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Contact: Maureen Oltrogge, 928-638-7779
Grand Canyon, Ariz. – The National Park Service continues to accomplish work on projects at Grand Canyon National Park that have been funded, in part, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Recent projects include repair of the historic North Rim forest trails, some of which have been damaged by wildfire, and replacement of shingles on South Rim quarters. Approximately $495,000 in ARRA funds were received for the historic North Rim forest trails project and $194,000 for the shingles project.
To date, the primary focus of the historic North Rim forest trails project has been the Uncle Jim Trail, which is a five-mile long trail that winds through the forest to a point overlooking the canyon. The trail, which is also used by mules, begins at the North Kaibab Trail parking lot, two miles north of the Grand Canyon Lodge. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds are being used to purchase supplies and equipment, and to hire the experienced crews needed to complete the work.
Work on the Uncle Jim Trail includes rebuilding of surface structures that are designed to hold the trail in place, as well as the rebuilding of subsurface features, replacement of water bars, construction of hitching posts, and a gravel trail that will lead to a new composting toilet near the trailhead.
Once work is completed on the Uncle Jim Trail, trail crews will begin work on other historic North Rim forest trails, including the Ken Patrick Trail, Widforss Trail, Transept Trail and a number of other forest trails. Work on these trails will primarily include the removal of dead and downed trees, mitigating impacts from social trailing and re-establishing the historic footprint. Members of Grand Canyon National Park’s trail crew and crews from the American Conservation Experience of Flagstaff, Ariz., have been working on this project, which is expected to be completed in late 2010.
Funding from ARRA will also allow the National Park Service to replace asphalt shingles on 110 employee quarters in the Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. Old shingles will be replaced with 40-year architectural asphalt shingles. A contract totaling $590,000 was awarded to Traditional Roofing, Inc., of Flagstaff, Ariz. The project is expected to be completed in early 2010.
“Grand Canyon has a total deferred maintenance of well over $262 million, $24 million of which is attributed to trails and over $9 million of which is attributed to housing,” stated park superintendent Steve Martin. He added, “Work on these two projects would not have been possible without funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In addition to reducing the park’s deferred maintenance, these funds also help in creating local jobs, and help support the tourism industry that is so important to the economic vitality of the Grand Canyon region and the state of Arizona.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior. Of that amount, the National Park Service received $750 million – approximately $10 million of which was directed to Grand Canyon National Park.
These ARRA funds are part of a stimulus package that is an important component of the President’s plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century. Under the ARRA, the Department of the Interior (Interior) is making an investment in conserving American’s timeless treasures – our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage – while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.
“With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.
Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department’s economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery. Grand Canyon projects can also be followed on www.nps.gov/grca/parkmgmt/arra.htm. Chris Henderson, who was appointed by Secretary Salazar earlier this year to serve as Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, continues to work closely with Interior’s Inspector General to ensure the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency set by President Obama.
Additional Grand Canyon projects selected under ARRA include the rehabilitation of the historic trans-canyon trail (work began with the South Kaibab Trail in June 2009); preservation treatment on 130 miles of roads; improvements to wastewater flow meters to increase visitor health and safety; rehabilitation of historic South Rim housing; repair and rehabilitation of housing at Supai Camp (an area established in the 1920’s as a permanent location for local members of the Havasupai Tribe to maintain a residential area in the vicinity of the South Rim Village) as well as the rehabilitation of two non-historic structures at the Camp; rehabilitation of HVAC systems in the park’s Fee Management Office and Visitor Center; replacement of doors on historic South Rim facilities as well as painting the facilities to improve energy efficiency and appearance (the painting portion of this project has been completed); and purchase of five new alternative fuel transit buses.