Anniversary events for Olympic National Park this week (UPDATED)
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Liz Putnam, founder of the Student Conservation Association, is scheduled to speak Tuesday at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles.

By Leah Leach
Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — A conservationist who received a Presidential Citizens Medal — the second-highest civilian award in the United States — is expected to attend a celebration at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles at noon Tuesday.

The Olympic National Park, marking its 75th anniversary, and the Student Conservation Association, a national nonprofit that has placed volunteers in the park for all of its 56 years, will celebrate their June anniversaries.

The founder of SCA, Liz Putnam, who received a medal from President Barack Obama in 2010, will make brief remarks along with park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum and SCA's Northwest Vice President Jay Satz.

“We're happy to celebrate our anniversaries together, and we're especially pleased to have the founder of SCA join us,” Creachbaum said.

The public is invited to bring a brown-bag lunch Tuesday and have a piece of birthday cake while learning more about SCA and the park, she said.

Free admission and more

The SCA event at the visitor center on Mount Angeles Road leads up to the park's 75th anniversary Saturday.

The park will waive its entrance fees Saturday, so all can partake in the park's million acres of nature.

ONP concessionaire Aramark will host a reception with Creachbaum at Lake Crescent Lodge, 15 miles west of Port Angeles off U.S. Highway 101, and a picnic lunch at Log Cabin Resort on East Beach Road, also off Highway 101.

Creachbaum's meet-and-greet session with the public at the lodge will be held at the from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday

The lodge also will show historical memorabilia and offer refreshments between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, the Log Cabin Resort will host a free picnic lunch buffet with hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, baked beans, potato salad, chili, corn bread and sodas donated by Ed Bedford of Port Angeles, said Ted Arneson, general manager.

“It's a real informal, happy 75th birthday celebration to encourage people to go out and enjoy the park,” Arneson said.

SCA's first volunteers in 1957

It was on June 29, 1938, that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill establishing Olympic National Park.

In June 1957, Olympic was the first national park to have volunteers from the SCA, when the group placed 34 youth volunteers in the park, park officials said.

Today, 56 years later, SCA places more than 4,000 volunteers, interns and crew members annually at national parks, marine sanctuaries, cultural landmarks and community green spaces,providing more than 2 million hours of conservation service.

“Olympic National Park is proud to be the only location that has hosted SCA volunteers every year since the organization's founding,” said Rainey McKenna, park spokeswoman.

The first volunteers were work crews doing maintenance work, she said.

This year, the park has a crew of high school students, led by college students, building and maintaining trails in the Hoh Rainforest area, as well as four SCA volunteers working in interpretation, revegetation and in visitor centers, McKenna said.

Referring to federal cuts through sequestration, which carved some $640,000 from the park's annual budget — from $12.87 million in fiscal year 2012 to an estimated $12.23 million in 2013 — McKenna said that the observance of the 75th anniversary is low-key.

“The park is not doing any large event,” she said.

“We are incorporating the 75th anniversary celebration into programming that we already do” — the schedule of which can be found at http://tinyurl.com/onp-events.

Putnam, who grew up on New York's Long Island, founded the SCA after outlining her plan in her Vassar College senior thesis in 1955.

“Putnam receives the Citizens Medal for helping ensure that our nation's treasured public lands are enjoyed by future generations,” the White Houssaid on a Web page, http://tinyurl.com/citizensmedal2010.

Putnam also has won the Cornelius Amory Pugsley Medal, the Audubon Society Rachel Carson Award, Chatham University's Rachel Carson Leadership Award and the Spirit of Vassar Award.

For information about SCA, see www.thesca.org.

For more information about the park's history, see www.nps.gov/olym.

The public can add photos, videos or stories to the park's online memory book at www.olympicpark75th.com.

For a complete list of locations and times of numerous walks and evening talks at locations throughout ONP, go to http://tinyurl.com/onp-events.

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Managing Editor/News Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3531 or at leah.leach@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 24. 2013 8:21AM
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