Although she grew up in Tennessee, the first national park Betty Klepper visited as a 16-year-old was Yellowstone National Park.

"I was so impressed with Old Faithful," Klepper said. "The hot bubbling pools and all the geological stuff really impressed me."

Old Faithful left such an impression on Klepper that she wrote a college paper on how the geyser worked.

Over the past dozen or so years, Klepper has visited 40 of the country's 58 officially designated national parks.

"Most of them are truly national treasures," she said.

Klepper has been impressed with the vigor and growth of the Pendleton Public Library.

For that reason, the Pendleton woman donated funding for National Parks of the West - a collection and redecorated area of the library to showcase what the country's national parks have to offer.

To celebrate the new collection, a ribbon-cutting reception will be held Thursday at 6:30 p.m., in the library's commons, 502 S.W. Dorion Ave., Pendleton. Additionally, Steve Mark, a Crater Lake National Park historian, will present an overview of the park beginning at 7 p.m., in the community room.

Kat Davis, library director, said the collection, which will be developed over a 10-year period, will include books as well as DVDs, maps, field guides, vacation planning materials and a computer terminal dedicated to Internet access to the National Park Service.

"People can do vacation planning - it's pretty neat," Davis said.

Klepper has found national parks can be very affordable to visit.

Along with Yellowstone, Klepper named Tennessee's Great Smoky National Park, Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska and Yosemite National Park in California as some of the most beautiful parks.

"Arches National Park or some of the ones in Utah that are vast areas of erosion remnants are so pretty - especially at sunrise and sunset," Klepper added.

With access to the new collection, library patrons can explore features of each park.

Davis said rangers at national parks were contacted to obtain core materials about the parks.

"It's been great working with the various parks," she said. "What's amazing is how diverse the national parks are."

Included in the project, Davis said, is a provision to bring speakers in to talk about various aspects of the national parks.

The collection will be showcased in the newly redecorated commons area. Davis said the area has comfortable chairs, coffee tables and a display case for artifacts from featured national parks.

Davis anticipates featuring a different national park or region every other month or so. Materials from the national park collection will be rotated into the regular library shelves when not being showcased.

For more information, call the library at 541-966-0380.

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