Today is a big day among my fellow outdoor enthusiasts and conservation buffs, as it marks the 100th anniversary the National Park Service. America was the first country in the world to create a national park, and now national parks range from Canada to Africa and everywhere in between.
It goes without saying that the landscapes contained within our national park system are some of the most stunning and awe-inspiring places in the country, if not the world. Anyone who has stood in these jaw-dropping landscapes knows just how hard it is to convey in words their beauty and majesty.
So today, in honor of the lasting impression these parks have made upon the world, I want to share some famous quotes that, in some small way, do justice to the majesty of our park system.
“There is nothing so American as our national parks…. The fundamental idea behind the parks…is that the country belongs to the people.”
— President Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”
— John Muir
“The parks are the Nation’s pleasure grounds and the Nation’s restoring places…. The national parks…are an American idea; it is one thing we have that has not been imported.”
— J. Horace McFarland, president, American Civic Assn., 1916
“The snow is melting into music.”
— John Muir
“If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.”
— Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States
“There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value.”
— Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States
“National parks and reserves are an integral aspect of intelligent use of natural resources. It is the course of wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural resources as national parks and reserves, thus ensuring that future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we know it today.”
— John F. Kennedy, President of the United States
“What a country chooses to save is what a country chooses to say about itself.”
– Mollie Beattie, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
“There is more to America than raw industrial might…There is the part of America which was here long before we arrived, and will be here, if we preserve it, long after we depart. The forests and the flowers, the open prairies, the slopes of the hills, the tall mountains—the granite, the limestone, the caliche, the unmarked trails, the winding little streams—well, this is the America that no amount of science or skill can ever recreate or actually ever duplicate.
— Lyndon Baines Johnson, President of the United States