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Centennial Celebration of National Park Service Being Held in Montana

The centennial celebration of the National Park Service is being held in front of the Roosevelt Arch, above. (Chuck Grimmett/flickr)
The centennial celebration of the National Park Service is being held in front of the Roosevelt Arch, above. (Chuck Grimmett/flickr)
August 25, 2016

GARDINER, Mont. – Today is the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service, and U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is celebrating the event in Gardiner, Mont., outside of Yellowstone National Park.

Gov. Steve Bullock will join Jewell, along with National Park Service officials and country singers Emmylou Harris and John Prine.

Scott Christensen, director of conservation for the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, says it's significant that the secretary has chosen to celebrate the Park Service in Yellowstone, the country's first national park.

"It's appropriate that Yellowstone is a focal spot for the centennial celebration,” he states. “I think we have a great opportunity to reflect on the last 100 years of the park service, and then think about the next 100 years and what it may bring."

The event begins at 7 p.m. Mountain Time at the Roosevelt Arch and be livestreamed on the Internet.

Jewell has been touring national parks throughout the country this week in observation of the National Parks centennial.

Before Jewell heads to Yellowstone, she’ll stop in Glacier National Park to see the effects of climate change firsthand.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the park has only one-sixth of the glaciers it had in 1850.

Steve Thompson, chairman of Climate Smart Glacier Country, which is working with local communities near the park to find climate solutions, met with the secretary this week.

He says Glacier has been partnering with the local area to work on solutions, such as changes to infrastructure, even though some climate change effects might be irreparable.

"What can we do?” he questions. “And some things there's not a lot we can do, but going into it with our eyes wide open recognizes there's going to be some impacts.

“What can we do to adapt to those impacts, rather than get run over by them?"

Christensen says visitors from all over the world come to national parks – Yellowstone has seen record numbers of visitors in the past few years – but the parks are still being neglected.

"It's time that people step up and advocate for our parks and let their voice be heard, and ask and really demand that their elected officials adequately fund the parks and protect them as we go forward," he stresses.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - MT