Sequestration Effects on the Parkway
On March 1, 2013, the Parkway was required to reduce its annual budget by five percent, in accordance with the sequestration provision of the Budget Control Act of 2011. Click the link to learn about visitor center, restroom, and services impacts. More »
Portion of National Scenic Trail Near Tupelo Closed to Hikers
Part of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail (NOT the Parkway) near Tupelo, MS, has been closed until 2015 due to construction under Tupelo's Major Thoroughfare Construction Project. Parkway travelers may expect delays, but no detours are expected. More »
Parkway Celebrates 75 Years!
75th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, May 18, 2013
The Natchez Trace Parkway will celebrate 75 years as a national park on Saturday, May 18, 2013, from 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The free, family-oriented event will feature live music, dozens of exhibitors and historical personas, dignitaries, children's activities, classic cars and much more. Festivities will be held at the Parkway Visitor Center, located just north of Tupelo on the Natchez Trace Parkway at milepost 266.
Local car enthusiasts will present over 80 classic vehicles between 9:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Opening ceremonies will begin at 10:00 a.m., with the National Anthem to be sung by renowned mezzo-soprano Dr. Lester Senter. Dignitaries will begin speaking at 10:30. All other activities will begin at 11:00 a.m.
The celebration will include people dressed as historical characters important to the Trace, including a "Kaintuck," Meriwether Lewis, a War of 1812 soldier, a Confederate soldier, and a Union soldier from the United States Colored Troops. The Tombigbee Pioneer Group, regular presenters at the Parkway Visitor Center, will also share their traditional crafts and skills.
Children will have the opportunity to participate in a mock archaeological dig, find "animals" while "driving" on the Beech Springs Trail, vote for their favorite classic car, and earn a special patch.
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will share traditional dancing in between music sets and present displays of traditional clothing and beadwork.
Local musicians will take visitors on a musical history tour. Starting with music played on the dulcimer, leading to bluegrass and gospel, and ending with a rock n' roll tribute to Elvis Presley, the groups will keep toes tapping as they lead visitors down memory lane.
Many of the Natchez Trace Parkway's partners will also present exhibits: the Federal Highway Administration (Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division), the Natchez Trace Compact, the Mary Stuart Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area, and the Tupelo Convention & Visitors Bureau will all share their connection to the parkway.
Hot dogs and soda will be sold at 1938 prices, thanks to the support of the Natchez Trace Parkway Association.
This event is sponsored by the National Park Service, Eastern National and the Natchez Trace Parkway Association.
Geocaching "Travel Bugs" to be Released
The Natchez Trace Parkway will be releasing one travel bug each month to help celebrate its 75th anniversary. Each bug will have a travel goal and mission that is related to the history of the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Geocachers pick up travel bugs, also known as "hitchhikers," from an established cache and then carry the bug to another established cache to help it accomplish its mission. The only physical cache on the Parkway is at the travel bug launch site, at the Parkway Visitor Center near Tupelo, Mississippi. Please remember that leaving personal property materials in caches on National Park Service property is not permitted. Anyone can follow the movements of the bug by registering for free on Geocaching.com.
The first travel bug, "Post Rider" with tracking number TB58XYV, was released on January 1st. Its mission is to stop in towns along the Old Natchez Trace corridor, visiting Natchez, Mississippi, and Nashville, Tennessee, as many times as possible in the year 2013.
"Over the Bridge," with tracking number TB58XYZ, was released February 1st, and is destined to visit birth places of famous African Americans.
"There She Goes," tracking number TB58XRB, was released March 1st. This travel bug's mission is to visit the birth or home places of women who have had historic connections to the Natchez Trace Parkway. The connections may be direct or distant. After that, it can visit the birth and home places of other women who have contributed to the betterment of our world.
In April, the "Park Trekker" bug was released (tracking number TB58YBV). Its goal: to visit gateway towns of National Parks.
In May, our anniversary month, "Natchez Trace Parkway 5: For Marty" was released. The goal is to get it to Washington, DC, where the Parkway was legislated by Congress on May 18, 1938. This bug, tracking number TB58YBP, is in memory of Marty Owens, who worked at the Parkway for 22 years.
© Jane Farmer
Parkway Art Contest
High school aged artists are invited to submit their artwork depicting the theme "On the Natchez Trace" to their art instructors for possible submission into the Natchez Trace Parkway's 75th Anniversary art contest.
Staff at the Natchez Trace Parkway will select winners and pieces for display at the Parkway Visitor Center in Tupelo, MS, for the Natchez Trace Parkway's 75th Anniversary Celebration on May 18th, 2013. Cash prizes will be awarded.
The contest officially opens at 8:00 a.m. on February 18, 2013. Teachers must submit student work.
For rules and further details, click here.
Did You Know?
The terrain along the Natchez Trace Parkway changes from 70 to 1,100 feet in elevation and passes through 5 degrees of latitude.