Today is a special day! Today, Bryce Canyon National Park celebrates it’s 100th anniversary! On June 8, 1923, President Warren G. Harding designated about 10,000 acres of land as Bryce Canyon National Monument. And the following year the monument was upgraded to a national park (although, fun fact: it was originally called “Utah National Park.” Lawmakers would change its name back to “Bryce Canyon National Park” in 1928.) Today, Bryce Canyon welcomes millions of visitors every year, and preserves a truly remarkable landscape for generations to come. We love Bryce, and we’re very happy to celebrate 100 years of this classic American park!
A Little More History
There is a great page on the official Bryce Canyon website that goes into the history of Bryce, but we thought we’d just share some of the most important highlights from the early days, just so you can get a sense of the formation of the park. These bullet points are pulled directly from the official centennial history, so again, go check out that page:
1872 – A survey team headed by Lieutenant George C. Wheeler maps the geologic resources of the Colorado plateau. The Wheeler Report includes the first written description of the area: “…a perfect wilderness of red pinnacles,” wrote Grove Karl Gilbert.
1915 – Sevier National Forest Supervisor, J.W. Humphrey, views the canyon for the first time and begins publicity efforts to tell the world. This includes articles, photographs by A.W. Stevens, and a film by George Goshen that were sent to Washington D.C.
August 1916 – The National Park Service is created by Congress to manage parks and monuments in such a manner as to leave them unimpaired for future generations.
June 8, 1923 – Bryce Canyon National Monument proclaimed by President Warren G. Harding. Boundaries of the 9,760 acre monument extend roughly from modern-day Sunrise Point south to Paria View.
June 7, 1924 – After persistent campaigning by Utah Senator Reed Smoot, Congress establishes “Utah National Park.”
1924 – Construction begins on the Bryce Canyon Lodge.
September 15, 1928 – After the requirement is met that all land within the boundaries be United States owned, Bryce Canyon National Park is established. Management transfers from the U.S. Forest Service to the National Park Service.
1931 – The park boundaries extend south to Podunk Point (now Rainbow Point), doubling the size of the park.
How You Can Celebrate
There is a Centennial Celebration happening in the park today (with the Piano Guys preforming!) but if you’re just reading about this now, on June 8th, then you aren’t likely to make it on time. But don’t worry, for this special year Bryce Canyon has tons of cool things planned. The best way to stay informed about their upcoming events is through social media. Here is the list of all the official socials for Bryce Canyon.
You can also be part of the continuing story of Bryce Canyon. Tag your photos with #BRYCE100 to share your experiences in the park during the year. And if you have a love story that involves Bryce Canyon, then visit this cute page called “Hoodoo You Love” and share your park-based romance!
Hooray for National Parks
National parks are some of our most treasured places. Since the founding of the National Park Service in 1916, millions of acres of land have been designated as public spaces for all of us to enjoy. The NPS preserves the most incredible, awe-inspiring, and fantastically beautiful areas in our country – places like Bryce Canyon National Park. Hooray for the national parks! And hooray for Bryce Canyon! Happy 100th birthday!