On August 25, 2016, our nation will celebrate an incredible milestone - the 100th year anniversary of the founding of the national parks. Called by some the "best idea we ever had," the centennial, which is officially being commemorated by the National Park Service, will officially launch the next 100 years of park stewardship through a whole host of events, including recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs.
In the 1860s, Mormon pioneers settled in what is now known as Zion National Park in southern Utah. When they arrived they thought it to be so beautiful, holy with its towering natural cathedrals made of rock, that they called it Zion, a nod to Little Zion found in scripture in the Bible's Old Testament.
In America's West, vast national forests are owned by and open to the public. By comparison, in many parts of the Northeast, the closest many folks get to wilderness is the median strip of Interstate 95. As a result, Northeast residents like myself fiercely protect our ability to use and enjoy the forests, lakes, and coastlines to which access still exists.