Earth Day 2016
As we pause on Earth Day to reflect on our stewardship of this planet, we must remember the importance of land conservation and ensuring access to natural, historic and cultural sites. August 25, 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The 394 units of the National Park System are some of our Nation's most treasured sites. Each year, millions of Americans visit National Parks to discover and appreciate our country's history and culture. Pennsylvania is proudly home to 19 National Parks, 7 National Heritage Areas, 27 National Natural Landmarks, 167 National Historic Landmarks, 3,356 National Register of Historic Places listings and one World Heritage Site. These sites are economic drivers for communities, contributing $649.7 million in economic output in the Pennsylvania economy in 2015, according to the National Park Service, and providing recreational and educational opportunities throughout the Commonwealth.
National Parks allow us to celebrate the history of Pennsylvania as a leader in industrial development at Steamtown National Historic Site or Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, the birthplace of America and the site of key battles in the Revolutionary War and Civil War that shaped our country’s future. These sites pay tribute to the lives lost in the Johnstown Flood of 1889 or the brave men and women of Flight 93. National Parks protect the rivers and trails of Pennsylvania, remind us of the sacrifices that built our country and honor those who came before us. We must ensure that these and other National Parks, Historic Sites, Trails or Recreations Areas throughout the Commonwealth and country can continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.