Smokey Bear's Birthday Celebration August 12, 2017
COME MEET SMOKEY BEAR! Please join Friends of Fort Vancouver, the US Forest Service and the National Park Service for a one-hour celebration from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, Saturday, August 12, 2017, at the National Park Visitor Center, 1501 East Evergreen Blvd, 98661. The theater will feature a special short video about the return of life to Mount St. Helens (a part of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest) after its eruption in 1980, the Friends' Bookshop will feature Smokey books and memorabilia, and birthday cake & lemonade will be served on the veranda when Smokey makes his appearance.
Smokey was a real cub bear rescued by fire fighters in the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico. His paws were badly burned as he clung to a smoking, burned out tree to escape a wildfire. Smokey's debut poster was released on August 9, 1944, which is considered his anniversary date. Overseen by the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Campaign, the first poster was illustrated by Albert Staehle. In it Smokey was depicted wearing jeans and a campaign hat, pouring a bucket of water on a campfire. The message underneath reads, "Smokey says – Care will prevent 9 out of 10 forest fires!" Also in 1944, Forest Service worker Rudy Wendelin became the full-time campaign artist; he was considered Smokey Bear's "caretaker" until he retired in 1973. In the decades that have followed Smokey has been promoting fire safety in our public lands and has become a national icon.
Smokey's message is as true today as it was when he was rescued in 1944, but his contemporary slogan has changed slightly: "Only you can prevent WILDFIRES."
PS - Smokey's actual birthday (the anniversary when he was discovered) is August 9th, but we are celebrating on Saturday so more folks can attend.