Did you know that the National Park Service will be 103 years old this year? On August 25, the NPS will celebrate the 103rd anniversary of the 1916 National Park Service Act. The Act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson and officially established the National Park Service as part of the Department of the Interior. According to the NPS website, this new service was put in charge of the 35 national parks and monuments that already existed.

In celebration of the anniversary, fees for entries to the parks are waived. For a list of parks that normally charge fees, as well as a listing of the five days each year that entrance to the parks is free, visit https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/fee-free-parks.htm

The NPS website is loaded with information about each national park. Visitors can search for parks by state, plan a visit to a park, find park maps, and much more. The NPS also hosts the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Database, which is a great resource for locating Civil War ancestors.

Monroe County has its own National Park – The River Raisin National Battlefield Park that commemorates its part of the War of 1812 and the Battle of Frenchtown in 1813. It is a “no-fee” park, so be sure to stop by and explore one of Michigan’s treasures in our own back yard.

The Monroe County Library System has information about the National Parks. Check out the Ken Burns PBS documentary on DVD titled The National parks: America’s best idea. The library also has this in book format with beautiful photos, as well as other materials to help learn about and explore our National Parks.