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Have you heard the news? It’s almost time to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial!
It’s hard to believe that it has been nearly 100 years since the National Park Service was approved by President Woodrow Wilson as a new bureau in the Department of the Interior in 1916.
The responsibility of the new group is to protect the current and future national parks and monuments in the country, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A job it has succeeded in over the years.
To find out how you can help celebrate this milestone anniversary, read below!
Ways to Celebrate the National Park Service Centennial
Over the next couple of year, there will be a ton of fun and festive events you and your family or group can enjoy as part of the National Park Service Centennial celebration. A few of our favorite upcoming celebrations include:
- Find Your Park Music of the Mountains April 17-19: A weekend full of entertaining musical performances as part of the 11th annual Music of the Mountains celebration at the Sugarlands Visitor Center.
- Smokies Find Your Park Activities Kick Off April 19: A collection of unique opportunities to meet with fellow Great Smoky Mountain National Park lovers, this event invites you to share your favorite memories of the Smokies, as well as enjoy an interactive photo opportunity throughout the park.
- Find Your Park Junior Ranger Day April 25: This event invites all children to enjoy a variety of programs to help them connect with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Junior Ranger Program, including the chance to decorate their own Junior Ranger Arrowhead.
- Ranger Led Programs throughout National Park Week April 18-26: Focusing on all of the amazing things that make the Great Smoky Mountains National Park unique, these ranger-led programs will allow you and your family or group to enjoy a variety of guided hiking tours and hands-on activities at visitor centers.
You can also join in the fun of celebrating through social media! All you have to do is use the hashtag #FindYourPark to share your favorite national park memories and stories with other families and groups.
You can also share your stories online at FindYourPark.com.
Over the years, the National Park Service has grown tremendously. When it was first founded, it was responsible for managing a total of 35 national parks and landmarks. However, thanks to the General Authorities Act of 1970, this responsibility of the service has grown to include more than 400 preserved areas that over more than 84 million acres in the United States, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands.
That is the true definition of growing up fast!
As we celebrate the National Park Centennial, it is important to also celebrate the huge strides and accomplishments the organization has made over the year. Today, it employs over 20,000 people, cares for 401 national parks, and works with communities across the country to help educate and preserve both our beloved nation’s history and natural resources.
Check out our Smoky Mountains National Park page to learn more about the history of the National Park Service Centennial and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.