Rocky Mountain National Park 100 Anniversary Photos & History
Rocky Mountain National Park 100 Anniversary Photos & History: Rocky Mountain National Park celebrated its 100 anniversary on January 26, 2015. For an entire year, from September 4, 2014, through September 4, 2015, local and national communities, celebrated Rocky Mountain National Park 100th Anniversary. Speakers, special activities, and community events commemorated the Centennial. The events were spread out over the year to allow for broader participation.
Park visitors were also found sharing photos and memories in a virtual time capsule dating back to the 1910s. On September 3 and 4, there were special rededication events at Holzwarth Historic Site and Glacier Basin Campground. Please view the videos of the rededication events further down on the page.
Photos of Rock Mountain National Park
Videos: 100 Years of Rock Mountain National Park
A Brief History of the Park
Rocky Mountain National Park’s creation began with a few local Coloradans. These dedicated Coloradans spent years organizing and standing up to development interests. Enos Mills, a homesteader, writer and trail guide led the effort. His crusade on behalf of the region earned him the title “John Muir of the Rockies.” He was later joined in by others, like F.O. Stanley, inventor of the Stanley Steamer. F.O. Stanley also built the grand Stanley Hotel in 1909.
During this time, the Longs Peak area was a playground for the rich and famous. By creating a National Park, the Park became could become accessible to everybody. The Park became a reality on Jan. 26, 1915, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the bill into law.
During World War II, visitation to all the national parks declined. After the war, a surge of baby boom families found the facilities in a state of disrepair. Post World War II saw and increased demand for recreation. This demand led to more investment in the park’s infrastructure. This including adding miles of roads to accommodate the growing flow of visitors. The park’s popularity has continued to grow to more than 3 million visitors per year. The RMNP has become the sixth most visited national park. The increase in popularity has not come without some negative impacts. Today managing all the traffic has become one of the park’s major challenges. With bumper-to-bumper traffic during the high season a shuttle system is now in operation. Even with the new shuttle system, increased foot traffic on the trails is having an impact, as well.
The Park’s Future
As the park begins its second century, it faces some challenges. Droughts and high temperatures throughout the West, has weakened the forests. These conditions have exacerbated a pine beetle infestation. On the west side of the park, the pine beetle has destroyed millions of acres of lodgepole and Ponderosa pine. Fire suppression was reported to be another factor weakening the forest. “Before settlers the fire was the way the forest healed itself; but since we started to suppress the fires, the forest is getting sicker and sicker.”
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