National Parks Service

Kids from a local youth organization laugh and splash in cold, spring-fed pools at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area near Sulphur, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The National Park Service turns 100 this year, and many states are celebrating top-tier environmental landmarks that are a big source of local pride. About half the U.S. states don’t have a national park — including Oklahoma.

That wasn’t always the case, and the story of what happened illustrates a changing view of what national parks are for.

On his trip to Washington, Here & Now host Jeremy Hobson spent some time with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, who leads the U.S. Department of the Interior, a government agency that oversees the National Park Service.

The two toured the National Mall, which was first conceptualized by the French-born American architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant in the late 1700s. It is one of more than 400 national parks across the country.

Flag of the Delaware Tribe of Western Oklahoma
Xasartha / Wikipedia Commons

Two Native American tribes in Oklahoma have received grants to assist in the return of human remains and cultural objects.

The National Park Service awarded the Delaware Nation more than $87,000 and the Pawnee Nation more than $12,000. Projects that can be funded under the grants include consultations to identify individuals and cultural items, training, digitizing records and preparation and transport of items back to the tribes.

James Fleeting /

The National Park Service has awarded historic preservation grants to four American Indian tribes in Oklahoma.

NPS director Jonathan Jarvis says the grants will help America's first people preserve significant tribal places, cultures and tradition.

The grants can be used to fund projects including nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, preservation education and historic structure reports.

The four Oklahoma-based tribes receiving grants are the Miami Tribe, the Peoria Tribe, the Seminole Nation and the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe.

OakleyOriginals / Flickr Creative Commons

Federally run campsites, parks and pavilions at dozens of Oklahoma lakes controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have closed because of the federal government shutdown. But that’s not keeping people away from lakes like Texoma, Eufaula, and Tenkiller, it’s just funneling them into state parks instead.

Chickasaw Nation

The National Park Service has awarded the Chickasaw Nation more than $7,000 to help the tribe return ancestral human remains and cultural objects.

The grant money is part of more than $65,000 that the NPS awarded to various tribes, museums and groups under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis says in a news release that Protection and Repatriation Act helps correct mistreatment of Native peoples' by returning human remains and sacred objects.