On this day in 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed a bill authorizing the establishment of Cape Cod National Seashore. A long-time summer resident of the Cape, J.F.K. had co-sponsored the legislation while in the Senate. The goal, he wrote, was "to preserve the natural and historic values of a portion of Cape Cod for the inspiration and enjoyment of people all over the United States." This was the first time the federal government had created a national park out of land that was primarily in private hands. Months of hearings and meetings were required to produce a bill that balanced private and public interests. Today the Seashore encompasses more than 43,000 acres and draws more than 4,000,000 visitors a year.