News from our National Parks SEPTEMBER 2009
September events Events in our National Parks, Memorials, National Historical Sites, etc.
National Public Lands Day
(Nationwide) — September 26 is National Public Lands Day. On that day, all national parks will waive entrance fees. Also, Dan Wenk, acting director of the National Park Service (NPS), has mandated that on September 26, every park will have or participate in a volunteer/outreach event. It is planned that information about events will be uploaded from the event calendars of individual parks to a national calendar of events at www.nps.gov/September26. You can also check with individual parks for events and volunteer opportunities.
— Alabama —
Pioneer Day at Colbert Ferry Visitor Center (Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee)
— From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 5, the Tombigbee Pioneer Group will perform living history demonstrations at the Colbert Ferry Visitor Center on the Natchez Trace Parkway. The center is located at milepost 327 near Cherokee, Alabama.
The group will show the challenges faced and creative solutions developed by Americans who lived in the area from the 1700s to 1840. The public is invited to watch activities from pioneer life. Children are invited to dress up in pioneer clothes and try these activities firsthand. The program is free.
— Arizona —
The Grand Canyon Music Festival
(Arizona) — Founded in 1983, the Grand Canyon Music Festival brings world-renowned artists to Arizona for performances, outreach, and educational programs in rural and underserved communities at affordable admission prices. This year, the festival runs from September 11 to 26.
This annual three-week series of concerts emphasizes the broad diversity of chamber music and celebrates the environment of this majestic World Heritage Site. Concerts will be held on September 11 and 12, featuring ETHEL’s Truckstop; September 18 and 19, featuring The Bonfiglio Group and the festival’s Founders and Friends; and September 25 and 26, featuring the Enso Quartet. For more information, please visit the festival’s website, www.grandcanyonmusicfest.org/.
Grand Canyon Celebration of Art
(Arizona) — From September 14 to 19, the Grand Canyon Celebration of Art will provide an opportunity for visitors to see the works of some of the best artists in the nation as they seek to capture the beauty of the canyon’s timeless landscape on canvas. This event includes Plein Air on the Rim, September 14 to 17; plein air painting demonstrations on September 15 and 16; a Quick Draw event and auction on September 18; and the Modern Masters Invitational, a juried art competition and show. All art from the Modern Masters Invitational and Plein Air on the Rim will be included in the “Celebration of Art” exhibit, which will show at the Kolb Studio on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park from September 19 to November 1.
All proceeds from art-related events will be dedicated to the creation of a permanent venue for art in Grand Canyon National Park.
Dia de la Familia/National Public Lands Day
(Arizona) — On September 26, Grand Canyon National Park, in observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month, will celebrate its first Dia de la Familia. Dia de la Familia is a day of bilingual programs and activities (Spanish/English) commemorating the Hispanic heritage of the American Southwest and celebrating the daily contributions of Hispanics to visitors’ experience of public lands today.
— California —
Sand Sculpture Contest at Point Reyes
(California) — Point Reyes National Seashore invites you to the 28th annual Sand Sculpture Contest at Drakes Beach on Sunday, September 6. The contest will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. We welcome all ages at this free community event.
Prizes will be awarded in each of several age and group categories. Categories include Children (14 and Under), Families, Adult Individuals, and Adult Groups. Three prizes will be awarded in each of those categories, along with prizes for the sculpture that includes the most recycled plastic. The contest is free to participants and spectators. Registration begins at 9 a.m. at the Ken Patrick Visitor Center. Judging begins at 12 p.m., and prizes will be awarded at 3:30 p.m.
Parks Designated TsunamiReady
(California) — The National Weather Service has recognized Redwood National and State Parks as TsunamiReady, making the national park the first National Park Service (NPS) area to earn that designation. Employees won the recognition for the parks by completing a tsunami contingency plan, developing an employee tsunami response plan, and creating an ocean safety brochure for park visitors. Employees have also participated in tsunami exercises with the Office of Emergency Services in Humboldt and Del Norte counties and have taken an integrated emergency management course on dealing with tsunamis. The National Weather Service tsunami coordinator for Northern California, Troy Nicolini, presented the TsunamiReady plaque to NPS Superintendent Steve Chaney and California State Park Supervising Ranger Brett Silver.
Escaping for Catches: The Anglers of Manzanar National Historic Site
(California) — On September 5 and 6, Eastern Sierra Fishing Guide Cory Shiozaki will bring Manzanar’s wartime fishing stories to life. Mr. Shiozaki will share stories of some of Manzanar’s well-known fishermen, who secretly escaped from camp under cover of darkness to fish some of the best local fishing holes. He will show examples of fishing tackle made by hand in camp and answer visitors’ questions. On both days, he will present an illustrated talk from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., a walking tour from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., and an informal meet-and-greet from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The programs are free and open to the public.
