UW Combined Fund Drive

July 26, 2023

The National Park Service turns 107

To celebrate the National Park Service’s 107th birthday on August 25, national parks across the country will be hosting in-park programs and virtual experiences.

The National Park Service (NPS) was created by an act signed by President Woodrow Wilson on August 25, 1916, to preserve and protect the natural and cultural resources of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.

Yellowstone National Park was established by an act signed by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, as the nation’s first national park. View the National Park System timeline.

“National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” –¬†Wallace Stegner

Employing about 20,000 permanent staff and with nearly 300,000 volunteers, the system includes 423 areas covering more than 85 million acres in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

These areas include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House.

The U.S. could be getting a new National Park: Ocmulgee Mounds

In 2022, total recreational visitors to the national parks totaled nearly 312 million people, with the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina being the most visited park. See the top 25 most visited national parks.

Get involved

  • You can check the NPS calendar of events to find in-person and virtual programs hosted by national parks.
  • More fun is on the NPS our social media channels¬†all month!
  • Find your virtual park: Stay connected with national parks across the country from anywhere in the world with online resources and virtual experiences.
  • Games and challenges: Test your knowledge or learn something new about national parks with games and challenges for all ages.
  • Join the conversation and share your pictures on social media using #FindYourPark¬†or¬†#EncuentraTuParque.
  • Calling the next generation of stewards: Discover opportunities for youth ages 35 and under to get involved in caring for our national parks.
  • Volunteer: Help care for your national parks by volunteering during a one-time event or on a recurring basis.

Learn more

  • Great American Outdoors Act: Passed last August, this landmark legislation will provide needed maintenance for critical facilities and infrastructure.
  • Coraz√≥n Latino: A national non-profit organization that seeks to generate social, environmental, and conservation initiatives that foster natural resource stewardship. They focus on engaging underrepresented communities through innovative, culturally relevant, and linguistically appropriate tools and programs.
  • Disabled & Outdoors:¬†Started in 2018 as an Instagram page for members of the Disability community to share their experiences, challenges, and successes while spending time in the outdoors, Disabled & Outdoors has¬†grown to more than 6,000 followers. They currently work¬†to make the outdoors more accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities.
  • Rangering in the Tenth Decade: Betty Soskin is a National Park Service ranger at Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California. She is the country‚Äôs oldest full-time national park ranger.

Did you know? Just in Denali National Park, Yosemite, and Grant Teton National Park, park visitors have been linked to generating as much as 100 million pounds of trash.


Consider making a one-time gift or setting up monthly payroll deduction through the UWCFD to one of our member organizations actively working to transform our communities through meaningful connections to our natural spaces:

  • Help protect Mt. Rainier, the North Cascades and Olympic National Park at Washington‚Äôs National Park Fund (charity code 0340920)¬†
  • Ensure there‚Äôs a park within a 10-minute walk of every resident with¬†The Trust for Public Land (charity code 0315042)¬†
  • Protect and restore your state parks with the¬†Washington State Parks Foundation (charity code 0315070)¬†
  • Join¬†Conservation Northwest in connecting habitat, protecting wildlands, and restoring wildlife¬†(charity code 0320835)¬†
  • Create a connected system of safe and accessible green spaces with¬†Seattle Parks Foundation (charity code 0315031) ¬†
  • Outdoors For All (charity code 0320849) enriches the lives of individuals with disabilities and families and helps them to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.¬†