National Park Service Organic Act

National Park Service Organic Act

National Park Service Organic Act

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Description:
The National Park Service Organic Act (or simply "the Organic Act" within the National Park Service, conservationists, etc.) is a United States federal law that established the National Park Service (NPS), an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The Act was signed into law on August 25, 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson, and is located in Title 16 of the United States Code.

The act was sponsored by Rep. William Kent (I) of California and Sen. Reed Smoot (R) of Utah. First NPS Director Stephen Mather was put in charge of supervising and maintaining all designated national parks, battlefields, historic places, and monuments.

Background

National parks began to be designated in the second half of the 19th century, and national monument in the early part of the 20th century. Each park or monument was managed individually or, alternately in some cases, by the United States Army, each with varying degrees of success. Beginning in 1911, Senator Read Smoot of Utah and Representative John E. Raker of California had submitted bills to establish the National Park Service to oversee the management of all these holdings. The bills were opposed by the director of the U.S. Forest Service, Gifford Pinchot, and his supporters. The Forest Service believed that a National Park Service would be a threat to continued Forest Service control of public lands that had been set aside for the timber trade. Beginning in 1910 the American Civic Association with the...
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