— Colorado —
Dinosaur NM at Fun Fest
(Colorado) — Dinosaur National Monument will host activities at the Rocky Mountain PBS Annual Kids Fun Fest on September 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Denver, Colorado. Admission is free. For more information, please visit the Rocky Mountain PBS website at http://www.rmpbs.org/calendarEvents/?event=4724.
— Hawaii —
Vote for Award-Winning Video Online and at Film Festival
(Hawaii) — This summer, students from Ocean View to Kaimu produced videos that reflect their perspectives on Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The first annual “Digital Mountain ’09: It’s My Park!” engaged and equipped youth with digital media skills while strengthening their ties to the park.
Now, the public’s help is needed in selecting the winner of the People’s Choice Award. To vote, watch the videos online at http://www.digitalmountain-hawaii.com/ and select your favorite. There will also be an opportunity to cast your vote at the premier showing of the students’ films at the DM•IX Film Festival set for 6 p.m. on September 19 at the Kilauea Visitor Center. The winner of the People’s Choice Award will receive an Apple iBook laptop computer and a Mini DV Digital Video camera to jumpstart his or her video-making career. Other prizes for other categories will also be awarded at the festival.
— Idaho —
Climbing in the “City”
(Idaho) — At City of Rocks National Reserve, Saturday, September 5 will be filled with climbing instruction, safety awareness, and hands-on opportunity to climb a spectacular granite formation. Beginner climbers ages 12 and up are welcome to register for this activity. The climbing workshop will be held at Upper Bread Loaves from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will conclude with a sack lunch provided by the park at Emery Pass Picnic Area.
There is a $10 registration fee, which includes lunch. Space is limited.
— Kentucky —
Labor Day Guests from the 19th Century
(Kentucky) — Come to Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park for music and living history presentations honoring Labor Day on Monday, September 7. Singer Anne Milligan and re-enactors Eric Franz (Abraham Lincoln) and Zoe Jackson (Mary Chestnut) will perform. At 11 a.m., Mr. Lincoln will reflect on his life up to his election as an Illinois State Representative. At 2 p.m., visitors can listen to Mary Chestnut, one of the South’s most articulate women during the Civil War. These events are free and will take place on the Memorial Building steps. In case of rain, the programs will be held indoors in the auditorium.
— Louisiana —
Louisiana’s Share of “America’s Best Idea”
(Louisiana) — Discover Louisiana’s national parks and The National Parks:
America’s Best Idea. To kick off this new PBS series by filmmaker Ken Burns, sites at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve will show sneak previews of the series and Louisiana Public Broadcasting programs about national park sites in the state Saturday, September 19 through Sunday, September 27.
La Fete d’Ecologie at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
(Louisiana) — La Fete d’Ecologie (Saturday, September 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) celebrates Louisiana’s wetlands with a free day of food, music, dancing, exhibits, and fun. Presented by the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program at the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center on the banks of Bayou Lafourche, La Fete features cast-net throwing and duck-calling contests, demonstrations of traditional local crafts, and tips on how to help save Louisiana’s coast and culture.
— Maine —
Acadia Night Sky Festival
(Maine) — In celebration of the International Year of Astronomy and the area’s stellar night skies, Acadia National Park announces the debut of a new community festival this fall. The Acadia Night Sky Festival will take place in various locations in and around the park from September 17 to 21.
For more information, please visit the festival website, www.nightskyfestival.org.
— Maryland —
Federal Lands to Parks Program at Work in Charles County
(Maryland) — The National Park Service helps communities gain land no longer needed by the federal government and use it for parks and recreation. Since 1918, the Naval Surface Warfare Center on the Potomac River near Washington, DC, was served by a 13-mile rail line. When the rail connection was no longer needed, the National Park Service helped Charles County, Maryland, acquire the corridor in 2006. In the same year, construction began on the Indian Head Rail Trail, which connects Indian Head and White Plains, Maryland. The trail will serve bicyclists and pedestrians. A grand opening is planned for this October.
Watch Teens’ Films at Monocacy
(Maryland) — Monocacy National Battlefield recently challenged teens to produce creative documentary videos that highlight the park’s special features and describe why the battlefield deserves preservation. Entries have been screened and will be shown in the park’s visitor center during the month of September.
