners will receive a host of awesome camping gear, too, so if you’ve got a story and a way with cameras, check it out.

You can also join Joseph Gordon Levitt’s company HitRecord and create collaborative projects on National Parks, as the video above describes.

Support Your Park: Consider supporting through direct donations, volunteer services, or working with the local chapters of different National Parks. The NPS and the National Park Foundation (the nonprofit partner that helps to run the National Parks) have been tasked with the maintenance of our parks, and growing the culture and sustainability of one of America’s greatest treasures. Support really consists of anything you do that makes the parks loved and well-cared for, so getting involved with this campaign in the first place is a start.

Find Your Park: Mammoth Cave National Park

There are many stories submitted through the Find Your Park system, but this video of Park Ranger Cole Goodman highlights some of the best and most touching aspects of National Parks. Watch below.

The NPS is celebrating for good reason. In 100 years we have seen the preservation of millions of acres of land, which we all enjoy today. Join the cause, and celebrate nature.

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Daniel Zweier

Daniel Zweier is Editor-in-Chief of Backpackers.com. Beyond orchestrating the daily flow of Backpackers.com, Daniel writes surrealistic short fiction and novels, adventures into the backcountry and abroad, surfs, reads, drinks tea, and obsesses over gear. A lot of gear. Visit his website if you want to learn more about his authorial pursuits.