From The Past
internal document, February 1925.
"The primary duty of the National Park Service is to
protect the national parks and national monuments under
its jurisdiction and keep them as nearly in their natural
state as this can be done in view of the fact that access
to them must be provided in order that they may be used
and enjoyed. All other activities of the bureau must
be secondary (but not incidental) to this fundamental
function relating to care and protection of all areas
subject to its control."
T. Mather, NPS Director, 1917-1929:
"The parks do not belong to one state or to one section....
The Yosemite, the Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon are
national properties in which every citizen has a vested
interest; they belong as much to the man of Massachusetts,
of Michigan, of Florida, as they do to the people of
California, of Wyoming, and of Arizona."
T. Mather, NPS Director, 1917-1929:
"Who will gainsay that the parks contain the highest
potentialities of national pride, national contentment,
and national health? A visit inspires love of country;
begets contentment; engenders pride of possession; contains
the antidote for national restlessness.... He is a better
citizen with a keener appreciation of the privilege
of living here who has toured the national parks."
"Roughing It" 1866
"The crater of Vesuvius, as I have remarked is a modest
pit about a thousand feet deep and three thousand in
circumference. That of Kileuea is somewhat deeper and
ten miles in circumference. But what are either of them
compared to the vacant stomach of HaleakalaS It was
the sublimest spectacle I ever witnessed, and I think
the memory of it will remain with me always."
American Playwright, describing Glacier National
"There is no voice in all of the world so insistent
to me as the wordless call of these mountains. I shall
go back. Those who go once always hope to go back. The
lure of the great free spaces is in their blood."
Harry S Truman
about Everglades National Park
"Here is land, tranquil in its quiet beauty .... To
its natural abundance we owe the spectacular plant and
animal life that distinguishes this place from all others
in our country."
1912, British Ambassador to the USA
" I heard the other day that a question has been
raised as to whether automobiles should be admitted
in Yosemite ValleySThere are plenty of roads everywhere
for lovers of speed and noise, without intruding on
these few placers where the wood nymphs and the water
nymphs ought to be allowed to remain in untroubled seclusion,
and their true worshippers to have the landscape to
journalist, artist, First American call for a National
"What a beautiful and thrilling specimen for America
to preserve and hold up to the view of her refined citizens
and the world in future ages! A Nations¹ Park, containing
man and beast, in all the wild and freshness of their
Appalachian Mountain Club, 1911
"If more Americans could be induced to visit these scenic
treasure houses the public will come to appreciate their
value and stand firmly in their defense."
"One may lack words to express the impact of beauty,
but no one who has felt it remains untouched. It is
renewal, enlargement, intensification. The parks preserve
it permanently in the inheritance of the American citizen."
in The Outlook, February 3, 1912
"The establishment of the National Park Service is justified
by considerations of good administration, of the value
of natural beauty as a National asset, and of the effectiveness
of outdoor life and recreation in the production of
president, American Civic Assn., 1916:
"The parks are the Nation's pleasure grounds and the
Nation's restoring places.... The national parks...are
an American idea; it is one thing we have that has not