National Park Service celebrates 100 years of preservation, adve - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

National Park Service celebrates 100 years of preservation, adventure

Lake McDonald Lodge / Glacier National Park, MT (Source: Kelsey Jacobson / WMC Action News 5) Lake McDonald Lodge / Glacier National Park, MT (Source: Kelsey Jacobson / WMC Action News 5)
Bowman Lake / Glacier National Park, MT (Source: Kelsey Jacobson / WMC Action News 5) Bowman Lake / Glacier National Park, MT (Source: Kelsey Jacobson / WMC Action News 5)
Joshua Tree National Park (Source: National Park Service) Joshua Tree National Park (Source: National Park Service)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

One hundred years! It's a birthday worth celebrating. The Organic Act was signed into law by Woodrow Wilson in an effort to preserve the country's most incredible scenery and the wildlife that calls it home. Thus, on August 25, 1916, the National Park Service was born.

There is a reason more than 305 million people visited America's national parks last year. And if you have yet to experience the wonder and awe that is our national park system, it is highly recommended that you add it to your bucket list.

SLIDESHOW: America's 20 most visited National Parks

The way our national parks are evolving is about much more than the landscape and history. National Park Service's Centennial Celebration is all about looking to the future and making sure the parks flourish over the next 100 years and beyond. 

NPS began planning its centennial 16 years ago when President George W. Bush shared his vision for improving the park system.

“I call on all Americans to help in these efforts and to enhance our parks as we get ready for the National Park Services’ centennial celebration," President Bush said in 2000.

National Parks are no longer just for those who love the great outdoors. Gamers are finding rare Pokemons on the backcountry trails of the Smoky Mountains. Beer aficionados can even enjoy a cold one brewed from thermal spring water at Hot Springs National Park. And that's not all. There are countless more mysteries to be uncovered and experiences to be had.

VOTE: What is your favorite National Park?

The number of people visiting our national parks increased by about 20 million people since President Bush's declaration 16 years ago. 

With all of that being said, there is still plenty of space in our national park system for those of you looking to unplug and reconnect with the land similar to the way John Muir did it more than 100 years ago.

The centennial celebration raised awareness to the National Park Service in a way that few could have imagined when the effort started. With a power play on social media, the promise of a year-long birthday party reached millions more with the #findyourpark initiative

A movie produced for IMAX theaters in honor of National Park Service's centennial also showcases our country's natural wonders.

National Parks Adventure: Where it's playing near you

The time to get out and experience all that our national parks have to offer is now. NPS will offer free admission to all 412 parks in the national park system from August 25 to August 28.

Of course, we hope National Park Service will see its bicentennial, or better yet, its tricentennial, giving all of us -- and generations to come -- plenty of time to experience our parks the way President Wilson did the day he decided to formally preserve them.

America's most visited National Parks in 2015

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park | 10,712,674 visitors
  2. Grand Canyon National Park | 5,520,736 visitors
  3. Rocky Mountain National Park | 4,155,916 visitors
  4. Yosemite National Park | 4,150,217 visitors
  5. Yellowstone National Park | 4,097,710 visitors
  6. Zion National Park | 3,648,846 visitors
  7. Olympic National Park | 3,263,761 visitors
  8. Grand Teton National Park | 3,149,921 visitors
  9. Arcadia National Park | 2,811,184 visitors
  10. Glacier National Park |  2,366,056 visitors

FULL LIST: National parks ranked by number of visitors in 2015

Related items

National Park Service celebrates century of preserving national treasures

SLIDESHOW: 16 new National Parks stamps

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

VOTE: What is your favorite National Park?
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
Yosemite National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Zion National Park
Olympic National Park
Grand Teton National Park
Arcadia National Park
Glacier National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Joshua Tree National Park
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Hot Springs National Park
Arches National Park
Shenandoah National Park
Mount Rainier National Park
Haleakala National Park
Death Valley National Park
Sequoia National Park
Everglades National Park
Badlands National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Petrified Forest National Park
Saguaro National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Crater Lake National Park
Wind Cave National Park
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park
Denali National Park
Glacier Bay National Park
Meda Verde National Park
Redwood National Park
Biscayne National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Virgin Islands National Park
Big Bend National Park
Channel Islands National Park
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Kenai Fjords National Park
Voyageurs National Park
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Pinnacles National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Great Basin National Park
Congaree National Park
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park
Katmai National Park
North Cascades National Park
Isle Royale National Park
Lake Clark National Park
National Park of American Samoa
Gates of the Arctic National Park
Poll Maker
Powered by Frankly