Rocky Mountain National Park marks 100th year
January 27, 2015
One hundred years have passed since President Woodrow Wilson officially signed the legislation creating Rocky Mountain National Park.
Since then much has changed in the United States but folks can still go and walk the trails and see the pine trees and glacial valleys that inspired conservationists over a century ago, still in pristine condition.
The bill formally establishing RMNP was signed by President Wilson on Jan. 26, 1915, following a multi-year effort from individuals in Estes Park, Denver and Washington, D.C. Leading the charge was the naturalist Enos Mills; Colorado's counterpoint to California's famous John Muir.
Mills was a Kansas native who moved to the Longs Peak Valley in 1886. Over the course of his life he climbed Longs Peak more than 250 times. Following an encounter with John Muir in 1889 Mills dedicated himself to the same ideals as Muir and began working to establish a national park in Colorado near his home.
After gathering local Colorado allies for what would become a lengthy legislative fight the bill was introduced in congress in Washington, D.C. in June of 1914, working its way through both the House and Senate before passage in January 1915. Rocky was not dedicated until Sept. 4, 1915, though, nearly nine months after the bill was signed by the president.
The National Park Service is celebrating Rocky's 100th Anniversary all this year with numerous planned events occurring in the park. The celebrations began on Sept. 4, 2014, and will run through Sept. 4, 2015, the official 100th Anniversary of the opening of the park.