Park rangers from Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and Curecanti National Recreation Area participated in the parade and fair commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Gunnison Tunnel. The tunnel is among the first irrigation projects built by the newly created Bureau of Reclamation in the early 1900s.
The September 26th event in Montrose, Colorado, provided park staff the opportunity to showcase the historic site of East Portal, the support town at the bottom of the canyon during tunnel construction.
Rangers handed out Junior Ranger Gazettes and rescue whistles to hundreds of children lining the parade route and staffed two booths at the fairgrounds, where thousands of people participated in a variety of events. Park rangers showed the power and value of water at one of the booths and highlighted the lives of people living at East Portal 100 years ago at another.
The anniversary event caps a year-long series of activities developed by park interpretive staff, including a wayside project for the East Portal town site, a unigrid site brochure describing changes brought about by the tunnel, a traveling exhibit showcasing objects in the parks’ museum collections to western Colorado communities, an essay series with local media, and special in-park programs to enhance understanding of the significance of the historic town and the project.