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In 1872, there was no state government to manage it, so the federal government assumed direct control.

Yosemite National Park began as a state park; the land for the park was donated by the federal government to the state of California in 1864 for perpetual conservation. At first, each national park was managed independently, with varying degrees of success. Due to the irregularities in managing these national treasures, Stephen Mather petitioned the federal government to improve the situation. Lane challenged him to lobby for creating a new agency, the National Park Service, to manage all national parks and some national monuments.

In addition to administering its units and other properties, the National Park Service also provides technical and financial assistance to several "affiliated areas" authorized by Congress.

The largest affiliated area is New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve at 1,164,025 acres (4711 km²).

The smallest is Benjamin Franklin National Memorial at less than 0.01 acres (40 m).

Although all units of the National Park System in the United States are the responsibility of a single agency, they are all managed under individual pieces of authorizing legislation or, in the case of national monuments created under the Antiquities Act, presidential proclamation.

Wilderness areas are covered by the US National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects federally managed lands that are of a pristine condition, established by the Wilderness Act (Public Law 88-577) in 1964.

The National Wilderness Preservation System originally created hundreds of wilderness zones within already protected federally administered property, consisting of over 9 million acres (36,000 km²).

and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior.

These two executive orders not only transferred to the National Park Service all the War Department historic sites, but also the national monuments managed by the Department of Agriculture and the parks in and around the capital, which had been run by an independent office.

In 1951, Conrad Wirth became director of the National Park Service and went to work on bringing park facilities up to the standards that the public expected.

Such irregularities would not be found in other parks unless specifically provided for with exceptions by the legislation that created them.

For current specifics and a multitude of information, see the Quick Facts Most units of the National Park Service have been established by an act of Congress, with the president confirming the action by signing the act into law.

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