April 25, 2008
Debbie Conway, 315-336-3113
(Rome, NY) – Podcasts, cell phone tours and websites are part of the “Connecting Stories and Sites” project between Fort Stanwix National Monument and the City of Rome. The National Parks Service (NPS) will work with the City of Rome as they develop two new recreational trails within the city, The Mohawk River Trail and the Canastota to Oriskany section of the Erie Canalway Trail. NPS staff will develop a series of wayside /outdoor exhibits for the trails as well as cell phone tour stops, podcasts, a brochure and a website.
“This is a great opportunities for us to work with the City Of Rome and develop some high quality educational and recreational opportunities for area residents and visitors to the region. We are excited to have our project selected as part of the first round of Centennial Projects.” Says Superintendent Debbie Conway.
National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar said, “With the nearly $25 million Congress has appropriated and nearly $27 million of matching commitments from our park partners, the Centennial Initiative today moves onto the landscape and into people’s lives. It’s a great day for the National Park Service and a great day for visitors at Fort Stanwix National Monument.”
The National Park Centennial Initiative is a 10-year program to reinvigorate America’s national parks and prepare them for a second century. The initiative includes a focus on increased funding for park operations plus a President’s Challenge: up to $100 million a year in federal funds to match $100 million a year in philanthropic donations to the National Park Service.
“This is how we put our Centennial goals on the ground and it’s quite a beginning,” Bomar said. “We have 110 programs and projects involving more than 130 individual, public and non-profit partners benefitting 76 national parks in 38 states and the District of Columbia.”
For this project, the City of Rome’s construction of the two recreational trails is being used as a match for the federal funds received through the Centennial Challenge. Fort Stanwix staff expertise will focus in on tell the stories connected with the trails while the City of Rome will construct the physical connections between the sites. The 5.5 mile Mohawk River trail is planned between Bellamy Park and Delta Lake State Park and will go through the fort. It will also serve as the North Country Scenic Trail Route through Rome. The Erie Canalway Trail section between Canastota and Oriskany will also be completed and help link Rome to Utica and other areas via the multi-use trail.
Director Bomar said, “We really have to get cracking. Many of our parks have a short construction seasons for the brick and mortar and trail projects and our rangers will need to quickly integrate new programs for the rush of summer visitors who arrive in a few short months.”
The National Park Centennial Initiative provides a framework for the National Park Service to engage the public in its mission. Its goals and strategies will embrace new constituents and gain support from a broad array of public and private partners to ensure America’s national parks continue to thrive into the next 100 years.
Centennial Challenge programs and projects for 2008 elsewhere in the United Sates include:
· Lewis and Clark National Historical Park where park rangers and staff will adopt the Class of 2016, today’s fourth-graders, and bring them into the park for special programs several times a year until they graduate from high school.
· Nine national parks across the country will embark on a national effort to discover and catalog all plant and animal life in the national parks – technically speaking, they will conduct all taxa biologic inventories.
· Padre Island National Seashore will expand its project to restore the endangered Kemps ridley sea turtle.
· Upgraded and new interpretive trails at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, Valley Forge National Historical Park, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, Point Reyes National Seashore and other parks.
· Restoration of ancient redwood forest and watershed in Redwood National Park.
· Water quality enhancement, restoration of endangered mussels, reintroduction of Trumpeter Swans and wetland habitat learning experiences for visitors at Buffalo National River.
· Creation of the Institute at the Golden Gate to Advance Preservation and Global Stability, Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco.
· New or expanded Junior Ranger programs at many national parks.
· Expansion of ranger interpretation at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and the George Washington Memorial Parkway with new technology including podcasts and videocasts.
· Rejuvenate coral reefs with a community program at Biscayne National Park.
For a complete list of the 2008 National Park Service Centennial Challenge projects and programs please visit www.nps.gov/2016.