Love national parks? Thank UC Berkeley

The Mather party, in 2015.

The Mather party, in 1915.

It’s not a stretch to say that without UC Berkeley and its alumni, the National Park Service would not be what it is today. In fact it might not even exist.

“Cal alumni had a major influence on both launching and maintaining the National Park system,” Steven Beissinger, professor of wildlife ecology at Berkeley told California Magazine for a piece published in conjunction with a major conference on the parks taking place on campus this week. “It’s no coincidence that three of the first four directors of the National Park Service were university alumni.

The article traces the founding of the NPS to Stephen Mather, class of 1887, and Horace Albright, class of 1912, and tells the story of how they brought their germ of an idea into pristine reality. Part of that story was a historic conference on national parks that Berkeley held in 1915, and is marking with a centennial conference “Parks for Science, Science for Parks: The Next Century,” which opens Wednesday.

On Thursday, March 26, the Horace M. Albright Lecture on Conservation will feature U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, UC President Janet Napolitano, historian and author Douglas Brinkley and Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks.

California Magazine‘s article. Love National Parks? Thank UC Berkeley and What Transpired Here 100 Years Ago, can be read here.

Berkeley’s role in the founding of Yosemite National Park is brought to life in the e-book Yosemite: A Storied Landscape, by editor and Berkeley resident Kerry Tremain.