Manly Arts Day
(Maryland) — Come to Hampton National Historic Site from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 20 for a special afternoon of early American martial arts. Ongoing demonstrations of swordsmanship, fencing, boxing, stick fighting, wrestling, and cudgeling will show how men fought and defended their honor in the early nineteenth century. Visitors can view fencing swords and practice their own technique with wooden cutlasses, sticks, and swords. In addition to learning to fence, attendees can take boxing lessons comparing techniques used almost 200 years ago to those of prize fighters today. Although the activities to be featured were historically viewed as “manly” arts, all are welcome to participate in the exercises and demonstrations.
— Michigan —
FUN at Sleeping Bear Dunes
(Michigan) — On September 26, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Empire, Michigan, will launch a new program called FUN (Families United with Nature) to connect more people to the outdoors. The lakeshore will offer a variety of activities and programs throughout the year, with incentives and prizes for families that join FUN and pledge to spend time outside every week. At the kickoff campfire at 7 p.m., FUN family members will receive journals to personalize and record their outdoor experiences and will learn about future activities.
— Mississippi —
September 2009 Programs at Gulf Islands National Seashore (Florida, Mississippi) — On Sunday, September 6, learn about challenging conditions on Ship Island during the Civil War at the “Surviving Ship Island” program. Meet at the William M. Colmer Visitor Center. On Sunday, September 13, join a volunteer naturalist for the program “Mississippi’s Barrier Islands.” Explore theories of barrier island formation, discover island changes over the past century, and consider the future of the islands. Meet at the William M. Colmer Visitor Center. On Sunday, September 20, during “Cosmic Connections,” learn about celestial navigation used by our ancestors, discover fall constellations, and hear star lore.
Meet at the William M. Colmer Visitor Center. On Sunday, September 27, join a ranger for “Trees in the Forest.” Families will learn to identify trees using leaves, needles, bark, and seeds. This half-mile walk meets at the Nature’s Way Loop. All programs take place at 2 p.m.
— Newbraska —
Venture Crew 82 Now Forming
(Nebraska) — Venture Crew 82 is for men and women ages 16 to 21 who enjoy socializing, travel, camping, and educational opportunities and are interested in high adventure and electronic communication with national parks beyond Homestead National Monument of America. The program combines the resources of the monument, Friends of Homestead National Monument, Cornhusker Council Boy Scouts of America, and local adult advisers to provide an opportunity for expanded knowledge and enjoyment of public lands and cultural areas. The members of Venture Crew 82 will supply their own leadership and will choose which activities they want to join.
— New York —
No Strings Attached
(New York, New Jersey) — Anglers at the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area can now do their part for the environment thanks to a grant from the Sandy Hook Foundation. The grant provides bins for recycling discarded fishing line. Monofilament fishing line—single-strand, nylon fishing line used on fishing reels and in the manufacturing of fishing nets—causes untold harm to endangered marine wildlife such as birds, fish, manatees, and sea turtles and poses a hazard to boaters and swimmers.
Art Exhibit Stars Park
(New York) — Through September 26, “Views from the Battlefield…Conserving Historic Landscapes” will be on display at Saratoga Arts Center in the heart of Saratoga Springs. The exhibit features seventy original paintings depicting scenes of Saratoga National Historical Park and historic lands within the adjacent American Battlefield Protection Plan. The exhibit, which uses art to inspire and educate people about the value of the historic area, will raise funds for park partners and their work to preserve the battlefield and related sites.
“Obata’s Yosemite” and “Lenape: Ellis Island’s First Inhabitants”
(New York) — Two exhibits open in New York on September 8. Federal Hall will host “Obata’s Yosemite” from September 8 through September 25. Chiura Obata, one of the earliest Japanese artists to live and work in the United States, visited Yosemite National Park in 1927. This exhibition of 27 prints and watercolors and a series of 20 progressive proofs offers insight into the work he did while visiting Yosemite. On Ellis Island, the long-anticipated exhibit “Lenape: Ellis Island’s First Inhabitants” tells the story of the Lenape Indians from prehistory through the current century. The exhibit, housed in the Immigration Museum on Ellis Island, explores the Lenape Indians’ languages, cultures, and religious traditions.
The exhibit integrates a variety of materials, including prehistoric artifacts, antique books, maps, archival photographs, Native Lenape clothing and crafts, ceremonial objects, and illustrations. “Lenape: Ellis Island’s First Inhabitants” will run through January 10, 2010.
