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      Van Riper celebrates 50 years as a state park

      Saturday Van Riper celebrated 50 years as a state park. The history of Van Riper State Park was told to all that were interested Saturday morning. Later a bike parade was held where children decorated their bikes and rode them around the campground, which was followed by a celebration with cake.

      Since around 1948, July 5 has been known as Van Riper Day and celebrates Dr. Van Riper for turning the area into a park.

      "The story goes that he was looking for a place to swim and he was changing his clothes in the weeds and some children saw him and he was embarrassed and so he decided to create a park here," said Doug Barry, Supervisor at Van Riper State Park.

      The area managed to become a park after Dr. Van Riper convinced the mine company to give up the land at the time. Before it was a state park it was also a county and township park, as well as just a regular old place to swim.