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National Park Service — March 18, 1916

Published: February 18, 2016

In the Post of March 18, 1916, the Post compared the success of Canada’s national park system to the relative failure of America’s parks, adding a note of patriotism to the arguments in support of the creation of the U.S. National Park Service. The author contended that it wasn’t a question of quality, but of management.

National Park Service

March 18, 1916

Glacier Park

Glacier Park at Sun Rise, c. 1916 (Photo by Jacob Neitzling, via Library of Congress)

We are told on what we believe to be good authority that there were more visitors to the national parks of Canada in 1915 than to those of the United States. The reason is very simple. It is not at all that Canada’s national parks are superior to ours in natural attractions. It certainly is not that there was more travel to the western part of Canada last year than to our Pacific Coast. It is just because Canada manages her parks intelligently, and we do not. The Canadian parks are managed as a whole, by one bureau, which not only studies their needs as a unit but takes good care that information about them is put in the way of Canadian people.

Each of our 14 splendid national parks is managed separately, appropriated for separately. There is no single person or body to supervise all of them. Naturally they get developed, so far as they are developed at all, in a haphazard, spasmodic manner.

Four years ago President Taft said, in a message to Congress recommending unified park management, that only in the single case of the Yellowstone “have we made anything like adequate preparation for the use of a park by the public.” That observation is still true. Probably it will remain true until all the parks are put under one management — which virtually means that the magnificent scenery of the other parks will be mostly locked away and kept under cover. Properly developed and exploited, the parks should presently yield enough revenue to pay for their own upkeep.

A bill for unified park management is before the present Congress. There is no question that it ought to pass.

Read more about how the Post showed continued support for the National Park Service through George Lorimer’s editorials in “The Post and the Parks.”

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