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The History of the National Park Service

The National Park Service, or NPS, was established in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson. It was created to consolidate the management of America’s federal parklands under one agency. Before the NPS existed, national parks and monuments were independently managed, which sometimes led to complications. The NPS was charged with conserving the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife within the parks for current and future enjoyment. The first head of the NPS was American industrialist Stephen Mather. The fledgling agency was successful in its mandate and is still going strong. Today, the NPS oversees over 400 parks and monuments that cover more than 84 million acres!

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