How should you celebrate the National Park Service's Centennial? By choosing your own adventure.

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Looking for that one big event where you can take part in the celebration of the National Park Service centennial?

Sorry to disappoint, but the park service isn’t compiling any top 10 lists of can’t-miss birthday parties.

Instead, the National Park Service wants you to “find your park.”

“Early on the decision was made to not identify key signature events,” says NPS spokeswoman Elizabeth Stern. “That would run contrary to what we’re trying to do, which is to get people into all of the parks. The point of the centennial is to emphasize that we have 411 parks, and each one is so different. It shouldn’t be up to us in Washington to say, ‘Here’s what we want you to do.'”

So where do you begin to figure out how to join the celebration?

Well, every park was asked to come up with a unique way to mark the milestone. So, says Stern, just go to and start browsing. You can search by state or look at listings for centennial events in chronological order.

A screenshot of the interactive map of National Parks available at
A screenshot of the interactive map of National Parks available at

Events include a tractor relay across Nebraska, performances at the Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site in Danville, Calif., and a recitation of the historic speeches that marked the 1916 conservation of land in Maine that became Acadia National Park.

Stern notes that parks in different regions have different peak seasons, so some parks may have already held their signature centennial events, while others may be scheduled for summer or fall.

And remember: You don’t have to drive cross-country, go camping or plan a 10-mile hike to participate. Finding an interesting event near you that’s worth a day or an afternoon of your time may be just as meaningful as a big trip.