Shenandoah is the third east coast national park in line for a 75th anniversary: Great Smoky Mountains National Park turned 75 last year, Blue Ridge Parkway is just completing its 75th anniversary year and 2011 marks Shenandoah’s jubilee year. To commemorate this succession, Shenandoah’s anniversary celebration began with a “passing of the torch” from the Blue Ridge Parkway on November 5th at the McCormick Gap Overlook on Skyline Drive.
The anniversary year will feature a rededication ceremony at Big Meadows on June 25, 2011 and a symposium in November 2011 addressing the next 75 years for Shenandoah National Park. The celebration will also include dozens of sanctioned events in the communities around the park that promote Shenandoah and the magnificent natural, cultural and historical aspects of this region.
In his 1936 dedication speech at Big Meadows, Franklin Delano Roosevelt said this of visitors to Shenandoah National Park: “In their tents under the stars, with an open fire to cook by, with the smell of the woods and the winds in the trees, they will forget the rush and strain of all the other long weeks of the year, and for a short time at least, the days will be good for their hearts and for their souls.” Nearly 75 years later, Shenandoah still delivers on that promise.