Recently, I have been watching the Ken Burns National Park series on dvd. It is very interesting how the National Park Service (NPS) got started and why. It was not started by a president or even congress. It was started because a few concerned citizens say ok we have parks now what. Those people put in there own time and there own money to make it happen. If you think about it the NPS started off as a gross roots effort with no funding, no backing and everyone laughing in there face.
In the early days of the parks there was a lack of people visiting them. That is when the decided to modify the parks for this new thing called the motor car, rather then just being for those who walk, ride horses, and wagons. The visitors to the parks increases. To further spread the word the park service copied an idea from the trains, a advertising campaign that told Americans to visit the wonders of our country first. The tag line was “See America First”. At the time many Americans were going over sees, and the idea was to let them know we had many wonders of our own.
Today there are over 300 million people who visit the parks every year. The problem now is with that many people comes abuse of the parks. I would like to encourage you all now when you are in the parks or for that matter any natural area respect as you would your home. Don't cover it in trash, don't disturb the neighbors, respect those that live there (plants and animals) and do what you can to make it better.
One time as a kid while on a family vacation I saw a sign in park that has stuck with me. The sign simply read:
Take only pictures
Leave only foot prints
and kill only time
Please forgive me if I told the story a bit out of order or context, I wrote it from memory more concerned that you got the jest of it. If you want to know more I encourage to you to watch the Ken Burns National Park series, as well as do other research of your own.