Celebrate NPS Founders Day!
The National Park Service celebrates its birthday on Founders Day, August 25. On This day in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act , which stated that the purpose of the newly formed National Park Service was “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wild life therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
Ninety-six years later, the National Park Service preserves and protects over 84 million acres of land, nearly 400 parks nationwide, including more than 73,000 archeological sites. The preservation of these archeological sites has led to the creation of national monuments, which play an important role in the protection of the resources.
The establishment of national monuments came under the Antiquities Act of 1906 which was created to preserve archeological sites. In 1918 President Wilson named Casa Grande National Monument in Arizona. Originally created as Casa Grande Ruin Reservation in 1892, this one-of-a-kind Great House became the first prehistoric and cultural site to be established in the United States.
Well known for its geological history, Capitol Reef National Monument in Utah was established by President Roosevelt in 1937. Today, it is known as Capitol Reef National Park. This park protects a rich background of American Indian habitation throughout the Colorado Plateau. Dating back 12,000 years the park preserves the earliest record of Paleo-Indians in Utah. Petroglyphs etched in rock walls and painted pictographs tell us stories of the lives of the people who lived here. This August the park will celebrate its 75th birthday. Visit Capitol Reef from August 2nd through the 4th to celebrate with the park and participate in the many activities scheduled, including cultural demonstrations and other special programs.
Established in 1967, Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument is the only national monument in Texas. This site represents one of the most significant prehistoric lithic resources in North America. Tools made from Alibates Flint have been found in many places across the Great Plains and Southwest. The use of this flint dates from as far back as 13,000 years ago to as recently as 1870. Uses ranged from projectile points, scrapers, knives and other stone tools.
Want to be an archeologist for a day? Learn about opportunities to volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to get a taste of what archaeology is like and to talk with people knowledgeable in local history.
Wherever you go, remember to treat archeological sites with care. Alert a park ranger if you see exposed artifacts or sites.