North Cascades National Park Proposals Selected for Centennial Initiative
Contact: Charles Beall, 360-854-7302
North Cascades National Park, WA – Seven proposals in North Cascades National Park are among the 201 proposals totaling nearly $370 million that National Park Service Director Mary Bomar and Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced at a press conference in Yosemite National Park today to celebrate the 91st anniversary of the NPS.
Welcoming a Diverse Community to the North Cascades would introduce a more diverse community to the park, particularly the Hispanic residents of Skagit County, the park’s “gateway” community. The proposal would result in targeted outreach and specialized programming at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center that would help new members of the local community learn that national parks are places for family fun, learning, and recreation. Matching funds would be provided by and the work done in partnership with the North Cascades Institute. “We’ve been working closely with North Cascades National Park since the Institute started in 1986 and we are proud to be included in the National Park Centennial Initiative, said Kris Molesworth, Director of Development. “This exciting new support will help a broader diversity of people learn more about the environment of the North Cascades and take better care of it, too.” More information about the North Cascades Institute is available on-line at www.ncascades.org.
Cascades for Kids would design, fabricate, and install new furnishings and other structures to create a dynamic and fun children's learning area in the North Cascades National Park Visitor Center. A puppet stage, touch table, bulletin board, books, and games will encourage children to explore, play, and learn in a special area of the Visitor Center designed specially for them and their families. Matching funds would be provided by Washington’s National Park Fund.
Design and Construct Diablo Lake Overlook Interpretive Shelter would result in a new interpretive shelter for the popular Diablo Lake Overlook. The structure would provide an area sheltered from the sun and wind for park interpreters, a gathering point for visitors, and interpretive information through exhibits. This proposal would further some of the other work which has recently taken place at the Diablo Lake Overlook -- such as new restrooms walkways, and landscaping -- to create a welcoming and comfortable place to explore and learn. Matching funds would be provided by Washington’s National Park Fund.
Botany Forays – A Search for New Plants at North Cascades would engage skilled volunteers from the University of Washington Herbarium working in concert with park staff to conduct a botanical inventory of a targeted park area. This inventory would result in valuable species information critical for sound resource management. Matching funds would be provided by Washington’s National Park Fund.
Create Junior Ranger Program would create new opportunities for families visiting the park. This proposal would produce a new series of Junior Ranger activity booklets to engage the entire family, provide fun learning opportunities, and create lasting memories. Matching funds would be provided by Washington’s National Park Fund.
Understanding High Elevation Climate Conditions would install two semi-permanent high elevation weather stations in the northernmost reaches of the park to record temperature, snow depth, wind speed and direction, solar radiation, and humidity. This data will be linked to a larger data set for sites above 6,000 feet elevation and would support the hydroelectric industry, salmon and trout recovery efforts, fire management, flood forecasting, and natural resource management efforts throughout the region. Matching funds would be provided by Puget Sound Energy, Washington's oldest and largest energy utility.
“Through the generous support of the American people we are able to care for their national parks, including North Cascades.” Jenkins said. “We are proud to be working with North Cascades Institute, Washington’s National Park Fund and Puget Sound Energy to develop these proposals.”
“There is a huge wave of excitement among National Park Service professionals and our partners,” Bomar said. “We will create park-based centers for Junior Rangers, implement cutting-edge energy projects like fuel cells and geothermal and build multimedia wayside exhibits that “talk” to visitors. This is a victory for national parks and over 270 million park visitors we see each year.
“Last week, I sent an email to the men and women of the National Park Service to inform them of our announcement. One of the replies I received says it best: ‘This is thrilling! A win/win opportunity like we've never seen before. Thanks for the energy and vision for the NPS.’
“That thanks,” Bomar said, “is for the many who worked to transform vision into action: Secretary Kempthorne and our friends in Congress, from both sides of the aisle who introduced legislation to support the Centennial. But most of all, our thanks go to park superintendents, friends groups, partners and an army of supporters.”
“When history is written,” Bomar said, “the Centennial Initiative will be second only to the creation of the national park system itself.”
The full list of centennial challenge-eligible projects and programs is available on-line at the National Park Service centennial web site www.nps.gov/2016.