Rainbow Bridge National Monument Awarded ‘America’s Best Idea’ Grant

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Date: June 9, 2011

The National Park Foundation announced today that it is proud to award Rainbow Bridge National Monument a grant to support the launch of Providing Opportunities for Underserved Navajo Nation Youth Populations to Participate in Ecological Restoration Activities. This new and innovative project will bring together Navajo Nation youth and Rainbow Bridge National Monument staff that share a common goal of restoring natural conditions to areas of Rainbow Bridge National Monument that have been impacted by non-native invasive tamarisk plants. The grant is part of the National Park Foundation’s America’s Best Idea, a nationwide program which connects underserved and under-engaged populations throughout the United States with their national parks in innovative and meaningful ways.

"It is an honor and a privilege for Rainbow Bridge National Monument to be selected to receive this grant. This is a great opportunity to work with the young people of this area, as well as improve the quality of a world class resource like Rainbow Bridge," said Superintendent Todd Brindle.

Rainbow Bridge National Monument is one of the most significant sacred sites to Native American tribes on the Colorado Plateau, as well as one of the most photographed and visited natural bridges in the world. The Rainbow Bridge Consultation Committee has recommended to the National Park Service that the area exposed by the drop in Lake Powell water levels at Rainbow Bridge National Monument be restored to natural conditions. In 2011, Rainbow Bridge National Monument staff and Navajo Nation youth will join forces to restore natural conditions to degraded areas; exchange land management philosophies; participate in cultural heritage events; and most importantly provide local underserved Navajo youth with an opportunity to learn about and participate in park land management activities. This project aims to mentor local Navajo Nation youth to become the next generation of public land stewards.

"We must create opportunities for all Americans to have access to and enjoy their national parks," said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. "With these grants, we’re connecting more and more people to the parks, while building and strengthening long-lasting support, appreciation and commitment to protecting ‘America’s Best Idea’."

Inspired by the epic Ken Burns documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, the National Park Foundation, in partnership with Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, the Anschutz Foundation and the Ahmanson Foundation, awarded America’s Best Idea grants to 19 national parks across the country.

A full list of grantees and project descriptions is available on the National Park Foundation website,www.nationalparks.org.


Rainbow Bridge National Monument has undoubtedly inspired people throughout time. Tucked among the rugged, isolated canyons at the base of Navajo Mountain, Rainbow Bridge was known for centuries by the Native Americans who lived in the area. By the 1800’s, Rainbow Bridge was surely seen by wandering trappers, prospectors, and cowboys; but not until the early 20th century was the site publicized to the outside world. On May 30th, 1910, President William Howard Taft created Rainbow Bridge National Monument to preserve this "extraordinary natural bridge, having an arch which is in form and appearance much like a rainbow, and which…is of great scientific interest as an example of eccentric stream erosion." From its base to the top of the arch, it is 290 feet and spans 275 feet across the river; the top of the arch is 42 feet thick and 33 feet wide making it the world's largest known natural bridge. Today, Rainbow Bridge National Monument continues to inspire visitors from around who globe who come to marvel at its wealth of natural and cultural resources.


You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites -- all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks. Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks. We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow.

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