Last August, Frank Gannon wrote that it was significant that the new President of the Nixon Foundation — Ronald H. Walker — was also appointed to lead the National Parks Service in 1973.
Significant because a prominent part of RN’s legislative agenda included environmental protection and conservation.
In 1973, he signed the Endangered Species Act, protecting species and their habitats from extinction.
His first commitment to the people, he established the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) to help insure that Americans could breathe clean air and drink clean water.
The same year, RN signed the General Authorities Act which required the whole national park system to be administered by the National Park Service — rather than by its constituent parts — effectively uniting the parks to reflect “a single national heritage” and to therefore “derive increased national dignity and recognition of their superb environmental quality through their inclusion jointly with each other in one national park system preserved and managed for the benefit and inspiration of all people of the United States.”
As Gannon also noted, in August 1971 RN announced that more than 5,000 acres would be turned over for a “full range of outdoor experiences” for its “dynamic” people.
Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns’ newest PBS masterpiece, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, is full of exquisite footage of America’s preserved majesty — from Yellowstone to the Grand Tetons — and its dynamic people’s tribute to their national heritage.