The National Park Service (NPS) is the conservation agency recognized around the world for its efforts to preserve areas of beauty within America. This I.S seeks to answer the question of how and why the NPS developed? There are several factors to consider. To begin at the end of the nineteenth century the first National Park efforts at both Yellowstone and Yosemite mark the beginning of a larger conservation movement within America. Both of these parks serve as models for how conservationists and the government will move forward in creating more parks and conservation agencies. They also came out of white Americans moving West and notions of the “frontier” closing in 1890. Additionally, the creation of the first two parks removed Native Americans from their homes and established a trend of marginalizing Native Nations during and after NPS creation. By the start of the start the twentieth century, Theodore Roosevelt entered into the office of President and prioritized conservation as a national goal. His administration laid much of the groundwork for the NPS through three conservation entities—the first wildlife refuges, the United States Forest Service, and the 1906 Antiquities Act—all served as precursors to NPA. The NPS creation in 1916 arose out of a need for more organization in the Department of the Interior. This entire project fills in the significance of Native Americans in the conservation movement and identifies specific actors and precursors to the NPS instead of generalizing the NPS as an outcome of the conservation movement.


Walters, Jordan




National Parks, Conservation, Theodore Roosevelt, Antiquities Act, Wildlife Refuges, Forest Service

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



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