2016 marks the Centennial of the National Parks Service (NPS) and throughout the year, NPS will engage in a broad public campaign called “Find Your Park” to reintroduce national parks, monuments, recreation areas and historical sites to a new generation of Americans. Parks100 is a newly founded committee of over 25 organizations in what is known as the “Grand Circle” region of Arizona, Nevada and Utah. Parks100 has joined forces to celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial in a new way. The committee has created a community, locally and online, to help visitors explore further into the Grand Circle area and find all types of parks, as well as local centennial events, suggested itineraries, educational resources, visitor centers and hidden gems.
Realizing the potential of a Grand Circle partnership with the Centennial celebration, Maria Twitchell, Cedar City/Brian Head Tourism Bureau executive director and chair of the centennial committee, established the group as a way to raise awareness on the unique and beautiful location of the region. Committee members consist of representatives from national and state parks, county and city tourism bureaus, the Bureau of Land Management, Dixie National Forest, and Southern Utah University.
“With the theme of “Find Your Park”, the Centennial is all about making connections with outdoor places and celebrating the unique bond communities have with the special places preserved within the national park system,” said Twitchell. “Nowhere else in the world is there an area surrounded by so many outstanding, national parks, monuments, state parks and recreation areas than here in the Grand Circle region. The Centennial presented us with a unique opportunity to collaborate as an area, to inspire visitors to explore more parks and celebrate our hidden gems.”
Cedar City’s connection to the national parks goes back to the beginning, as the gateway to Bryce and Zion National Parks and Cedar Breaks National Monument. According to Ryan Paul, museum curator for the Frontier Homestead State Park Museum, the Utah Parks Company originally brought tourists to Cedar City to visit the national parks of southwestern Utah and northern Arizona. Cedar City marketed itself as the “Gateway to the National Parks” and became the jumping off point for the tour groups.
The national parks in our area continue to draw millions of visitors from around the world each year; the surreal scenery and extraordinary events are unforgettable. In the shadow of these parks are hidden treasures, amazing opportunities for adventure and a completely new world to explore.
Parks 100 will help travelers in the “Grand Circle” area of Arizona, Nevada and Utah to not only experience the national parks, but to venture out of the well-traveled zone and Explore Five More® parks and outdoor recreation areas.
For more information on the Parks100 celebration throughout the southwestern region, visit www.parks100.com.