PROVIDENCE, RI — In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Senator Jack Reed today joined members of the NPS’s Junior Ranger program in presenting the NPS with a birthday cake at Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence. Senator Reed was accompanied by several children who were participating in the Junior Ranger program to celebrate the 100th birthday of NPS, whose mission is to preserve America's parks and historic sites around the country.
National Park Rangers provided the attendees with brochures and additional information about the nation’s national parks, and also presented nature-related awards and centennial celebration items.
“America’s national parks are among our most sacred resources, and as we look back and celebrate the first hundred years, we must plan for the future and preserve these special places for future generations to enjoy,” said Senator Reed, a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds the National Park Service.
The national park system includes 413 areas preserving more than 84 million acres. These areas include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House.
Rhode Island is home to three units of the National Park Service: Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence; Touro Synagogue in Newport; and the John Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park encompassing areas of the Blackstone River and Old Slater Mill in Pawtucket, the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. Rhode Island is also home to significant sites in nearby mill towns, including Slatersville (in North Smithfield) and Ashton (in Cumberland) in Rhode Island and Whitinsville and Hopedale in Massachusetts. The National Park Service is taking a collaborative approach with local citizens, communities, and organizations as they work together to convert several geographically dispersed sites into one operational national historic park.
Senator Reed wrote the 2015 law which established the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park and included $927,000 in federal funding to help advance the park in this year in the Omnibus Appropriations bill.
“Each of Rhode Island’s national park units is a national treasure, steeped not only in history, but in our ideals. As Americans, we have a shared history, and as citizens we share a desire to preserve these special places. I will continue working to preserve Rhode Island’s unique history, while also creating new opportunities for conservation, historic preservation, tourism, education, and recreation,” concluded Reed.
Last year, nearly 293 million people visited national parks nationwide and spent $15.7 billion in local communities, which, according to the National Park Service, supported 277,000 jobs and had a $29.7 billion effect on the economy.