Reflection Lake in the Mt. Rainier National Park

Reflection Lake in Mt. Rainier NP

Last month, I got a really good deal! I purchased a Lifetime Pass to any National Park in our nation. And I only had to invest ten bucks. What a deal!. It’s normally a twenty-five dollar entry fee per car into each individual park. What’s the catch, you ask? You just have to be mature like me. At least age 62.


Sol Duc Falls, Olympia NP

But more importantly, 100 years ago today, August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the National Park Service, a new federal bureau responsible for protecting the then existing 35 national parks and monuments, as well as those yet to be established. On this Centennial Celebration of our national parks in the United States of America, there are now 397 of these unique national treasures, comprised of nearly 52 million acres of land.

While visiting the Olympic and Mt. Rainier National Parks last month near where I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, I was once again overwhelmed by the beauty of our country. I felt fortunate to experience and photograph these wonderful natural places that have been saved for all of us to enjoy. My wife and I’ve visited many of these “crown jewels” that visionaries like President Wilson, President Teddy Roosevelt, John Muir and Stephen T. Mather preserved. These forward-thinking leaders created these places “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” Their consideration for the environment and for future generations have given me and millions more the pleasure of seeing portions of our country as pristine, unchanged and unspoiled as they were long ago. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Hoh Rain Forest, Olympia NP

Hoh Rain Forest, Olympia NP

On this memorable day, I’m challenged to also be a forward-thinking leader. I must examine myself. Am I just thinking about myself? Do I only plan for today or even for just my lifetime? Am I setting up the next generations for blessing and success? Am I investing my life to leave the world around me a better place or am I just a consumer, taking all I can get? Will my grandchildren have more to enjoy or less to enjoy because of my decisions today? On this Centennial day, I invite you to join me with this honest inward look.

QUESTION: What are the intentional ways you are attempting to be a forward-thinker? I’d love hear from you in the comment section below.

For More Naturescapes by Dennis from additional National Parks,


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