National Park Timeline

Yellowstone National Park

National Park Timeline

The history of our National Park system and other federal lands began in 1790 when the District of Columbia was formed. This included what now is part of our park system; the White House, the National Mall, and the National Capital Parks. But it was not until Yellowstone was installed as a National Park on March 1, 1872 that you could truly say that the National Park System was founded. And it was a great founding. The National Park Timeline here will be organized by current park unit, in alphabetical order, and include the dates of formation, and any other changes that may have occurred.

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  • National Park Timeline

  • Dates of Note

    March 1, 1872 - First National Park established with Yellowstone National Park

    June 8, 1906 - Antiquities Act passed

    August 25, 1916 - U.S. Congress authorizes the National Park Service

    August 21, 1935 - Historic Sites Act

    June 23, 1936 - Park, Parkway, and Recreation Area Study Act

    September 3, 1964 - Wilderness Act

    September 31, 1965 - Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965

    October 15, 1966 - National Historic Preservation Act

    October 2, 1968 - National Trails System Act

    October 2, 1968 - Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

    Park Service Codes

    NB = National Battlefield
    NP = National Park
    NBP = National Battlefield Park
    NPres = National Preserve
    NBS = National Battlefield Site
    NR = National River
    NBP = National Historical Park
    NRA = National Recreation Area
    NHS = National Historic Site
    NS = National Seashore
    NL = National Lakeshore
    NSR = National Scenic River
    NM = National Monument
    NST = National Scenic Trail
    NMem = National Memorial
    WSR = Wild and Scenic River
    NMP = National Military Park

    National Park Timeline

    History Photo Bomb

    Zion National Park

    Zion National Park. Courtesy National Park Service.

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