Shenandoah National Park Marks 75th Anniversary

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June 24, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

Shenandoah National Park turns 75 years old this year.

And as part of the yearlong celebration, park officials are hosting a rededication ceremony Saturday (June 25) at Big Meadows along Skyline Drive’s milepost 51 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Culpeper Star Exponent reported

This free event will feature a full day of activities commemorating the park’s original July 3, 1936 dedication.

“This is an exciting year for the park and our communities. It’s a time to learn about the park’s past, to celebrate where it is today and to look forward to the next 75 years,” said Martha Bogle, superintendent. “I’m confident that working closely with our neighbors, communities and partners will help protect Virginia’s national park and will bring greater prosperity to the region. Through the 75th anniversary, we hope people will be filled with a sense of ownership and pride in their park and their region.”

During the original event, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered the keynote speech.

Arriving in a 1930s vintage vehicle on Saturday, a FDR re-enactor will read excerpts of the former president’s July 1936 speech, according to SNP spokeswoman Karen Beck-Herzog.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Gov. Elbert Trinkle, Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes, U.S. Sen. Harry F. Byrd and Hezekiah Lam also attended the 1936 historic event, according to Beck-Herzog.

Beck-Herzog said President Barack Obama was invited to Saturday’s ceremony, but his busy schedule won’t allow him to attend.

Instead, Peggy O’Dell, deputy director of the National Park Service, will serve as this year’s keynote speaker.

“The President’s Own” Marine Band, America’s oldest continuously active professional music group, is scheduled to begin playing at 9:30 a.m.

Seating at the performance and ceremony is limited to the people who reserved tickets, according to Beck-Herzog.

After the rededication ceremony, Beck-Herzog said the event will also feature special ranger-presented programs, musical entertainment and family events.

Also, special areas will be designated to help visitors learn more about Shenandoah’s natural, cultural and recreational resources.

The main stage will feature 1930s and 1940s era songs, modern hits by the Page County Ramblers, Jump Alley, the Blue Ridge Chorale and the Eklektix; and a one-act play performed by the Blue Ridge Youth Theater.

Special programs, such as crafts, wearing ranger uniforms and hand tool demonstrations, will last from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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