8/22/2012 9:58:00 PM Parks celebrate anniversary Saturday in Verde Valley
Special to the Courier
CAMP VERDE - The Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well and Tuzigoot national monuments in the Verde Valley will celebrate the 96th birthday of the National Park Service with youth-centered art events at all three sites from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Art played a major role in the creation of national parks by bringing the beauty and splendor of the nation's landscapes to the attention of Congress and the public.
The national park concept is credited to artist George Catlin, who wrote in 1832 about the need for a "nation's park" to preserve and protect the nation's wilderness and wildlife.
To honor the impact of art in the history of the National Park Service, the staff of Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot national monuments invites children of all ages - as future stewards - to come out and get creative.
The monuments' staff will provide art supplies for children to illustrate their experience at the parks and capture their beauty on paper. For children who would like to share their art with the world, the monuments might display some work on their websites.
"Birthdays are a time to celebrate and we want everyone, especially the children of America, to join the party," park Superintendent Dorothy FireCloud said. "National parks belong to all Americans and offer something for everyone - so visit the park, wander the trail, and take in the scenery."
The National Park Service was established on Aug. 25, 1916. The United States was the first country in the world to set aside its most significant places as national parks so everyone could enjoy them.
Today there are 397 national park units throughout the country. Some parks commemorate notable people and achievements, others conserve magnificent landscapes and natural wonders, and all provide a place to have fun and learn something. Plan your visit at nps.gov/findapark.
The mission of the National Park Service extends beyond parks into communities across the country where the agency works with partners to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities that revitalize neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life. To see what the Park Service does in Arizona, go online to nps.gov/AZ.
Regular entrance fees will be collected at both Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot, $5 per adult, free for children 15 and younger. Montezuma Well, as always, is free. Regular operating hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Christmas Day, when the sites are closed.
For more information about Montezuma Castle National Monument, including Montezuma Well, go online to nps.gov/moca. For information on Tuzigoot National Monument, see nps.gov/tuzi.