Video: National Park Services Celebrates 100 years

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The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th year anniversary this month.
On August 25, 1916 President Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the National Park Service. Since then, over 412 areas stretching over 84 million acres throughout the nation have been designated as national parks.
“What the National Park Service has done over the years is it’s created partnerships with local, county, state jurisdictions to create special places that are managed like national parks,” said Fred Akers, an administrator of the Great Egg Harbor Watershed Association.
This government program covers areas of all shapes and sizes across the country but right here in South Jersey some may overlook that the Great Egg Harbor River is part of this system.
Back in 1992 the over 120 mile river with 17 tributaries was officially deemed a national park.
That’s where the Great Egg Harbor Watershed Association comes in, a local nonprofit whose time goes into managing the river and educating others on its importance.
“The National Park Service became responsible for writing the management plan to protect the river and then kind of like deputizing the local people to implement that plan,” said Akers.
The river stretches through Camden, Gloucester, Cape May, and Atlantic counties and is used for a number of things, including recreational fun. Thousands of daily visitors enjoy activities ranging from power boating to kayaking.
The Great Egg Harbor River is one of nine national parks throughout the garden state enjoyed by over four million visitors each year.
“The best way to protect the river is to teach people when they’re young about how important the river is and what it’s values are to be appreciated so when they grow up, they’ll understand the need for protection,” said Akers.