232nd Anniversary of the Battles of Saratoga (New York)
— Commemorate the anniversary at the battlefield on September 19 and 20. Eighteenth-century American, British, and German soldiers will take you back to 1777 with tents, campfires, and musket and cannon firings.
You can discuss strategy with officers, judge a court-martial, go on a “reconnaissance” party, learn about techniques for cooking over an open fire, listen to British Colonel Banastre Tarleton, and take part in mock musket drills. The camp schedule for Saturday is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday’s camp schedule is from10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A guided bicycle tour will take place on Saturday at 1 p.m. In “The Bubble Reputation,” actor Howard Burnham will portray Colonel Banastre Tarleton, the most hated British officer in the American Revolution, as he reflects on his own experiences.
The main performance will be on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. An abbreviated performance will take place on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Also on Sunday at 2 p.m., the Sons of the American Revolution and the Daughters of the American Revolution will offer a wreath-laying ceremony. The battle anniversary events are free.
Grant’s Tomb After Dark
(New York) — General Grant National Memorial will honor the president who signed the legislation creating Yellowstone National Park with a special program called “Grant’s Tomb After Dark” at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, September 22. This candlelight tour of the memorial offers a new way to experience the site.
New York Won and Lost September 1776 at Federal Hall (New York) — Federal Hall National Memorial will commemorate September
1776 on September 24 with a full day of costume interpretation, complete with period music and a lecture by historian Barnet Schecter, author of The Battle for New York.
Family Day at African Burial Ground
(New York) — African Burial Ground National Monument will offer a day filled with family-friendly activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 26. Arts and crafts workshops, dance performances, and ranger-led art tours will be available throughout the day. The events will take place at the African Burial Ground National Monument, located on the first floor of the Ted Weiss Federal Building at 290 Broadway. Upon entering the building, the public will have to go through airport-like security.
— Pennsylvania —
Film Screening at Steamtown
(Pennsylvania) — Steamtown National Historic Site, in partnership with regional PBS affiliate WVIA, will screen the film “The National Parks: This Is America” on Saturday, September 19 and Sunday, September 20. There will be 45-minute screenings on both days at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the park’s theater. The film is a prequel to the six-part, 12-hour documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan. The documentary is scheduled to debut on public television on September 27 (check local listings).
National Public Lands Day at Valley Forge
(Pennsylvania) — National Public Lands Day (Saturday, September 26) provides an opportunity for the public to help spruce up lands they own and love. At Valley Forge National Historical Park, volunteers can lend a hand to many projects, visit the Environmental Expo, and enjoy special programs and activities. Volunteer opportunities range from removing non-native plants to restoring trails. Participants can assist with a wide variety of activities, from highly skilled restoration work to clean-up projects requiring no special skills. The Environmental Expo features national conservation and environmental organizations, state conservation agencies, and opportunities to learn about how individuals can contribute to stewardship work on public lands. Participants will also have a chance to get a sneak peek of Ken Burns’s upcoming documentary series, National Parks: America’s Best Idea. The 12-hour, six-part series premiers September 27 nationally on PBS stations. The National Public Lands Day event at Valley Forge will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meet at the lower visitor center parking lot.
Washington Memorial Chapel Fall Festival
(Pennsylvania) — On Saturday, September 26, Valley Forge National Historical Park will host this autumn celebration. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes horse- and-buggy rides, crafters, food, and carillon music.
— Virginia —
Going “Green” at the Virginia Living Museum
(Virginia) — A grant from the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network, a partnership initiative of the National Park Service, supported the development of a new education center for “green” living, the Goodson House, at the Virginia Living Museum (www.thevlm.org) in Newport News.
Opened on June 20, 2009, the Goodson House is a 600-square-foot exhibition space where architects, contractors, and the general public can see and understand all the latest techniques and products used to build and maintain earth-friendly homes.
Built from recycled materials, including salvaged lumber and wood-like siding made from recycled paper, the house features a roof covered with living plants and a Geothermal heat pump and cooling unit. Visitors have the opportunity to measure their own carbon footprints using an onsite computer kiosk.
Prince William Forest Park Celebrates Its Heritage at Festival
(Virginia) — On Saturday, September 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Prince William Forest Park Heritage Festival will celebrate the park’s history as colonial farmland, a Civilian Conservation Corps work camp, and a World War II-era training camp for spies. Musicians, artists, cultural demonstrators, antique car owners, exhibitors, and park staff will gather in historic Cabin Camp 3 for a day of inexpensive family fun. Entrance to the park is $5.00 per vehicle, which buys a seven -day pass, or free for those with an annual pass to the park ($20.00) or an Interagency Annual Pass ($80.00). There is no additional charge for the event. Volunteers are needed to help staff the event. If interested, please contact the visitor center.
