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Contact: Lauren Gurniewicz, 803-647-3969
WASHINGTON – Congaree National Park will celebrate the 97th birthday of the National Park Service with park visitors on Saturday, August 24. Join one of Congaree's founding fathers, John Cely, for a Nature Discovery Walk at 9:30 am or explore the park with a ranger at night during the 8:00 pm Moonlight Creatures Walk (reservations required). Park staff will also share birthday cake with visitors throughout the day at the Harry Hampton Visitor Center, which is open 9:00 am-5:00 pm.
"Birthdays are a time to celebrate and we want everyone to join the party," said Superintendent Tracy Stakely. "National parks belong to all Americans and offer something for everyone.So visit the park - wander a trail, take in the scenery, or attend a guided program."
With the creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, The United States was the first country to set aside its most significant places as national parks so that they could be enjoyed by all. When President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation that created the National Park Service on Aug. 25, 1916, there were 37 national parks.
Today, we care for 401 national parks throughout the country – each one an important part of our collective identity. Some parks commemorate notable people and achievements, others conserve magnificent landscapes and natural wonders, and all provide a place to have fun and learn something. Plan your visit at www.nps.gov/findapark.
"Congaree National Park was established in 1976 to preserve the largest intact tract of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States,"said Stakely. "Today we proudly welcome over 100,000 visitors every year who, in addition to enjoying all that the park has to offer, add $2,928,000 to our local economy and support 48 jobs in the area."
The mission of the National Park Service extends beyond parks into communities across the country, where we work with partners to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities that revitalize neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life. To see what we do here in South Carolina, go to www.nps.gov/SC.