United States Department of the Interior
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
Mount Rainier National Park Tahoma Woods, Star Route IN REPLY REFER TO: Ashford, Washington 98304-9751
Welcome to the family of staff and volunteers at Mount Rainier National Park! Volunteering is an American tradition that has made an immeasurable contribution to communities, organizations, and individuals throughout the country. Volunteers-In-Parks are Very Important People (VIPs)! In Fiscal Year 2004, 140,000 volunteers donated 5 million hours to your national parks at a value of $85.9 million. At Mount Rainier National Park, 1105 volunteers donated more than 38,000 hours at a value of $660, 806. Within this guide you will learn more about the mission of the National Park Service. You will also learn about the history and structure of Mount Rainier National Park and about your role and responsibilities as a volunteer. It is important that you understand the responsibility you have in providing accurate information and making sure our visitors have a meaningful and enjoyable experience.
Thank you for your time, interest, and energy!
National Park Service Mission Statement
On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service, a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting the 40 national parks and monuments then in existence and those yet to be established.
This "Organic Act" of August 25, 1916, states that "the Service thus established shall promote and regulate the use of Federal areas known as national parks, monuments and reservations . . . by such means and measures as conform to the fundamental purpose of the said parks, monuments and reservations, which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."
The National Park Service still strives to meet those original goals, while filling many other roles as well: guardian of our diverse cultural and recreational resources; environmental advocate; world leader in the parks and preservation community; and pioneer in the drive to protect America's open space.
The National Park System
The National Park System of the United States comprises more than 380 units covering more than 83 million acres in 49 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands. These areas are of such national significance as to justify special recognition and protection in accordance with various acts of Congress.
By Act of March 1, 1872, Congress established Yellowstone National Park in the Territories of Montana and Wyoming "as a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people" and placed it "under exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior." The founding of Yellowstone National Park began a worldwide national park movement. Today more than 100 nations contain some 1,200 national parks or equivalent preserves.
In the years following the establishment of Yellowstone, the United States authorized additional national parks and monuments, most of them carved from the federal lands of the West. These, also, were administered by the Department of the Interior, while other monuments and natural and historical areas were administered as separate units by the
War Department and the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture. No single agency provided unified management of the varied federal parklands.
An Executive Order in 1933 transferred 63 national monuments and military sites from the Forest Service and the War Department to the National Park Service. This action was a major step in the development of today's truly national system of parks—a system that
includes areas of historical as well as scenic and scientific importance. Congress declared in the General Authorities Act of 1970 "that the National Park System,