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Date: July 27, 2017
Contact: Theresa Jung, 973 736-0550 x50

Thomas Edison National Historical Park Announces Partner Projects
 
NPS Centennial Challenge Program is Matching $20 Million in Congressional Funding with $33 Million from Partner Organizations to Support Projects at National Parks
 
WEST ORANGE, NJ -- On July 22, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced that the National Park Service is teaming up with partners across the nation to distribute more than $50 million in high priority maintenance and infrastructure projects at 42 parks in 29 states, including two projects at Thomas Edison National Historical Park (NHP):
 
Working with the Thomas A. Edison Papers Project at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the park will preserve and improve accessibility to the Edison Archives in West Orange. The funding for this project will be matched by Rutgers.
 
The historic line shafts in the heavy machine shop in Edison’s West Orange Laboratory will also be repaired for safe operation, with funds matched by The Friends of Thomas Edison NHP, Inc.
 
“These projects show some of the many ways that Thomas Edison National Historical Park is working closely with our partners to ensure that our visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience,” said park superintendent Thomas E. Ross. 
 
Congress provided $20 million for the projects as part of the Centennial Challenge program which will be matched by $33 million from more than 50 park partners to improve trails, restore buildings, and increase visitor access to parks.
 
“Our national parks span twelve time zones and attract more than 330 million visitors every year. This puts an incredible stress on the aging infrastructure at our parks and thanks to Centennial Challenge Grants and the generosity of public-private partners, we are able to distribute funds to rebuild our parks,” said Secretary Zinke. “Using public-private partnerships to help address the deferred maintenance backlog remains a priority for the Department and the Trump Administration. Park infrastructure includes trails, signage, restrooms, lodges, roads, bridges and waterlines. These funds will help us continue to provide a world-class experience to visitors and ensure that these amazing places are around for future generations.”
 
“Many of the national parks that Americans treasure today would simply not exist without the strong partnerships and philanthropy that have benefited the national park idea for over a century,” said Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds. “The Centennial Challenge program continues that proud tradition by matching dollars from Congress with generous donations from dedicated partners to make high-impact improvements in parks.”
 
 
Since 2015 the National Park Service has leveraged over $45 million in funding from congress through the Centennial Challenge program to attract more than $77 million from partner organizations to support over hundreds of projects across the country that have improved visitor services and strengthened partnerships to reinvigorate national parks.
 
For a complete list of centennial challenge projects and partners please visit http://www.nps.gov/subjects/centennial/nps-centennial-challenge-projects.htm
 
About Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Thomas Edison National Historical Park is a National Park Service site dedicated to promoting an international understanding and appreciation of the life and extraordinary achievements of Thomas Alva Edison by preserving, protecting, and interpreting the Park’s extensive historic artifact and archive collections at the Edison Laboratory Complex and Glenmont, the Edison family estate. The Visitor Center is located at 211 Main Street in West Orange, New Jersey. For more information call 973-736-0550 ext. 11 or visit: www.nps.gov/edis
 
About the National Park Service
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.
 

 

Group of students following a volunteer into the five-story red brick laboratory building for an interpretive program.
Group of students following a volunteer into the main laboratory building.

NPS Photo

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News Release Date: March 29, 2017

Contact: Thomas E. Ross, 973-736-0550 x27

West Orange, NJ - As the National Park Service embarks on its second century of service, Thomas Edison National Historical Park is celebrating the significant accomplishments of its centennial celebration and engagement with the Find Your Park / Encuentra Tu parque  initiative.

We are proud to announce that Thomas Edison National Historical Park recorded 57,694 visits in 2016, its best visitation year since the Laboratory’s grand re-opening in 2009-10 after the completion of a $15M rehabilitation, when 63,009 visitors came through our doors.  Superintendent Tom Ross credited the increased visitation to the Find Your Park national marketing campaign and centennial programming at the park.  Ross said  “we owe a great deal of appreciation to our community partners who collaborated in offering a broad array of new and diverse programs which met our goal of increasing and diversifying our visitors to the park.”  

This trend occurred across the country where centennial programs resulted in a significant level of public interest and social media engagement with the National Park Service (NPS) and National Park Foundation (NPF). The NPS, NPF, and partners across the nation reached hundreds of millions of people with the centennial’s Find Your Park message, and engaged the public in the NPS stewardship mission.

“Stunning,” Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds said of the 331 million visits counted across the National Park System. “We expected more visitors in 2016 as the NPS celebrated its Centennial with special events and activities, but these numbers really show the depth of feeling people have for their national parks, especially considering that increased visitation was recorded not just at the biggest and best known parks but at smaller historical and cultural sites as well.”

Half of national park visitation happened in 26 parks but visitation growth from 2015 to 2016 was greater, by 13 percent to 9 percent, in parks that see more modest annual visitation. “That shows the breadth of support for parks and, I think,” Reynolds said, “the Find Your Park / Encuentra Tu Parque campaign launched with the National Park Foundation reached new audiences but also highlighted what we might call lesser-known parks.”

Planning is underway to build on the success of Find Your Park / Encuentra Tu Parque as the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation, and other partners will continue the campaign’s momentum in 2017. The Find Your Park movement will continue to engage new audiences, especially around significant moments, including National Park Week (April 16-24) and the NPS 101st birthday on August 25th. Throughout the year, the NPS and its partners will invite the public to explore parks they haven’t yet discovered, build personal connections to special places in their communities, and find ways to help ensure that future generations are able to fully experience their national parks and the NPS programs that steward America’s treasures.

For more information about visitation, please go to the National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics web page at https://irma.nps.gov/stats/.


Thomas Edison National Historical Park is a National Park Service site dedicated to promoting an international understanding and appreciation of the life and extraordinary achievements of Thomas Alva Edison by preserving, protecting, and interpreting the Park’s extensive historic artifact and archive collections at the Edison Laboratory Complex and Glenmont, the Edison family estate. The Visitor Center is located at 211 Main Street in West Orange, New Jersey.  For hours of operation and more information call 973-736-0550 ext. 11 or visit: www.nps.gov/edis

Last updated: July 27, 2017

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