August 25th, 2017… It has been 101 years since the National Park Service was established in the United States. The National Parks are now taken for granted as places we have available to us. It hasn’t always been that way. For the better part of human history the ownership of land meant wealthy and power. The idea that we as a country would set aside our most iconic places for the enjoyment of all people and the preservation of the land and wildlife in that area was revolutionary. It would have been very easy for that generation to have sold off the rights to these national treasures and let those who owned the land put a price tag on them. I’m not a fan of big government, but this is one government program I can get behind.
This image is of the stunning 318′ high Vernal Falls located near the eastern edge of the Yosemite Valley. Yosemite was California’s first State park to then become the world’s second National Park. Even in those early days after receiving its park status this iconic land’s future was uncertain. There were many interests in the California legislature that wanted to turn the Yosemite Valley into a reservoir to provide drinking water to the booming town of San Fransisco. The National Parks Service took over and made sure that this place would be protected and remain in its natural state. Some would argue that the Park Service made the parks too accessible and that they are no longer in their natural state, but I would hate to see what the alternative might have been.