National Park Service celebrates 100 years

If you’ve ever visited one of America’s national parks, you know why writer Wallace Stegner called them “the best idea we ever had.”

From the granite majesty of Yosemite and the geysers of Yellowstone, to the rugged coast of Acadia and the Fire Island National Seashore, our national park system is cherished by Americans. Nothing outraged people more during the 2013 federal shutdown than the closure of the national parks. Last year, the parks received a record 307 million visits.

On Thursday, the National Park Service turns 100. Join the celebration. Visit a park. Then confront reality: This magnificent system is facing threats that could affect whether our children’s children can enjoy them.