This petition was written on February 16, 1916, by the Prairie Club of Chicago, Chicagoans who explored and hiked the wilderness surrounding the city. It supports proposed legislation for a federal bureau that would oversee and manage all national parks. Stephen T. Mather, a Chicago businessman who worked in the Department of the Interior, was an active member of the Club. He made the development of a National Park Service his personal crusade, investing his own money to raise awareness of the issue. He eventually served as the first director of the National Park Service.
The letter is typed on the Club’s letterhead and addressed to the Honorable Charles E. Fuller, a Representative from the 12th district of Illinois in the northern part of the state. It is signed by the Club’s secretary, Clara Fahrenbach. The message supports the passage of H.R. 8668, introduced by Representative William Kent of California, and echoes the text of the bill, saying “the administration of the national parks and monuments will be improved, their attractions will be more quickly made accessible, and the properties be better protected.” The Committee on Public Lands received many petitions sharing the sentiments of the Prairie Club before Congress passed the National Park Service Organic Act in 1916.