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Interior Chief of Staff Brian Waidmann to Host Listening Session in Miami on National Park Centennial Initiative

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Date: March 16, 2007
Contact: Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107
Contact: Shane Wolf, 202-208-6416
Contact: David Barna, 202-208-6843

WASHINGTON – Interior Department Chief of Staff Brian Waidmann will host a listening session in Miami, Florida on Thursday, March 22, 2007 to seek suggestions and ideas on President Bush’s $3 billion National Park Centennial Initiative to reinvigorate and strengthen national parks over the next decade.

National Park Service officials participating in the listening session include NPS Southeast Regional Director Pat Hooks and superintendents and staff of Everglades, Dry Tortugas, and Biscayne National Parks and Big Cypress National Preserve.

The session will be held at the Miami-Dade Community College Homestead Campus from 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. The campus address is 500 College Terrace in Homestead, Florida. The event will be held in the Aviation Building F, Second Floor in Room F222-F223. The listening session will follow a community forum discussing the Biscayne-Everglades Greenway.

The listening session is part of a series of meetings being held around the nation this month on the President’s proposal to provide up to $3 billion of new public and private investment to improve and expand national park conservation, preservation and visitor service programs by the National Park Service’s 100th birthday in 2016.

"This is a time for a thoughtful review of what needs to be done over the next decade and a great opportunity to think big and act boldly to develop a plan to prepare national parks for the future." Secretary Kempthorne said.

Participants are being asked to focus their comments on three vital questions:

● Think of you, your children or future generations enjoying national parks in 2016 and beyond. What are your hopes and expectations?

● What role do you think national parks should play in the lives of Americans and visitors from around the world?

● What are the centennial signature projects and programs that you think should be highlighted for completion over the next 10 years?

Based on these discussions, the Interior Department and National Park Service will identify signature projects and programs, set specific performance goals and report to the President by May 31.

The public also may provide comments online regarding the National Park Centennial Initiative through April 2 at the following site: www.nps.gov/2016.

WHO: Interior Department Chief of Staff Brian Waidmann; NPS Southeast Regional Director Pat Hooks; and superintendents and staff of Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades, Dry Tortugas, and Biscayne National Parks.

WHAT: Listening session on President Bush’s National Park Centennial Initiative

WHERE: Miami Dade College, Homestead Campus, 500 College Terrace, Homestead, Florida, Aviation Building F, 2nd Floor Room F222-F223

WHEN: Thursday, March 22, 2007, from 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

MEDIA: All credentialed media are invited to attend.

Directions To Listening Session

For more information about directions to the meeting, please contact Linda Friar, 305-242-7714 -- Everglades & Dry Tortugas; Sue Gonshor, 305-230-1144 Ext.3019 – Biscayne National Park; Bob DeGross, 239-695-1107 - Big Cypress National Preserve.

Did You Know?

Alligator in the swamp.

HP Williams and Oasis Visitor Center are popular places to see alligators. The best time to see large congregations of alligators is typically January-May. Do not feed or approach wildlife.