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History of the National Park Service: HIST 2214

A library research guide designed to help students complete assignments 1, 2, and 3

Assignment 1 - Legislative History

History of the National Park Service - Temple University

Assignment I: Legislative History

Most National Park Service units are created by an act of Congress and, therefore, have a legislative history. Your purpose in this assignment is to retrieve that history by finding your unit’s enabling legislation and infer from it why your park was created and under what circumstances.

The Congressional Record (follow link for a searchable version available at Paley Library) publishes the proceedings and debates of the U.S. Congress, and therefore contains in print the enabling legislation of all NPS units. Begin this assignment by searching the Congressional Record for your unit. HeinOnline is another database to try searching for congressional documents and legislation.

Once you’ve found your park’s enabling legislation, print a copy of it and turn it into me along with a summary of its contents—typed, stapled to the legislation, and with your name at the top—including:

  • The year in which the unit was established; 
  • Whether or not it replaced (or renamed) a previously existing natural or cultural site;
  • Whether or not the legislation is bundled with other legislation; and,
  • The justification for its authorization, in your own words.