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Big Bend National Park will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service by conducting special Centennial activities and waiving park entrance frees from Thursday, August 25, through Sunday, August 28.
Visitors are invited to join park staff and volunteers for birthday cake on Thursday, August 25, in the Panther Junction Headquarters Community Room from 1-3 pm or on the Chisos Mountains Lodge patio from 4-5 pm.
Centennial activities continue Thursday and Friday evenings, August 25 and 26, with evening programs at the Chisos Basin Amphitheater at 9 pm. On Saturday morning, August 27, early risers may join a ranger on a sunrise walk to Balanced Rock. Visitors are asked to meet the ranger at 7 am at the trailhead on Grapevine Hills Road.
To round out the Centennial activities, a "Touch Table of Discoveries" will be set up at the Chisos Basin Visitor Center from 9:30-11:30 am on Saturday, August 27, and at the Panther Junction Visitor Center from 9:30-11:30 on Sunday, August 28. It's an opportunity to explore a table full of interesting and curious Big Bend objects.
"This is a very special birthday, a commemoration of 100 years of stewardship of America's national parks," said Big Bend National Park Superintendent Cindy Ott-Jones. "National parks belong to all Americans and offer something for everyone. Come visit Big Bend National Park and walk a trail, camp under the stars, or attend a park ranger presentation."
In 1872, Yellowstone National Park was established as the world's first national park. There were 37 national parks in the United States when President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation to create the National Park Service on August 25, 1916.
Today, there are 411 national park sites throughout the country and each one tells an important part of the American story. Some commemorate notable people and achievements, others conserve magnificent landscapes and natural wonders, and all provide a place to have fun and learn.