Your Town, Aug. 21, 2016

Happy 100th birthday to the National Park Service, which will celebrate the milestone on Thursday, Aug. 25.

The event “kicks off a second century of stewardship of America’s national parks and engaging communities through recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs,” says the notes on the centennial page at nps.gov/subjects/centennial/index.htm.

My afternoon of research into the vast parks system turned into a fun mini-vacation in my head as I reminisced about the gems I’ve been so fortunate to visit. The “Find a Park” link at the parks website takes you to a map where you can explore the many locations.

There’s National Parks, National Monuments, National Historic Parks, Parkways and Preserves (not the jam kind, unless you’re referring to the cartoon episodes of Yogi Bear and his campground at Jellystone Park).

Our country is rich with historic, architectural and natural wonders — near, far, high, low, desert and water.

I compiled a short list of some of my favorites:

Alcatraz Island: The self-guided tour of the prison is educational and eye-opening.

■ Bryce Canyon/Grand Canyon/Canyonlands: I know that’s three, but I can’t choose between hiking the hoodoos, biking the White Rim and the grandness of the Grand.

Niagara Falls: The boat ride into the mist and force of all that water is a ride you don’t soon forget.

Statue of Liberty: I fought a lump in my throat and my eyes welled with tears, realizing the significance of the towering icon of freedom and democracy.

Glacier Bay (Alaska): Aquamarine water that whooshes through ice chunks, serene beauty.

Several activities are planned at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, near Montrose, to commemorate the Centennial of the National Park Service. 

Entrance to the national park will be free Aug. 25-27, as the park joins the Black Canyon Astronomical Society, city of Montrose and the Montrose Farmers Market to celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. 

All three days include programs at the park marking the meanings of national parks at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., and evening programs looking back at 100 years of change in Black Canyon and other national parks.

Additional events planned are:

■  1:30 pm. Thursday, Aug. 25:  Birthday cake and refreshments will be served at the South Rim Visitor Center.

■  9:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26: Night sky viewing with the Black Canyon Astronomical Society will take place near the South Rim Amphitheater.

■  9:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 27:  A Founders Day celebration will take place in Montrose at Centennial Plaza downtown in conjunction with the Montrose Farmers Market. 

Visit nps.gov/blca for information.

Fostering Hope, a local collaboration established by Mesa County Partners, Mesa County Department of Human Services, Court Appointed Special Advocates and The House, will host an informational meeting at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 30 on how community members can help kids who have been abused.

The meeting is at the Grand Junction City Hall auditorium, 250 N. Fifth St., and is intended to provide information to people who want to help, but aren’t sure where to start or at what level to become involved.

The meeting will allow time for questions before deciding what option is the best fit.

To reserve a spot, email Fostering .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 242-4191.

The Mesa County Historical Society will host a good old-fashioned potluck gathering from 5:30–7:30 p.m. Sept. 6 at Cross Orchards Living History Farm, 3073 F Road.

The annual get-together for members, families and friends, includes an invitation to the entire Mesa County community. Chicken, service, lemonade and entertainment will be provided. Take a dish to share or a donation to benefit the society.

The Palisade Historical Society will serve Palisade peaches and ice cream, and local guitarist and singer Bill Bartley will perform.

Pre-register to 242-8478 or 260-5226 with the number in your party to assure enough chicken and peaches.

The Mesa County Historical Society is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of Mesa County history through meetings and programs about local history.

Call Priscilla Mangnall at 260-5226 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The Grand Junction High School class of 1966 50-year class reunion is planned for Sept. 2–4.

The variety of events include golf and a social gathering on Friday, activities and a dinner on Saturday and a picnic on Sunday at Canyon View Park. 

Email Bob at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or call Fran at 245-3940 for registration and information.

The Western Colorado Community Foundation is accepting applications to the Mesa County Small Grants Fund. 

Small grants, ranging from $250 to $500, are available for Mesa County projects where a small amount of dollars in the right places will make a difference. 

The Western Colorado Community Foundation serves seven counties in western Colorado, managing charitable funds for community good.

Organizations applying for the small grants fund must be a registered 501(c) (3) with both the IRS and the Colorado Secretary of State.

Applications are available at wc-cf.org/nonprofits/grantmaking and must be received by Thursday, Sept. 15. 

Call Tedi Gillespie at 243-3767 for information.

Submit Calendar and community news items by email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), by fax at 244-8578, or by mail to 734 S. Seventh St., Grand Junction, CO, 81501. Items to be considered for Your Town should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the event.


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