NRS | Federal Lands | Recreation and Preservation
In 1872, the United States Congress established Yellowstone National Park as the first national park and expressed its desire to preserve this natural wonder for the enjoyment of all Americans. In the years that followed, the federal government was not only interested in protecting park land, but also in preserving various other areas of significance throughout the nation.
In 1890, Congress designated Chickamauga and Chattanooga Military Park as the first national battlefield and, in 1906, passed the Antiquities Act, 16 U.S.C. § 431. The Antiquities Act gave the President the power to set aside objects and structures of historic and scientific interest as national monuments.
There are several statutes that govern the manner in which national park lands and wildlife refuges are managed. These statutes include the National Park Service Organic Act, the General Antiquities Act, the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the National Historic Preservation Act.