In 1872, the United States Congress established Yellowstone National Park as a “public park...for the benefit and enjoyment of the people” and placed it under the purview of the Secretary of the Interior. Yellowstone was the first of many national parks, historic sites, and monuments to be set aside for public use by the United States government. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service to manage these federal lands. The enabling legislation of the National Park Service (H. R. 15522, often referred to as the Organic Act) defines its primary functions to “promote and regulate the use of Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations … [and] conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
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