... I thought that the National Park System started over a hundred years ago
with Theodore Roosevelt who was quite an outdoorsman and conversavationist ,
especially for those times. ...
Well, not quite.
Teddy came along a little bit AFTER the National Parks were first created.
See this write-up from the National Park Service web site >>>
"The national park concept is generally credited to the artist George Catlin.
On a trip to the Dakotas in 1832, he worried about the impact of America's westward expansion
on Indian civilization, wildlife, and wilderness. They might be preserved, he wrote,
'By some great protecting policy of government... in a magnificent park....
A nation's park, containing man and beast, in all the wild and freshness of their nature's beauty.'
Catlin's vision was partly realized in 1864, when Congress donated Yosemite Valley to California
for preservation as a state park. Eight years later, in 1872, Congress reserved the spectacular
Yellowstone country in the Wyoming and Montana territories
'as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.'
With no state government there yet to receive and manage it, Yellowstone remained
in the custody of the U.S. Department of the Interior as a national park ÷
the world's first area so designated."
So ... George did it!