The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is hosting the third annual Decoration Day at the Blue Heron Interpretive Center on Saturday, May 20, from 12 to 4:30 p.m. (ET). This is an opportunity for park visitors and families that once lived and worked in the Stearns coal mining communities to join together for an afternoon of food, music, and fellowship. Participants are encouraged to bring their own picnic lunch, or food and drink will be available from the concession stand. There will be ranger guided programs through the coal mining community turned interpretative center as well as live music from the South Fork Jammers.
The park’s museum collection contains over 300 oral histories from local people and many historic photographs relating to the area. However, the National Park Service also recognizes that there are many more important photographs that could be included in the permanent museum collection. The park is interested in obtaining copies of historic photographs of the people, places and events that occurred in the Big South Fork area prior to the park’s establishment.
If you have photographs that you would like to incorporate into the National Park Service’s museum collection, please bring them with you to the event. During Decoration Day, park staff will be available to copy historic photographs of the Big South Fork area. Photo scanning will occur at the Blue Heron Depot (Mine 18), from 12 to 4:30 p.m. (ET). It would be most helpful if photo owners can identify the places or people in the photograph, and they will need to sign a release for the Park Service to use the photos in documenting the area’s history. In return for scanning a photo, the park will provide the photo owner with a free archival copy of the photograph and a digital copy of the photo if desired (please bring a CD, flash drive or provide us your email address). The Big South Fork staff appreciates the opportunity to help preserve the rich cultural history of the area.
Decoration Day is free of charge and wheelchair accessible. Everyone is welcome. This program is accessible by car or by the Big South Fork Scenic Railway. For directions or additional information, please call the Blue Heron Interpretive Center at (606) 376-3787. For tickets on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway, please call (606) 376-5330. For more information about Decoration Day, please go to https://www.nps.gov/biso/planyourvisit/blue-heron-decoration-day.htm.