This year, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, but in 1972 crowds observed another centennial: the establishment of Yellowstone as the country's first national park. That's right. The first park preceded the National Park Service, which was established in 1916 to protect the 35 national parks and monuments then managed by the Department of the Interior and those yet to be established. The occasion (also the 36th birthday of the Blue Ridge Parkway) was marked with a day-long celebration at Doughton Park, where guests gathered for lunch at Bluffs Lodge. Read the original event announcement.
National Park Centennial Celebration 1972. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service, Blue Ridge Parkway.