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Gateway Arch is the focus of celebrations for 100 years of National Parks

LA Johnson

The superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial says the work to renovate the ground around the Gateway Arch could be an example for other national parks as they deal with the possibility of under-funding by the federal government.

Mike Ward’s comments come as the National Park System celebrates its 100th birthday.

"Passing Prop P and also an incredible amount of support through private philanthropy to do the work that’s going on on (sic) the Arch right now is another way that the parks will survive for a long time,  “ Ward told St. Louis Public Radio.

NPR reported on Morning Edition that the system is dealing with many uncertainties, including climate change and overcrowding.

It was part of the network’s special series focusing on the National Park Service centennial.

Locally, system officials have marked the milestone with a birthday party at Luther Ely Smith Square between the Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse.

It all reminded Ward of the fact he was with the National Park Service when it turned 75.

“And it felt important at the time. But I realized that I probably had the chance of still being in the park service when I was going to be able to celebrate the 100th,” he said.

“And here I am. It's very exciting. I don't think I'll make it to 125, but we'll see.”

National Park Service, Gateway Arch 100 years logo
Credit Provided by National Park Service
Events to mark the National Park Service centennial continue through Sunday.

Events to mark the centennial are planned throughout the weekend around the Arch.

That includes:

  •  “Blues at the Arch” concert on Friday night
  •  “Lift Every Voice Play” on Saturday
  •  “Centennial Band Concert” on Saturday
  •  “Switchback Kids National Parks Journey Recap” on Sunday

Entrance to the Gateway Arch is free throughout the weekend and tram rides are $3 off the regular price.

More details are online at GatewayArch.com/nps100

Follow Wayne Pratt on Twitter: @WayneRadio

Wayne Pratt is the Broadcast Operations Manager and former morning newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio.