What to Know
Founded in 1916
9 National Parks in California (plus numerous NPS monuments and sites)
Ever had to buy the party supplies ahead of a good friend's birthday celebration?
You likely remember counting out the heads, for all the paper party hats you needed to purchase, and figuring out how large the space is, for the other decorations, from the paper streamers to the glittery signs.
Thank goodness, though, we are not required to buy a paper party hat for every tree located in a national park, nor a glittery "happy birthday" banner to display across every cliff and waterfall.
For A) that would be super-duper expensive and B) every tree and cliff and waterfall located in our national parks is perfect in their totally natural and un-party-hatted states.
It is, however, the 102nd anniversary of the National Park Service, which started on Aug. 25, 1916, thanks to a bill signed by President Woodrow Wilson (and a lot of tireless work on behalf of the idea's early nature-protecting champions, people like conservationist Stephen Mather, who would become the National Park Service's first director).
Many dreamers and doers, one ultimate goal: The National Park Service Act.
The state with the most national parks? Hi, if you're reading this while in California, then you're sitting in that very state.
There are nine national parks in the Golden State, and numerous other NPS historical and recreational sites, making this a wonderland of leafy, mountainous, historical, and cultural amazing-o-sity.
Aug. 25, 2018, let us note, is not a free day at the national parks, though, of course, visiting one, jumping into a ranger talk, or simply finding your own trail and hike is always encouraged, on any day of the year.
Nature is good to be in, end of story. Who would quibble with such a notion? Answer: no one.
There are free-to-visit parks, and pay-at-the-gate parks, and all will see enthusiastic visitors on the service's birthday.
But if you do want to hang on for a free day at the national parks, you don't have to hang on for long: The next one is up on Saturday, Sept. 22, in honor of National Public Lands Day. And there is one more 2018 free day to go beyond that, on Nov. 11, a tribute to veterans.