100 Years of Parks – #NPS100

Yellowstone National Park, the most famous and the first National Park - this photo captures the namesake yellow rock outcroppings and picturesque falls that captivated Thomas Moran and William Henry Jackson in the 1800’s. Left to right: Jana McKenzie, FASLA, Joe McGrane, Ran Ran, Craig Coronato, FASLA, Logan Simpson. image: Craig Coronato, FASLA
Yellowstone National Park, the most famous and the first National Park – this photo captures the namesake yellow rock outcroppings and picturesque falls that captivated Thomas Moran and William Henry Jackson in the 1800’s. Left to right: Jana McKenzie, FASLA, Joe McGrane, Ran Ran, Craig Coronato, FASLA, Logan Simpson.
image: Craig Coronato, FASLA

Happy Birthday, National Parks!

Today, the National Park Service celebrates 100 years since its founding on August 25, 1916. People all across the nation are taking advantage of this birthday year to visit National Park sites to enjoy all that these special places have to offer.

In the photo above are 4 of us landscape architects hamming it up at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, in Yellowstone National Park during a visit in 2014. Craig Coronato, FASLA, and fellow landscape architects were recently invited by the Friends of Yellowstone and the Park Director to look at ways to restore the historic trails and overlooks around the canyon. When asked about the value of this park, Craig states, “Yellowstone has a way of making you feel insignificant, yet overwhelmed to be in it.”

This year, my family and I visited several National Park sites, including Fire Island National Seashore, Governors Island National Monument, and many National Memorials and Sites in Washington, DC. These sites not only offer beautiful views and scenery but also demonstrate the rich history and culture of our nation, offering public places for reflection and remembrance.

The view from the Fire Island Lighthouse of the Fire Island National Seashore and Robert Moses State Park in New York image: Jennifer Nitzky
The view from the Fire Island Lighthouse of the Fire Island National Seashore and Robert Moses State Park in New York
image: Jennifer Nitzky
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in DC (designed by Landscape Architect Lawrence Halprin) really captures the spirit of national parks with a series of outdoor rooms surrounded by sculptural stone, naturalistic plantings, waterfalls and many inspirational quotes - which collectively tell the story of FDR and the country at the time of his presidency. image: Jennifer Nitzky
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in DC (designed by Landscape Architect Lawrence Halprin) really captures the spirit of national parks with a series of outdoor rooms surrounded by sculptural stone, naturalistic plantings, waterfalls, and many inspirational quotes – which collectively tell the story of FDR and the country at the time of his presidency.
image: Jennifer Nitzky
Millions of people visit the Lincoln Memorial every year and enjoy the fountains of the World War II Memorial. image: Jennifer Nitzky
Millions of people visit the Lincoln Memorial every year and enjoy the fountains of the World War II Memorial.
image: Jennifer Nitzky
Living Arrowhead diagram image: Kaitlyn Hay
Living Arrowhead diagram
image: Kaitlyn Hay

Among the many special events happening today and this weekend to celebrate, 1,000 parks fans gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC. With brown, green, and white umbrellas, an impressively massive facsimile of the NPS arrowhead logo was formed, and photographed by a helicopter above.

NPS' Living Arrowhead in formation image: Alexandra Hay
NPS’ Living Arrowhead in formation
image: Alexandra Hay
NPS' Living Arrowhead image: courtesy of the National Park Service
NPS’ Living Arrowhead
image: courtesy of the National Park Service

To celebrate the Centennial, there is free admission to all 412 national parks from August 25 through August 28, the National Park Service is encouraging everyone to #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque for the centennial! Go out and enjoy all that parks have to offer and post your photos on social media to show how YOU value parks.

For more information on events happening across the nation, visit NPS’ Centennial website, and check out Landscape Architecture Magazine (LAM) for a story on ASLA’s role in the National Park Service’s founding.

What do you value about our National Parks? Share your comments with us below!

by Jennifer Nitzky, PLA, ASLA, ISA, Parks and Recreation PPN Chair and ASLA-NY President-elect

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