May 17th, 2016 marks the beginning of a 100-day countdown to the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. During each day of the countdown we will do our best to cover a couple of highlights of National Park History from that year.
1916 was a very important year for the National Park Service. It was the year that on August 25th Congress officially established the National Park Service with the passage of the Organic Act of 1916.
Horace Albright, who would become the first Assistant Director of the National Park Service sent Stephen Mather, the man who would become the first Director of the NPS, the following telegram on August 26th, 1916:
"Park Service bill signed nine o'clock last night. Have pen President used in signing for you. Appear before members Senate Subcommittee on deficiency bill today. Also Chairman Fitzgerald of House Subcommittee. Wire instructions regarding matters you wish me handle before leaving. Horace."
The secretary of the President sent the following letter:
My dear Mr. Mather,
Knowing your interest in the National Park Service, I take pleasure in sending you herewith the pen with which the President to-day, approved H.R. 15522, An Act to establish a National Park Service, and for other purposes.
Secretary to the President
You might say that they decided to kick things off with bang. Haleakala, Hawai’I Volcanoes and Lassen Volcanic National Parks were all created in 1916 and they were all known for having volcanoes. Lassen Peak is the largest plug dome volcano in the entire world and was busy erupting from 1915-1921.
‘Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the tracts of land on t he island of Hawaii and on the island of Maui, in the Territory of Hawaii, hereinafter described, shall be perpetually dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasure ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of the United States, to be known as Hawaii National Park. Said tracts of land are described as follows.’
You can additionally read more about the creation of Lassen Volcanic National Park: