Thursday, October 1, 2009

The National Park Service

The other day I was watching a show about the origins of the National Park System.  The National Park Service was created in 1916 by an act of Congress.

It's first leader was Stephen Tyng Mather who played an instramental role in its creation.  One of the big controversies to arise was if there should be roads built in them or not. Proponents of roads eventually won out and roads were built in nearly, if not all, national parks.

What I found interesting was that Mr. Mather, upon being shown by an engineer how they would build a road with 12 switchbacks to a particular scenic summit promptly enlisted the help of a landscape architect to build the road in a scenic way that did not detract from the view. Thus many of the roads in the National Parks are built along the most scenic areas in the park allowing visitors to frame the view with thier windshield.


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