One Hundred Years of Enjoyment and Enlightenment in America’s National Parks

by Ashley Thornton As a kid, you could always find my friends and me outside, specifically in what we called the “Shady Club” (catchy, I know). Encapsulated by a dense canopy of various leaves, our secret hideout euphorically transported us to another world. The falling sunlight always battled to seep through the cracks in the foliage, only to diffuse into a soft green glow surrounding our dancing minds, keeping troubles out and contentment in. Fast forward twelve years, and those trees are nowhere to be found; they’ve been mowed down to make room for a new driveway. Now picture this on a grand scale. Our home, this earth, has manifested these wonders of land and wildlife. And this August will signify exactly 100 years since the National Park Service first sought to protect these American treasures. The National Park Service’s fulfillment of its mission, as so eloquently stated by the slogan, “Parks for All, Forever,” is currently being threatened by severe lack of funding. “Why should I care about this?” you may ask. Simple. Part of the wonder of the National Park Service lies within its knack for uniting both ecosystem and our human society, a connection to the human traits that create the best version of ourselves. For example, Jennifer Weeks tells us in her journal excerpt “The National Parks: Are they Getting Too Large to Maintain?” that...

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