National Park Service turns 100, Cape Cod to celebrate

A view from Highland Lighthouse in Truro. Celebrate the moving of the historic light on July 12. Photo by Maggie Kulbokas.

The National Park Service (NPS) turns 100 this year and the Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS) will celebrate with a full schedule of special events. According to Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent George Price, even though the official anniversary is August 25, the national park on the Outer Cape will celebrate all summer long. "This is an exciting year for the National Park Service," Superintendent Price said.

Legislation establishing the National Park Service was signed on August 25, 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson. At the time, the Department of the Interior had stewardship of 35 national parks and monuments. Today, the National Park Service maintains stewardship over more than 400 areas--over 84 million acres--across the United States including the Cape Cod National Seashore Park (established in 1961). The Cape Cod National Seashore is one of 15 national parks in Massachusetts.

The theme of the centennial is "Find Your Park" which encourages Americans to seek out and learn about their local parks. Young Americans in particular are encouraged to visit as they will be the future caretakers of the country's parks. The "Every Kid in a Park for Fourth Graders" is a program specifically geared at fourth grade students and their families. Fourth graders are encouraged to visit EveryKidinaPark.org to obtain a voucher for free entry into all national parks and federal lands. The voucher is good for all six of the beaches at the Cape Cod National Seashore this summer.

"It's a time to look back and honor those who had the foresight to set aside these remarkable lands," Superintendent Price said. "We also are looking ahead to envision who our future stewards will be, and how we can engage them."

Special events including concerts and festivals are scheduled at the Cape Cod National Seashore throughout the summer. The festivities will kick off with the annual Highlands Fest on Saturday, June 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Highlands Center in Truro. Also in Truro, on July 12, CCNS will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the moving of Highland Lighthouse at 2 p.m. at the lighthouse. July 14-16 Found Our Park! Celebrating Art in the Seashore will be held. On Thursday, July 28 the Curtis on Tour Community Concert be held at 7 p.m. at the Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham. On Thursday, August 25 the Science Street Fair and Annual Science Symposium will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Centennial Celebration Family Concert: 100 Years of the National Park Service featuring the Cape Symphony will be at 6 p.m., both at the Salt Pond Visitor Center. The Province Lands Centennial Celebration will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Province Lands Visitor Center in Provincetown the same day. 

As a special incentive to "Find Your Park", admission to all national parks, including the six Cape Cod National Seashore beaches will be free from August 25-28. 

In addition to the special centennial events, park rangers will present another impressive summer of concerts, talks, presentations, guided walks and more. Visit the Cape Cod National Seashore website for complete details.

About the Author

The CapeCodTravel staff aims to bring you the best of Cape Cod including tips from hospitality experts about the best places to eat, the best places to stay and how to make the most of your Cape Cod vacation.