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President Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the National Park Service on Aug. 25, 1916.
The mission of the new agency was "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations."
As part of the celebration, entrance fees are waived at all National Park Service facilities from Thursday through Sunday.
Many of Utah's national parks and monuments will be celebrating the centennial this week with special programs, events and hikes.
Two of the largest will be in Moab and Vernal.
The Moab Information Center will host an all-day celebration Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with representatives from Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Natural Bridges and Hovenweep national monuments on hand.
Vernal and Dinosaur National Monument are sponsoring the Skies Over Dinosaur Astronomy Festival, with special sun telescopes, films and talks both in town and at the Quarry Visitor Center.
Here is a look at other centennial events planned in Utah parks and monuments as well as Great Basin National Park on the Utah-Nevada border:
Arches • Founders Day Celebration, Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Moab Information Center.
Bryce Canyon • Grand Reopening Bryce Visitor Center Exhibit and movie premiere, Visitor Center.
Canyonlands • Centennial Horseshoe Canyon Hike, Thursday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Horseshoe Canyon.
• Arts in the Parks, Friday, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., The Needles. Bring your own art supplies.
Capitol Reef • Founders Day Celebration, Thursday, all day.
Cedar Breaks • Summer Star Party, Saturday, 8 to 10 p.m., Point Supreme.
Hovenweep • Explore the Dark Skies, Saturday, dark, Visitor Center.
Dinosaur • Skies Over Dinosaur Astronomy Festival, Wednesday through Sunday, 2:30 to 4 p.m., Quarry Visitor Center. (10 a.m. until noon Sunday.)
• Our National Parks ranger talk, Thursday, 1 p.m., Quarry Visitor Center. Birthday cake served.
• Stargazing, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Green River Campground.
• "The City Dark" film, Wednesday, Uintah County Library, Vernal.
• Lights vs. the Night walk, Thursday, Quarry Visitor Center.
Zion • Centennial InstaMeet photo walk, Thursday, 10 a.m., Riverside Walk Trailhead.
Great Basin (Nevada) • Centennial Celebration and First Light, Thursday, 1 p.m.; take shuttle from Great Basin Visitor Center, followed by cake and an astronomy demonstration at the visitor center.