100 years is a pretty long time. In 100 years America has done some really cool things, but arguably the most beautiful thing we’ve done is create our National Park System, and grown it into the massive establishment it is today. The National Parks Service was signed into existence through what is commonly known as the “Organic Act” by President Woodrow Wilson in the year 1916. If you’re interested in what happened between 1916-2016, this would be a good read for you. If you know where this post is going and are currently saying “but the air conditioning feels so good right now,” or, more likely “parks have bugs and heat and are not the beach,” trust me, I’m with you. It’s easy to let the summer heat keep us indoors or by a pool at all times (hold the sunscreen, I’ll take the tanning oil). It’s not every day your country’s National Parks Service turns 100, though, and I’m here to give you some options for how to make the most of this historic year.
- Take your family and friends to Lesko Park, or one of the other nearby city parks. Sure, they’re no National Park, but each local park has it’s own original flavor, and gives you a different perspective on life in and around your city. Grab some ice cream, leash up the dog, and have some quality time with the people closest to you in a city park.
- Versailles State Park is the closest Indiana State Park to our area. With three hiking trails, six mountain biking trails, a lake, campgrounds and a pool, Versailles is like that friend who is talented at everything, but doesn’t brag about it so you’re not jealous of them, you’re really excited for them and you want to spend time with them. The library even has free admission passes available for checkout at each APLD branch. Check our catalog or give us a call to check their availability!
- Take care of your surroundings. Even though you may not visit a single park this summer, you can still contribute to a cleaner environment wherever you are. Pick up after yourself, pick up after others even though it’s not your job, and recycle as much as you can. These healthy practices ensure that we will still have our parks, national or not, for years to come.
- Invite a friend, or make friends as you go. Since this is a historic year for our national parks, parks all over Indiana will be busy with visitors all summer. Need a date idea? Have a picnic at the park! Haven’t seen a friend in a while? Go for a hike and catch up while you do it. Looking for new friends? Look no further than the people who are out enjoying our parks. Think of the NPS’ 100th birthday as a party that you don’t have to organize, you can just attend, bring friends, or make them while you’re there.
- Watch Parks and Recreation. This Emmy Award Nominated show takes place in the Hoosier State, dealing with the ups of down of a small government parks departments. Educate yourself and have a laugh, all while still enjoying our parks (however fictitious).
So what I’m saying is: get yourself out there. Our parks have come a long way in the past 100 years. Who knows, in another hundred years our parks may be a distant memory, or they may function as arenas for the hunger games (it could happen!). The future aside, our parks are beautiful, people work really hard to keep them that way, and we should all take advantage of the amazing state and country we live it. Still not convinced? Check out some cool facts about the Indiana Department of Natural Resources below, and celebrate 100 years of National Parks.