'People's forest' marks 100 years, seeks new connections

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A beloved national forest for hikers, nature enthusiasts, and artists alike is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its presidential declaration, and officials are asking the public to reflect on its history and envision its next century.

The once-threatened White Mountain National Forest is being celebrated by the U.S. Forest Service and the Museum of the White Mountains with the opening of an exhibition Wednesday that illustrates the 800,000-acre forest's past with artwork, photographs, artifacts and interactive experiences.

Forest officials are encouraging visitors and community members to connect with the land, dubbed "the people's forest." They're hosting events throughout the summer.

President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order on May 16, 1918, that established the landscapes in northern New Hampshire and Maine as a federally-managed forest.