UNC Asheville events to celebrate the National Park Service centennial

Photo courtesy of UNC Asheville
Photo courtesy of UNC Asheville

Press release from UNC Asheville:

UNC Asheville will continue its celebration of the National Park Service Centennial with a series of events this fall. These events are free and open to everyone.

Oct. 20 – Look to the Hills from Whence Cometh Our Help – History, the National Parks and Western North Carolina – A panel of historians will discuss the roots of the national parks in this region, their impact on its economy and social life, and implications for its future. Panelists will be: Margaret Brown, associate professor of history at Brevard College, author of The Wild East: A Biography of the Great Smoky Mountains; Timothy Silver, professor of history at Appalachian State University, author of Mount Mitchell and the Black Mountains: An Environmental History of the Highest Peaks in Eastern America; and Richard Starnes, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and associate professor of history at Western Carolina University, author of Creating the Land of the Sky: Tourism and Society in Western North Carolina7 p.m. in UNC Asheville’s Reuter Center, Manheimer Room.

Oct. 24 – The Economics of National Parks: Issues and Opportunities – How does economics inform the national park experience? This event will feature two perspectives on economic issues and opportunities facing the National Park system in its centennial year. Carolyn Ward, chief executive officer of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, will discuss the need for nonprofit support of parks and outline the ways in which the foundation supports the Blue Ridge Parkway. Economist Steve Morse, director and associate professor of hospitality & tourism at Western Carolina University, will discuss the economic impact of park visitation on gateway and surrounding communities. Audience perspective on the values that people assign to parks will be solicited as part of the discussion. 7 p.m. in UNC Asheville’s Karpen Hall, Laurel Forum.

Nov. 3 – Poster Art and the National Parks – Joel Anderson led a team of artists who created new posters for each national park, mirroring the style of works commissioned by the New Deal WPA (Works Progress Administration). Anderson, founder of the Nashville-based Anderson Design Group, will discuss his approach to the poster project, which also produced the coffee table book, 59 Illustrated National Parks: 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service. 7 p.m. in UNC Asheville Humanities Lecture Hall.

Nov. 7 – Public Lands, Private Profit – Tim DeChristopher with Bryan Cahall – Climate activist Tim DeChristopher, founder of the environmental group Peaceful Uprising, will share the story of his act of civil disobedience – disrupting a December 2008 auction of oil and gas leases on Utah public lands near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, not by shouting or protesting, but by successful high bids on parcels despite having no intention of paying. He eventually served 21 months in prison, but his action led to a review and cancellation of many of the leases when the new Obama Administration took office the following month. He be joined by singer/songwriter Bryan Cahall with songs inspired by struggles for justice. 7 p.m. in UNC Asheville’s Highsmith Union, The Grotto.

Nov. 10 – Vistas and Voices – A Musical Celebration of the National Park Service Centennial – The Asheville Singers and UNC Asheville New Media Students will perform in a free concert. 7 p.m. in UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Hall Lobby.

These events are sponsored by UNC Asheville’s National Endowment for the Humanities professorship, the university’s Departments of History, Music and New Media, Office of Sustainability and Student Environmental Center, and the Western North Carolina Historical Association.

For more information, contact Dan Pierce, UNC Asheville NEH Distinguished Professor and professor of history, 828.232.2996 or dpierce@unca.edu.

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About Virginia Daffron
Managing editor, lover of mountains, native of WNC. Follow me @virginiadaffron

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