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Hot Springs National Park Turns 100 Today—The Oldest Protected Park in the Country

189 years ago, on the slopes of Hot Springs Mountain in the city of Hot Springs Arkansas, the first piece of land in the United States was protected forever, 40 years before Yellowstone became the first national park.

NPS / Mitch Smith

Today, Hot Springs National Park will celebrate its 100th anniversary: ​​after being converted from a “Preserve” to a National Park in 1921. It protects 5,500 acres of forested slopes located on a fault that, over the course of thousands of years, converts the rainwater at 143 ° Fahrenheit, and sends it running off the ground.

Now for a bit of history: Hot Springs National Park is the only park mandated to freely give away its most abundant resource, and members of the surrounding communities come regularly and fill jugs with water from the hot springs.

Bathhouse Row, where eight different buildings house lukewarm pools, is a National Historic Landmark and for decades was the most visited natural spa in the country.

Hot Springs was also the first place chosen by a Major League team for “Spring Training,” and legends like Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Satchel Page and others prepared for the season here, enjoying the ability to rest and recover. at spas after training.

A year of celebration

A number of centennial celebrations will take place during the month of March and throughout the year.

For athletes, 2021 is the year of the Iron Ranger, and those who log 100 hours of running, hiking, rowing, or biking within the Arkansas park system will receive a special Iron Ranger patch.

In April, the month it was first declared a Reserve nearly 200 years ago, the park will offer specialized guided walks and guided tours to learn about the park’s history.

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On June 12 there will be a 1920s themed party, where guests are encouraged to dress up as characters from The Great Gatsby for a costume contest, musical performances, and more.

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A photo contest will be held each month on social media and on the Hot Springs website. Participants just need to follow the theme of the month and then send their photos to the park by email to [email protected], or through social networks using the hashtags # HotSprings100 and #HotSpringsPhotoContest. Each monthly winner will appear on the park’s website banner.

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While park staff warn that events could change due to COVID-19, Hot Springs is currently open to the public and is a great place to relax no matter the pandemic.

JOIN the celebrations – tell your friends everything …

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