Friday, December 21, 2007

White House Chooses National Parks Christmas Theme

America's national parks are the focus of this year's elaborate White House holiday decorations. The remarkable displays of "Holiday in the National Parks" highlight the majesty, history, and diversity of the country's 391 National Park Service sites.

"It is an amazing honor for the National Park Service to be selected as the theme for the White House holiday decorations by the President and Mrs. Bush," said National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar. "Mrs. Bush is the best champion for our national parks, and the beautiful decorations in each state room showcase the natural and historical treasures found in parks throughout the country."

The holiday displays incorporate the wide variety of natural, cultural, and recreational features preserved by the National Park Service. Models of icons such as the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and the Statue of Liberty share space with paintings of scenic vistas from Grand Canyon, Zion, and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Holiday garlands intertwined with park objects including seashells, pine cones, and gold aspen leaves add to each room's festive feel.

The official White House Christmas Tree in the Blue Room is adorned with hundreds of handmade ornaments depicting national parks. "Each ornament on the magnificent 18-foot Fraser fir was designed by an artist selected by the park," said Bomar. "The ornaments tell the stories of our parks, just as our parks tell the stories of our nation."

Another visitor highlight is a scaled-down, but architecturally accurate, gingerbread reproduction of the south view of the White House, a unit of the National Park Service. Bush family pets Barney, Miss Beazley, and Willie can be seen frolicking on the lawn with moose, elk, raccoons, and other animals found in national parks.

"National Parks commemorate the people, places, and events that define the American experience," said Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne. "I am so appreciative of President Bush's efforts to recognize the important role of national parks in American society. Our country will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016 and the President has been instrumental in establishing a Centennial Initiative to prepare the parks for the next century."

news release of the National Park Service, Nov 29, 2007
See ViewImages for some photos of the decorations
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