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Railroads and the National Parks: Partners in Western Preservation

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Railroads and the National Parks: Partners in Western Preservation

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, August 21, 2024 - 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1NV098
This online program is presented on Zoom.
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Trestle at New Castle, Placer County, California, ca. 1860s (Alfred Hart Collection/

Created by act of Congress in August 1916, the stated goal of the National Park Service was “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life [sic] and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

Those who worked to create the National Park Service found willing partners in the nation's railroads. In the golden age of rail travel, people rushed to see what they considered to be a vanishing frontier and Union Pacific and other railroads worked to preserve its landscape. When that goal finally became a reality with the National Park Service, a mutually beneficial relationship began that extended from 1916 through most of the 20th century.

Patricia LaBounty, curator of the Union Pacific Collection at the Union Pacific Museum, draws on archival photographs to illustrate the surprising role railroads played in the development of Western national parks and examines the history of some of their most beloved sites.

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