Introduction to the National Park Service: The History of the NPS

Learn about the contents of the Wilderness Act of 1964 and its impact on managing a wilderness area.

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The National Park Service (NPS) is an organization with a rich heritage and an important place in U.S. history. In this course, you will learn about the ideas that formed and later transformed the National Park Service, the people who generated those ideas, and the laws that continue to shape the NPS today.

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Course Schedule

This course is self-paced, allowing learners the flexibility to complete the course as quickly or slowly as they need. While exploring course content, learners can investigate topics in greater detail through enrichment activities that link to real-world examples, original source materials, and policy documents. Learners can easily move from section to section as they navigate through the course, revisiting concepts as needed.

Elements of the course

  • Informational text
  • Informational video
  • Interactive practice activities
  • Supplemental reference materials
  • Final assessment

After completing all course activities, you will complete a brief assessment to demonstrate your understanding of key course concepts. Upon successful completion of the assessment, you will be awarded a certificate of completion.

Course Chapters

  • National Park Service
  • Origins of the National Park Idea
  • Creation of the National Park Service
  • Changing Times
  • The NPS Regroups
  • The Environmental Era
  • Entering the 21st Century

Be able to:

  • Identify the people and ideas that formed and transformed the NPS.
  • Explain the significance of major events in NPS history.
  • State the key points of the Organic Act and the NPS Mission Statement.

Recommended Background

No additional background knowledge or skills are required for this course.


love the formatReview by parkperson
The clickable timeline throughout really grounded the historical eras - Very cool activities, too! (Posted on 10/28/2014)
Great introductionReview by Matthew
This course was a great way to familiarize myself with history of the National Park Service. I found it informative, captivating, and creative. (Posted on 8/25/2014)

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