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Death Valley to celebrate Founder’s Day weekend with free entrance

Death Valley National Park will continue the year-long celebration of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary with a trio of free days this weekend.

Beginning with Thursday, in association with Founders Day, all national parks will feature free entrance days through Sunday.

In addition to entrance fees being waived Thursday, Death Valley will host a birthday party for the National Park Service, including a reception with cake and refreshments. The celebration will take place from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. in the visitor center.

On Aug. 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the National Park Service “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations.”

During the free weekend, visitors can view “Historic Photography in Death Valley,” a special exhibit on display in the Furnace Creek visitor center for the rest of the year.

The exhibit features the work of various photographers, including the likes of Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, Frederick I. Monsen and George A. Grant.

Each of these photographers represents a varied take on photography in Death Valley from the late 19th through the mid-20th century.

Monsen was a classic frontier photographer, while Weston and Adams worked closely with park rangers as depression-era photographers and produced photographs used by the Works Progress Administration.

Visitors can also take in the desert landscape in Death Valley with a scenic drive to avoid the heat, or take a hike, such as the Wildrose Peak trail, in the cool mountain air.

The 100-year anniversary celebration continues in October, as the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act will take place. The law was essential to the protection of many historic structures on public lands all over the country.

During the weekend of Oct. 15 and 16 events will be held celebrating Death Valley’s history, from prehistoric archaeology to Mission 66 National Park Service architecture.

These events are for all visitors, and include children’s activities, ranger programs, and talks and demonstrations by experts. A full schedule of events will be posted on the Death Valley National Park website at www.nps.gov/deva.

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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