June 13, 2012
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore - One of thirteen national parks benefiting from foundation's 2012 Active Trails Program
The Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes have been selected to receive a 2012 Active Trails Grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks. Now in its fourth cycle, the National Park Foundation's Active Trails program promotes national parks as venues for community engagement, and encourages healthy living through various forms of recreation and volunteer service on land and water trails. The $18,000 grant will enable the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes to purchase signage for the first segment of the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail (SBHT), and to develop a "Trail Ambassador" volunteer program to assist in patrols and maintenance of the SBHT. The SBHT will be officially opened on June 20 at a 1:30 p.m. ribbon cutting event.
"Maintaining over 18,000 miles of trails is no small task," said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. "The Active Trail funds help parks across the country create or expand vital trail related projects, improving the visitor experience and encouraging engagement opportunities with each parks' gateway community."
Since 2008, the National Park Foundation has granted over $1.2 million through its Active Trails program. To date, Active Trails has engaged more than 3,100 volunteers and 86 project partners who combined have contributed over 13,000 hours to help promote, refurbish, or build national park trails that were ultimately enjoyed by 291,000 visitors (and counting!).
Dusty Shultz, Superintendent of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, noted how important the Active Trails Grant is to the opening of the SBHT. "The National Park Foundation's Active Trails Grant to the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes fills a critical need for the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. Trail signage was not included in the initial construction grant, and the Trail Ambassador and maintenance program can now be put in place for the trail opening."
In addition to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the 2012 Active Trails grantees include the following parks:
Antietam National Battlefield, Maryland
Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Gulf Islands National Seashore, Mississippi District, Florida
Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, West Virginia
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Louisiana
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, Georgia
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Alaska
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
New River Gorge National River, West Virginia
River Raisin National Battlefield Park, Michigan
A listing of these parks and their Active Trails project descriptions can be found on the National Park Foundation website.
The National Park Foundation and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore wish to thank the Coca-Cola Foundation for their generous support of the Active Trails program.
For more information on the National Park Foundation or how you can support and protect America's national parks, please visit www.nationalparks.org.