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Saturday celebration in Yosemite marks 96 years for National Park Service

The big centennial bash is still four years off, but no matter. Yosemite National Park is celebrating anyway.

In honor of the National Park Service’s 96th anniversary, Yosemite is hosting a series of events on Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center and LeConte Memorial Lodge. Activities will focus on “What NPS Rangers Do.”

Activities will include:

· 9-11 a.m. – Yosemite Valley Visitor Center – presentations about search and rescue in the park, fire management, education, resource management and science, as well as the ranger program at the University of California, Merced.

· 9 a.m. – Yosemite Valley Visitor Center – park rangers will lead a youth-oriented service project, beginning at the center.

· 8 p.m. – LeConte Memorial Lodge – evening program on the history of the National Park Service.

“Anniversaries are a time to reflect and celebrate,” said Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher. “National parks belong to all Americans and offer something for everyone. … Children especially enjoy the popular Junior Ranger program where they earn a badge by taking part in kid-friendly activities.”

The National Park Service was established on Aug. 25, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill sent to him by Congress. Yosemite began as a state park when the federal government donated the land to the state of California in 1864. The state returned the favor 27 years later, when the nearly 1,200-square-mile area was deemed to be of such significant public value that it should be given national park status, which it was, in 1891.

This weekend’s event is just the first in a series being planned by Yosemite officials in the run-up to the 100th anniversary of the NPS in 2016. Other celebrations will include:

June 30, 2014: 150th anniversary of the Yosemite Grant

Sept. 3, 2014: 50th anniversary of the federal Wilderness Act

Sept. 28, 2014: 30th anniversary of the California Wilderness Act

Oct. 1, 2015: 125th anniversary of Yosemite National Park

Aug. 25, 2016: 100th anniversary of the National Park Service

For more information, visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/yose.

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Sierra News Online