Ninety-six and still going wild

Old Faithful is a cone glacier located in Wyoming, in Yellowstone National Park.

Photo by USGS.

Are you squeezing in one last hiking or camping trip this weekend?

If you’re spending one of the last summer weekends at a National Park, make sure to pack some party hats. This Saturday, August 25, 2012, is the 96th birthday of the National Park Service, home to some of the wildest places in America.

If you’ve ever been backpacking in Montana's Glacier National Park, in the Crown of the Continent landscape, or watched Old Faithful erupt in Yellowstone, you know how important the National Park Service is to protecting wildlands. What you might not know is how much of America’s officially designated wilderness —  the wildest of the wild — is located in America’s National Parks.

This inspirational video, from the National Park Service, showcases the landscapes and ideas the 1964 Wilderness Act protects.

More than 40% of all officially protected wilderness areas in America is in our National Parks.

More than 40% of all officially protected wilderness areas in America is in our National Parks. These are some of the best hiking and backpacking destinations, full of wildlife and incredible views.

Looking to plan a wild trip? See our list of top wild places or find a wilderness area by name or location at wilderness.net. You also can find insider tips for hiking, camping and other top activities in the wild.

The National Park Service helps ensure that wilderness areas are kept wild and open to people. They also provide educational programs for schoolkids and maintain hiking trails and campsites.

If you find yourself in a National Park this weekend, don't forget to say “Happy Birthday!”— and share your experience with us on Facebook  and Twitter.

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