The beginning of the year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of Rocky Mountain National Park starts this September and guest blogger, the Rocky Mountain Conservancy shares with us the history of the park, special centennial events and how you can get involved in the celebration this year:

Rocky Mountain National Park was established 100 years ago because people saw value in conserving the land. Passion for preserving this area spread like wildfire from various groups to Congress such as: Conservationists, Women's Clubs, Colorado Mountain Club, Enos Mills, etc. However, Congress received their fair share of opposition to creating the park from ranchers, miners, cattlemen, and the Front Range Settlers League of Estes Park. The controversy involving preserving this land finally ended with the creation of the national park in 1915.

Starting on September 3, 2014 through September 4, 2015, Rocky Mountain National Park will be celebrating the park's 100 year Anniversary. Rocky Mountain National Park was a special place for humans long before Woodrow Wilson signed the park into law in January, 1915, and long before white settlers arrived to America. Rocky is so important and full of culture to us now because many have come to settle this area, and with evidence, we have found that humans began occupying this land starting 10,000 years ago.

From the early settlers such as the Ute and Arapaho Native American tribes, the European settlers, to the people who were so instrumental in establishing this park, there are other aspects of the park that make it unique to the 3 million visitors who visit per year from around the globe. The wildlife, the places, and the stories are what create such lasting memories for every family, individual, and all demographics of visitors.

Other than the beautiful landscape sculpted by glaciers, streams, and geological processes, our wildlife seem to be an immense attractor for our visitors. Whether you are spending time in the montane ecosystem, subalpine, or the alpine ecosystem, you will encounter majestic animals. As you venture through the park, you may see bighorn sheep, elk, moose, marmot, pika, mule deer, coyotes, black bears, cougars, and many other small animals who live in the park. In Rocky, all things are connected and cyclical. No matter what interests you, this park is a fascinating place to examine and enjoy.

How will you celebrate Rocky Mountain National Park's 100th birthday? There are numerous ways to show your love for the park this year. You could go on a hike with your family, take photos of different aspects of the park you think are special like wildlife, different seasons, flora and fauna, etc., or take a drive and view the wildlife like bighorn sheep. And the best part is; you do not have to venture out on your own! The Rocky Mountain Conservancy will be offering Centennial seminars everyone can enjoy.

On September 5th, hike with a naturalist on the Ute Trail. Learn why the Ute Indian tribe stills calls the area Rocky Mountain National Park area their home.

On September 13th, learn all about the Bighorn Sheep Management within the park, as well as the ecology associated with this exceptional animal.

And on September 20th, access your artistic side with John Fielder while you photograph wildlife and the wonders of Rocky during autumn!

For further information on Centennial Celebrations with the Rocky Mountain Conservancy, please call (970) 586-3262 or visit the Rocky Mountain Conservancy Website.
Written by: Rocky Mountain Conservancy Fellow: Jamie Ragusa