In 1912, President Taft in a special message to Congress said:
"I earnestly recommend the establishment of a bureau of National Parks. Such legislation is essential to the proper management of those wonderful manifestations of nature, so startling and so beautiful that everyone recognizes the obligations of the government to preserve them for the edification and recreation of the people."
The National Park Service Act was signed on August 25, 1916. Soon after, soldiers were discharged from the Army to form the first ranks of park rangers and a maintenance force. The National Park Service took over protection of Yellowstone National Park, "by arrangement with the War Department, and with its hearty cooperation," on October 1, 1916. Though local opposition resulted in one last episode of Army residency, the National Park Service assumed full administrative responsibilities in 1918.
.Fort Yellowstone was officially transferred to the new civilian agency. However, the Army's legacy is visible in wood and stone, and in the very survival of Yellowstone as one of the world's great symbols of the National Park idea.
Inset captions: 1) Seventh Cavalry, Troop G collar insignia, 2) National Park Service Badge, 3) Troop F, First U.S. Cavalry in front of enlisted men's barracks, 1913.