This week, America celebrates the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, happy for any excuse to explore one of the country’s 411 gorgeous national parks and monuments. As we celebrate, we can’t help but reminisce on the National Park Service’s origins. Bay Area residents can take pride in the extensive role their community played in making the NPS’s establishment possible in the first place.
Perhaps the most influential Bay Area resident to contribute to the service was Stephen T. Mather, the very first director of the National Park Service. A native to San Francisco and a graduate of UC Berkeley, Mather was a wealthy marketing guru. By 1915, the country had 35 national parks and monuments, without any universal administration and with very little funding. The parks were sorely neglected and unappealing to the public. Mather wrote to Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, to complain about the park conditions. Lane, another key player in the National Park Service’s creation, was also a UC Berkeley graduate who had spent years reporting for the San Francisco Chronicle and even served as San Francisco’s city attorney for two terms. Lane, knowing Mather as a dynamic, powerful personality, decided to put him in charge of making improvements happen.
Mather decided he needed to get the public to care about the parks in order get funding from Congress. He gathered all the park superintendents together at the UC Berkeley Sigma Chi house to hold the famous conference that led to the formation of the National Park Service. Mather continued to serve the NPS until he fell ill in 1929, a year before he died.
After Mather fell ill, his assistant, Horace Albright, took over as director of the NPS. Albright was also a UC Berkeley graduate. Several other Berkeley affiliates played a key role in the early NPS, like Professor Adolph Miller, Professor William Colby, Professor Joseph N. Le Conte, and his father Joseph Le Conte. Beyond Berkeley, San Francisco architect Mark Daniels designed the first NPS uniform and helped run the parks as well. Representative William Kent of Marin County was one of the two sponsors of the legislation that created the National Park Service, and he also gave the government the redwood forest that would later become Muir Woods.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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