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Celebrating the Centennial of the National Park Service
(GERING, NE) The National Park Service was created 100 years ago on August 25, 1916 –join the celebration this week!
President Woodrow Wilson created the National Park Service to manage the national parks. Up until that time the parks had been protected by the U.S. Army. In fact, modern NPS uniforms still reflect that influence. The 14 National Parks and 20 National Monuments that came into the new agency in 1916 has grown to over 400 units which include National Monuments, National Historic Sites, National Battlefields and National Recreation Areas among others.
One facet of the celebration will be fee free days on August 25, 26, 27 and 28, 2016. All National Park Service units that regularly charge an entrance will waive those fees. Other recreation fees, such as camping and tour fees, will still be charged.
Scotts Bluff National Monument will begin the celebration on Thursday, August 25 with a birthday cake. The cake will be cut at 12:00 in the visitor center and will be available to all visitors.
Scotts Bluff has seen a variety of people travel through the area. Nineteenth century travelers did not always have the sense that they were making history or how much they would contribute to the growth of the nation. Looking back, it is easier to see how their influence shaped the country, including the creation of national parks. On Saturday, August 27, you will have a chance to visit with a few of those people who traveled the trails from 10:00 am –3:00 pm.
"Tour Times Past" allows visitors to make their own tour. There will be six stops, three outside the monument and three on monument grounds, where a variety of rangers and volunteers will be in period dress ready to talk about the people they represent. If you wish to explore the fur trade era, just drive out to Robidoux Trading Post to talk to the trader. To find out more about the Mormons and the handcart companies, visit Rebecca Winters' grave site. A soldier will be stationed at the Fort Mitchell site to talk about protecting the trails and what 1860's life at a frontier fort was like. At the monument, visit with a Pony Express rider next to the visitor center to discover what it took to be a rider. Pioneer women will be at the wagons to share what life was like in a prairie schooner. As a member of the Hayden Expedition to the Yellowstone region in 1871, William Henry Jackson's photographs were vital to the creation of the first National Park. Find out more about his life and support of the National Park system while talking to the gentleman beyond the wagons.
Pick up the map and written guide for "Tour Times Past" at Scotts Bluff National Monument visitor center beginning Thursday, August 25.