|Thursday, Jan 17, 2008|
On Wednesday, January 16th, Pinnacles National Monument began its year long centennial celebration with a rededication ceremony. Nearly 150 attended the ceremony, held to honor the untiring community initiative and support which lead to the establishment of Pinnacles as a national monument by President Theodore Roosevelt on January 16, 1908, and the continuing legacy of community involvement and stewardship that has been crucial to the park.
Gathered outside the Bear Gulch Nature Center, the crowd was filled with a multigenerational patchwork of National Park Service families, descendents of the original homesteaders and area settlers, and new families and young students eager to become the next generation of stewards.
The ceremony opened with an American Legion/Veterans of Foreign Wars color guard ceremony and traditional prayer by Amah Mutsun tribal chairperson Val Lopez.
Theodore Roosevelt, played by actor Ron Browning, greeted guests and read the original January 16, 1908, proclamation. Local, state, and federal representatives then presented 2008 proclamations, including Reb Monaco, District Four representative from the San Benito County board of supervisors; Alec Arago, district director for Congress member Sam Farr; and Hillary Bishop Pearson, special projects director for United States Senator Barbara Boxer.
Awards were presented by Pacific West Region deputy regional director George J. Turnbull and Pinnacles superintendent Eric Brunnemann to Ernie and Rose Prewett for service as a Civilian Conservation Corps enrollee and long time park supporters and to Darrell Chambers in recognition of three generations and seven family members of dedication to preserving and protecting the park. Two former superintendents, Jim Sleznick and Rod Broyles, presented awards to Leticia Ruiz, Lisa Lee Smith, and Robert Gutierrez for over 30 years of service to Pinnacles.
From celebrating the gray of the service, the ceremony moved to the green with songs and poems by Jefferson School K-8 students. The official ceremony concluded with âTaps,â the American Legion/Veterans of Foreign Wars color guard retiring the colors, and a song by Marvin Marine, a tribal member of the Maidu and Ohlone Tribes.
After visitors and guests warmed up with some soup and hot chocolate as park staff cut the centennial birthday cake, retired ranger Charles Ewing presented interpretive talks in the Bear Gulch area.
This is the first in a series of centennial events. For more information please see our web page: www.nps.gov/pinn/parkmgmt/centennial.htm