National Parks Celebrate 89 Years

This week National Parks across America are celebrating their 89th birthday. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the "organic act" which historians say was one of the proudest moments of his presidency.

He and Theodore Roosevelt both had a vision to preserve and protect our nation's most beautiful places, leaving them unimpaired for future generations to enjoy.

Faye Walmsley of the National Park Service says, "we visited a lot of historical spots when I was a kid and it kind of rubbed off on me."

Park Educator Faye Walmsley grew up with a love for National Parks, saying she recognized them early on as treasures for a great nation.

"National parks were set aside because people thought they needed to be set aside, some western historian said this was America's best idea."

There are six National Parks in Mississippi, and 388 in the entire country. Together they preserve millions of acres of pristine land.

"It preserves and protects what America is all about what we represent as Americans our heritage, our natural beauty, our wide open spaces."

George and Susan Dyer are among the 350,000 visitors who come to the Gulf Islands National Seashore in Ocean Springs each year the Dallas couple wanted to see what many Mississippians may take for granted.

The Gulf Islands National seashore is a unique park, it includes almost 500 acres of green space that teems with wildlife and four of the barrier Islands that are called the "Jewels in the Crown of Mississippi."

Walmsley says the "solitude, wilderness, unspoiled beaches, sun, sand, and surf, the tranquility, the quiet a place to relax and get away from it all."

This nature lover hopes more Americans take advantage of this free education. She says many travel thousands of miles just to see what we have in our own backyards.

"National parks are an example, other countries to us for advice, for guidance on how to run their national parks and set aside open spaces in their country as well cause they realize it's a good idea."