|Subscribe | What is RSS|
Contact: Jason Lott, (520) 723-3172
Tucson, AZ – The National Park Service wants your opinions on how to invigorate and strengthen the country’s 390-site National Park System during the next decade! A community listening session will be held in Tucson on March 28, 2007, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The session will be held at the National Park Service’s Western Archaeological and Conservation Center, located at 255 North Commerce Park Loop (see detailed directions at the end of this news release). This listening session will be hosted by Saguaro National Park; however, officials from other southern Arizona park units, including Casa Grande Ruins National Monument Superintendent Jason Lott, will participate in the session.
Last week Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and National Park Service Director Mary Bomar kicked off a series of listening sessions to seek suggestions and ideas from Americans across the country on President Bush’s National Park Centennial Initiative. The first session was held in eastern Tennessee, near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. During the next three weeks, sessions will be held around the nation 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.
“We will travel the country listening to our fellow citizens who care deeply about our national parks,” Secretary Kempthorne said. “This is a time for a thoughtful review of what needs to be done over the next decade - a great opportunity to think big and act boldly to develop a plan to prepare national parks for the future."
The Tucson listening session will be conducted in an open house forum, with brief presentations by local NPS superintendents at 5:15 pm and 6:15 pm. Participants are being asked to focus their comments on three vital questions:
- Think of your children and grandchildren enjoying national parks in 2016 and beyond. How do you imagine their visit? 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 signature projects and programs that you think should be highlighted for completion over the next 10 years?
An additional Arizona listening session will be held in Flagstaff on April 2, 2007, from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, at the Branigar/Chase Discovery Center Auditorium at the Museum of Northern Arizona.
The President announced the National Park Centennial Initiative on the 90th anniversary of the National Park Service, August. 25, 2006. Secretary Kempthorne outlined the plan during an event at Yellowstone National Park the same day. The President directed Secretary Kempthorne to establish specific performance goals that will ensure the national parks continue to be places where children and families can learn about our nation’s great history, enjoy quality time together and have fun outdoors.
The initiative calls on the National Park Service to engage all Americans in preserving our heritage, history and natural resources though philanthropy and partnerships; reconnect people with their parks; build capacity for critical park operations and facilities and sustain them through the next century.
In his Fiscal Year 2008 budget, announced in February, the President proposed the largest increase in operating funds for the national parks (a $258 million increase over Fiscal Year 2006, for a total of $2.4 billion) and called for three new $100 million components that could provide up to $3 billion over 10 years in increased philanthropic, partnership and government resources for national park programs and projects.
“This is money above and beyond our regular budget,” Director Bomar said. “It includes $100 million of additional operating funds for parks each year and up to $200 million annually for special projects and programs paid for by a combination of $100 million in donations and a federal match of up to $100 million.”
“By the National Park Service’s 100th birthday,” Kempthorne said, “the initiative will have provided significant resources to restore and better protect the parks’ natural, cultural, recreational and historic resources. There will be new and improved visitor centers, trails, campgrounds, and other facilities; more ranger-led programs; greater volunteerism and philanthropy. Visitors’ park experiences will be significantly enhanced. In short, our national park system will be prepared for its next century of excellence in conservation, preservation and enjoyment.”
In addition to the opportunities provided at the Listening Sessions, the public also may submit comments on the National Park Centennial Initiative online from March 12 through March 31, at https://www.nps.gov/2016.
Directions to the National Park Service’s Western Archaeological and Conservation Center, located at 255 North Commerce Park Loop. From Tucson east, take Broadway Boulevard through downtown, where it then becomes Congress Street. Travel under I-10 and over the river bridge to the first right turn onto Bonita Avenue. Head north, past a residential area to an office complex area, and take the first left onto North Commerce Park Loop. The NPS building is a brown block building on the left set, off from the street. Look for the flag. Parking is located in the front of the building, and overflow parking is in the City parking lot across the street. From west of town, take either St. Mary’s Road to Bonita Avenue and turn right, or Congress Street to Bonita Avenue and turn left. Both lead to North Commerce Park Loop.