Happy 100th birthday, National Park Service

I was fortunate to visit three of our nation’s greatest treasures in the past year.

From roaming buffalo, erupting geysers and cascading waterfalls in Yellowstone and soaring red rocks in Zion to dramatic granite formations and waterfalls in Yosemite, our national parks are truly awe-inspiring.

Today marks the centennial of the day, Aug. 25, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation creating the National Park Service. As the NPS marks its 100th birthday, we tip our hat to the early visionaries who helped preserve for future generations what has grown into a diverse network of some 412 national parks, lakeshores, monuments, memorials, trails, national historic sites and more.

In Michigan, the collection includes Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Isle Royale National Park, River Raisin National Battlefield Park and Keweenaw National Historical Park.

As naturalist John Muir, who has been called “the father of the national parks,” wrote: “Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike.”

Do yourself a favor and plan a visit to at least one of them in the coming year. Your body and soul will thank you.


Here’s a look at my recent visits to Zion, Yellowstone and a very wet Yosemite (it poured rain all day long):

Susan R. Pollack
Globetrotting journalist and former Detroit News staff writer Susan R. Pollack has covered travel since 1985, visiting scores of countries on five continents, 49 states, six Canadian provinces and hundreds of cities, islands and outposts along the way. From Alaska, the Galapagos and New Zealand to South Africa, Thailand and Wales, she has suffered the occasional lost luggage, jetlag and Montezuma’s revenge but still delights in sharing travel adventures with readers. In addition to The Detroit News, her award-winning stories and photos have appeared in major newspapers including the Dallas News, Toronto Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Chicago Sun Times; and magazines including Delta Sky, Midwest Living, Long Weekends, Experience Michigan, Jetsetter, Home & Away, Lakeland Boating, Hour Detroit, Prevue Meetings and Group Tour. She has contributed to several books including "Rand McNally 2008 Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide." She also writes for websites including, and