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Contact: Stephanie Loeb, 610-783-1013
VALLEY FORGE, PA - President Obama's budget request for fiscal year 2016 –the centennial year of the National Park Service –includes additional funds for the service's critical conservation, preservation, and recreation mission.
In 2016, the National Park Service will celebrate its Centennial by inviting hundreds of millions of Americans to rediscover their parks. "This is an investment in 'America' Best Idea' that pays dividends in gateway communities across the nation. For every dollar appropriated to the National Park Service in the President's 2016 Centennial budget, $10 is returned to the American economy in the form of visitor spending, travel and tourism and construction jobs," said National Park Service Director John Jarvis.
"The President's request contains important initiatives for those of us who tend to our national heritage to repair an ageing infrastructure, respond to climate change, host school field trips, work with partners on exciting initiatives, and provide rangers to greet our nearly two million visitors with the highest standard of public service," said Valley Forge National Historical Park (NHP) Superintendent Kate Hammond.
Valley Forge NHP will celebrate not only the Centennial of the National Park Service but also the 40th anniversary of its own establishment as a national park and the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Friends of Valley Forge Park.The Friends, the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Bureau, and the Encampment Store are partnering with the park to plan a number of special events to take place in 2016. One already is underway. The Join the Continental Army program is a long-time, popular activity that engages kids in learning how Continental Soldiers overcame hardship and challenges. Now, local kids and kids around the world will be able to enlist on-site or on-line, see new fun and educational videos, and share their experiences through social media using a unique hashtag, all culminating in a simultaneous, grand on-site and virtual march in June 2016. Enlistment already is underway, with a goal to recruit 20,000 kids in the program.
The park and partners are planning a number of special events and everyday experiences that will highlight the tremendous historic, natural, and recreational resources that Valley Forge brings to almost two million visitors each year.
"Our Centennial celebration is not just about the park's remarkable history and natural environment," Hammond noted. "We'll connect with the next generation of national park visitors, stewards, and advocates. By creating more ways for people to experience Valley Forge, we can engage this younger generation to meet the challenges of the next 100 years."