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Contact: Lauren Gurniewicz, 803-647-3969
Congaree National Parkis one of 23 national parks selected to receive a 2014 Impact Grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks. Now in its seventh year, the Impact Grants program provides national parks with the critical financial support they need to transform innovative, yet underfunded, ideas into successful in-park programs and initiatives.
With this grant, Congaree National Park will conduct restoration activities within the park's fire-maintained longleaf pine ecosystem. The restoration activities will include thinning vegetation around existing longleaf pines to encourage the development of a diverse understory, restore the natural density and composition of the forest and ultimately improve the overall forest health. Park staff, volunteers, and partners, including local K-12 teachers, will receive training in the science of fire ecology. Park staff and Artists-in-Residence James and Jenny Tarpley will hold photography workshops in fall 2014 and spring 2015. The workshops will focus on photography of prescribed fire-maintained landscapes in the longleaf pine habitat. The funds will also be used to develop fire education materials for park visitors.
"This funding will allow Congaree to continue our ongoing longleaf pine restoration efforts and allow us to provide greater public education on why such projects are worthwhile. We are grateful for the support of the National Park Foundation and their corporate partners in funding significant projects that can make a real difference in habitat improvement and public awareness," said Superintendent Tracy Stakely.
The 2014 Impact Grants were made possible, in large part, through the support of Disney and Subaru of America. A listing of these parks and their Impact Grants project descriptions can be found on the National Park Foundation website.
Congaree National Park protects the largest intact expanse of old growth bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the southeastern United States, with approximately 21,710 acres (82 percent of the park's total acreage) as designated wilderness. The Wilderness Act, signed into law in 1964, established the highest level of conservation protection for federal lands. Visitors can engage in non-motorized recreation in wilderness areas, including hiking, paddling, fishing, and camping. For more information about Congaree visit us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.