National Parks America Tour at Shenandoah
(Virginia) — Shenandoah National Park will host the National Parks America Tour on Saturday, September 26 in celebration of National Public Lands Day.
Almost 200 volunteers are expected to assist park staff in restoring Big Meadows and removing invasive vegetation. Activities will include an informative talk about exotic plants followed by a hands-on activity in Big Meadows at MP 51. A picnic lunch will be served for all volunteers.
— West Virginia —
Rangers-in-Training at New River Gorge
(West Virginia) — New River Gorge National River started a new program aimed at minority and low-income youth from the local area. The park is in the heart of Appalachia, and the surrounding counties include some of the poorest in the nation.
Children in these counties rarely if ever have the chance to visit the park and experience adventures there. The Rangers-in-Training program introduced kids to rafting, climbing and rappelling, fishing, hiking, and other fun. Ranger-led talks and learning experiences formed other components of the program. Thirty-six children participated in this inaugural year. The park plans to work with schools to offer these youths shadowing opportunities with park professionals and hopes to grow the Rangers-in-Training program in the coming years.
Cavalry at Harpers Ferry
(West Virginia) — On September 12 and 13, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park will offer “The Eyes of the Army: The Cavalry Factor” from
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteer demonstrators will go cavalry riding, fire weapons, drill with sabres, and play the bugle.
— Wyoming —
Historic Menor’s Ferry Resumes Operation
(Wyoming) — Grand Teton National Park recently launched a refurbished replica of Menor’s Ferry into the Snake River. Park rangers offer free ferry rides—and a way to return to the late 1800s and early 1900s—daily between the Bill Menor/Maud Noble Historic District in Grand Teton National Park and the Dornan family’s guest services on the east bank of the Snake.
Grand Teton and National Elk Refuge Encourage Use of Non-lead Ammunition
(Wyoming) — Officials at Grand Teton National Park and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Elk Refuge are encouraging hunters currently using lead ammunition to make a voluntary switch to non-lead ammunition during the 2009 elk and bison seasons. Studies by the non-profit research institute Craighead Beringia South reveal that during the fall hunting season, lead levels spike in the blood of ravens and eagles in Wyoming’s Jackson Hole valley. These and other studies have shown that fragmented bullets often stay in the remains of wild game and subsequently enter the food chain. Lead poisoning can result when wildlife ingest the toxin.
Though lead ammunition does not appear to be affecting large-scale population levels in the Jackson Hole area, a decrease in the amount of lead deposited in the environment during hunting season can help reduce the loss of individual raptors such as bald and golden eagles. By reporting the use of non-lead ammunition, hunters will provide Grand Teton and the refuge with a means to measure participation in the voluntary program this year. This measurement will help the agencies explore incentive programs to encourage additional voluntary participation during 2010.
Celebrate “America’s Best Idea” at Grand Teton (September Programs and Events)
(Wyoming) — In anticipation of the September 27 PBS broadcast of the Ken Burns/Florentine Films documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, Grand Teton National Park will provide numerous public events and programs:
a partnership event—free to the public—involving a debut segment of the documentary on September 3; a national parks film festival from September 2 to 6; outreach and activities by ranger naturalists and Grand Teton Association staff at a nonprofit fundraiser on September 12; and a Florentine Films Untold Stories film festival from September 14 to 18.
There will also be Hispanic programs with an interpreter for Latino visitors on September 20 and a September 24 book club discussion focusing on Creating the National Parks: The Missing Years by Horace Albright and Marion Albright Schenk.
Public Lands Day, September 26, will feature a public viewing of a 45-minute film, This is America, followed by various volunteer projects, including fence removal and several trail and painting projects; this event will culminate with a community picnic lunch.
Yellowstone on National Television
(Wyoming, Montana, Idaho) — On September 8, PBS will broadcast “Yellowstone – Land to Life” as a prime time special on Yellowstone National Park’s geo-ecosystem (www.pbs.org/yellowstone). Visitors to Yellowstone often do not realize they are standing on one of the world’s largest active volcanoes. The new film, produced and directed by Harpers Ferry Center filmmaker John Grabowska, interprets the sweeping geological story of Yellowstone: ancient glaciation, the uplifted Rocky Mountains, and the volcanic hotspot and its gigantic caldera. The film examines the variety of life that flows from Yellowstone’s landscape and reveals the intimate connections between biology and geology, the latter dictating where life exists and how it evolves.