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National Park Service to celebrate 100 years in August

As part of the National Park Service’s Centennial celebration park entrance fees will be waived Aug. 25 - Aug. 28. Other special events are planned across the U.S. Loretta Yerian/WGCN

As part of the National Park Service’s Centennial celebration park entrance fees will be waived Aug. 25 - Aug. 28. Other special events are planned across the U.S. Loretta Yerian/WGCN

WASHINGTON - The National Park Service (NPS) invites visitors of all ages to join in the celebration of its 100th birthday throughout the month of August. 

With special events across the country, and free admission to all 412 national parks from Aug. 25 through Aug. 28, the NPS is encouraging everyone to Find Your Park for the centennial. 

"August - our birthday month - will be a nationwide celebration of national parks, and we're inviting everyone to the party," said Jon Jarvis, director of NPS. "We like to think that we look pretty good for 100, and with so many events and activities to commemorate this milestone, we hope all Americans will join us to celebrate the breathtaking landscapes and inspiring history in our nation's parks and public lands.  Whether it is in a distant state or in your own community, there are hundreds of ways and places to find your park."

Events across the country

From a solar car rally through nine national parks, to major and minor league baseball games, to cultural and musical festivals, events and programs throughout the U.S. will provide countless ways for families, students, and park-lovers of all ages to discover special park experiences for the centennial.

On Aug. 22, the three-part series of Park Exchange events will culminate in New York City, taking the innovation from Thomas Edison National Historical Park in a small New Jersey town, to the iconic big city skyline.  A day of free family-friendly activities will explore the concept of innovation and 100 years of national parks, and a special evening program will illuminate Edison's innovative spirit and light the way as the NPS enters its second century of service. 

Among the hundreds of other special events that will celebrate the National Park Service's Centennial in August:

The National Park Service and tribal partners will celebrate the grand opening of the Huna Tribal House at Glacier Bay National Park.

"Music in the American Wild" concerts will bring special compositions to several western parks, funded in part through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts "Imagine Your Parks" program for the NPS Centennial.

In a unique partnership with NASA, a group of fourth-grade students at Lewis and Clark National Historical Park will speak with an astronaut live from the International Space Station.

Yellowstone National Park will rededicate the Roosevelt Arch with musical performances and a special ceremonial event.

Additional event listings is available on the National Park Service website, and hundreds more can be found at Find Your Park and Encuentra Tu Parque.

Park entrance fees will be waived nationwide from Aug. 25 through Aug. 28 to encourage everyone to celebrate the NPS 100th birthday. Usually, 127 of the 412 national parks charge entrance fees that range from $3 to $30.  The entrance fee waiver does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.

To continue the national park adventure beyond these entrance fee free days, the $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass allows unlimited entrance to more than 2,000 sites, including all national parks, throughout the year. There are also a variety of free or discounted passes available for senior citizens, current military members, fourth grade students, and disabled citizens.

Find Your Park to celebrate its centennial

On Aug. 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the National Park Service "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations." 

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of that moment and to look ahead to the next 100 years, in early 2015 the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation launched the Find Your Park / Encuentra Tu Parque movement.  Inspiring people from all backgrounds to celebrate and support America's national parks and community-based programs, #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque invites people to discover and share their own unique connections to our nation's natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history.

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