If there's one thing rapid industrialization has taught us, it's that we cannot sacrifice our natural environments in favor of temporary wealth. Are all houses and bubble gum factories worth the loss of farmland and wilderness? Not likely. So to keep the entire world's natural growth is bulldozed to make shopping malls and subdivisions, groups like the United States National Park Service have devoted themselves to preserving their wilderness areas. Here's more about what the parks service does so you can compare it with the situation in Central Asia when you go.

The National Park Service was founded in 1916 to manage all of the federal lands and monuments that were at that time managed by the Department of the Interior. A publicity campaign praising the beauty and educational value of the nine major parks was what generated interest in everyone from campers to teachers and prompted the signing of the bill. Stephen Mather, the businessman behind the campaign, became the Park Service's first head.

In the beginning, America's national parks were wild places preserved as-is for people to enjoy at their own risk. However, after World War II, people expected more services, amenities, and safety, so facilities were overhauled to include more washrooms, electricity, and access roads that could be managed by a family car. More parks were also added during this time as a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Park Service. Since then, lake shores, recreation areas, and heritage areas have been included under the Park Service umbrella.

If you would like to leave your job to vacation in a US national park, you should know that the park system encompasses over 84 million acres of land, which includes national forests, campgrounds, picnic parks, hiking trails, ski hills, lakes, rivers, golf courses, and RV parks as well as national monuments such as the Benjamin Franklin Memorial, all of which are overseen by park rangers and administrators, whose job it is to preserve wilderness, educate people, enforce rules, and assist those in need.

Maintaining parks is a massive undertaking which is funded in part by park entrance fees, which vary from park to park. Additional fees may be charged for camping, fishing, and backcountry hiking permits, so be sure to find out what you need before you bring in your group for a hike. If you want to camp in a National Park, especially a popular one like Yosemite or Yellowstone, you should always phone ahead for a reservation. If you would like to get involved, the Park Service also holds many programs for adults and youth on topics such as conservation and wilderness safety.

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