Weekly Address: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service


President Obama: Hi
everybody, earlier this summer Michelle, Malia,
Sasha and I had a quest to the national parks at
Carlsbad Caverns and Yosemite. And I have got to say it
was a breath of fresh air. We explored hundreds of
feet of underground. Standing beneath dripping
stalactites in New Mexico. We hiked up a misty trail
next to a waterfall in California, and I even
took a few pictures of my own. Which I thought were
pretty good, but the truth is no camera, especially
one with me behind it, can fully capture the beauty
and majesty of America’s National Parks. From glaciers in Denali,
to Gettysburg and Seneca Falls are more than 400
parks and other sites that capture our history and
our sense of wonder. As FDR once said, there is
nothing so American as our national parks. The fundamental idea
behind the parks is that the country belongs
to the people. This month we are
celebrating the 100th anniversary of the
national park service. And I want to encourage
all of you to find your park, so that you and your
family can experience these sacred places too. If you are a military
family you can even get in free through Michelle and
Joe Biden’s Joining Forces Initiative. And if you have got a
fourth grader in the family you can get a free
pass too by going to EVERYKIDINAPARK.ORG. I hope you do because all
across the country the national park service is
preparing for a big year. We are revitalizing a
grove of giant sequoia’s in Yosemite, repairing
the Lincoln Memorial, and enhancing the iconic
entrance to our first national park
at Yellowstone. As President, I am proud
to have built upon America’s tradition
of conservation. We have protected more
than 265 million acres of public lands and waters. More than any
administration in history. We have recovered
endangered wildlife species, and restored
vulnerable ecosystems. We, have designated new
monuments to Cesar Chavez in California, and Pullman
porters in Chicago, and the folks who stood up for
equality at Stonewall in New York to better reflect
the full history of our nation. And we have got more work
to do to preserve our lands, culture,
and history. So, we are not done yet. As we look ahead, the
threat of climate change means that protecting our
public lands and waters is more important than ever. Rising temperatures could
mean no more glaciers in Glacier National Park,
no more Joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park. Rising seas could destroy
vital ecosystems in the Everglades, even threaten
Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. So, in the coming years
and decades we have to have the foresight and the
faith in our future to do what it takes to protect
our parks, and protect our planet for generations to
come because these parks belong to all of us. And they are worth
celebrating not just this year, but every year. Thanks everybody, have a
great weekend and see you in the parks.

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