Park Service marks 99th birthday Tuesday with special events

Lake Mead National Recreation Area will celebrate the National Park Service’s 99th birthday Tuesday by waiving its $10 entrance fee. Birthday cake will be available at the visitor center, starting at 1 p.m.

At 1:30 p.m., also at the visitor center, a ranger will speak about recreational adventures on land and water within the park. The lake provides a variety of opportunities for water play as well as short summer hikes where a Desert bighorn sheep or roadrunner might be glimpsed. Call 702-293-8990 for more information.

While at the visitor center, guests can explore the cactus gardens, see a huge relief map of the park and learn about the park from exhibits. Another popular attraction is the award-winning park film, “Life in the Desert.” It shows every 30 minutes in the auditorium.

President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation to create the National Park Service on Aug. 25, 1916. Today, there are 408 national parks throughout the country and each one tells a part of the American story. Some commemorate notable people and achievements, others conserve magnificent landscapes and natural wonders, and all provide a place to have fun and learn. On Tuesday, all national parks will offer free entrance for everyone.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area was established in 1964 as the National Park Service’s first national recreation area to preserve the recreation potential and scenic, historic, scientific and other important features of the area. Last year, nearly 7 million park visitors enjoyed the site and added $290 million to the local economy and supported nearly 4,000 area jobs.

To celebrate the 99th birthday and in preparation for next year’s big centennial celebration, the National Park Service has created a list of 99 ways to Find Your Park. At Lake Mead National Recreation Area, visitors can find life in the desert (No. 17) , stand on a mountain (No. 19), paddle a water trail (No. 21), go biking (No. 38), and use a free active military pass (No. 54).

People are encouraged to share their experience on social media with the hashtag #FindYourPark. Select posts will even be featured on the national website www.findyourpark.com/share.

Additional information about the Park Service and its community partnerships and events, visit www.nps.gov.

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