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Contact: Edward Comeau, 409-951-6800
President Obama announced that his fiscal year 2016 budget request includes $3 billion to support the National Park Service's critical conservation, preservation, and recreation mission. This budget boosts the bureau's essential programs and operational needs by $432.9 million in the centennial year of the National Park Service.
Big Thicket National Preserve and the over 400 NPS units nationwide see this as an opportunity to welcome a new generation of park visitors to experience their national parks. "As we recognize and celebrate 100 years of service, it is our goal to connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters, and advocates", stated Big Thicket National Preserve Acting Superintendent Edward Comeau.
Comeau said, "The President's budget highlights the significance of investing in an important effort to attract and host visitors from our local communities, the national audience, and even the world." National park units play a vital role in local economies. For every dollar appropriated to the NPS in the President's 2016 centennial budget, $10 is returned to the American economy in the form of visitor spending, travel, tourism, and construction jobs.
"In the coming months, the staff at Big Thicket National Preserve will host special centennial events, including hikes to rarely explored units of the preserve, longleaf pine restoration projects, and service work designed to ensure continued stewardship of these lands", said Comeau.
Big Thicket National Preserve is in southeast Texas, just north of Beaumont and 75 miles northeast of Houston. The preserve consists of nine land units and six water corridors encompassing more than 112,000 acres scattered across a 3,500-square-mile area. The Big Thicket, often referred to as a "biological crossroads", is a transition zone between four distinct vegetation types - the eastern hardwood forests, the southwestern desert, the southeastern swamps, and the central prairies. Species from all of these different vegetation types come together in the thicket, exhibiting a variety of vegetation and wildlife that has received national interest.
For general information about Big Thicket National Preserve, visit www.nps.gov/bith or call the preserve visitor center at 409-951-6700.