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Let the Listening Sessions Begin!


    OK, folks, get ready to tell Dirk and Mary how you think the National Park Service's centennial should be marked. The first in a series of 14 listening sessions intended to take public comment on the National Park Centennial Challenge is scheduled for next Tuesday in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
    Actually, the session will be in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, at the park's maintenance area, but that's close enough.
    Both Dirk and Mary plan to be in attendance for the session, which is scheduled to run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    "The goal of the initiative is to provide significant public and private resources to restore and better protect the parks' natural, cultural, and historic resources," the Park Service says in a release announcing next week's meeting. "The plan includes new and improved visitor centers, trails, campgrounds, and other facilities; more ranger-led programs; greater volunteerism and philanthropy. Visitors' park experiences will be significantly enhanced."
    It will be very interesting to watch as these sessions progress and to see what the resulting report to the president will mention and propose.

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