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Contact: Roxanne Dey, 702.293.8947
Lake Mead National Recreation Area’s Centennial Challenge Proposals are two of 201 proposals National Park Service Director Mary Bomar and Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced today at a press conference in Yosemite National Park to celebrate the 91st anniversary of the NPS.
“The National Park Service has, after a rigorous review, certified these proposals as eligible for Centennial Challenge matching funds, and they are ready to go in fiscal year 2008 which begins October 1,” said Bomar.
The Lake Mead National Recreation Area proposals totaling $60,000 are part of nearly $370 million of proposals eligible for Centennial Challenge matching funds.
Director Bomar said, “The Centennial Challenge is a critical element in the National Park Centennial Initiative put forward by President Bush and unveiled by Secretary Kempthorne one year ago. The full Centennial Initiative is a potential $3 billion investment in our national parks, two-thirds of it a public-private partnership of matching money.”
The President’s fiscal year 2008 budget called for an additional $100 million a year for 10 years to be dedicated to bolster basic park operations, Bomar said. Congress has included the first $100 million for operations in the fiscal year 2008 budget that awaits final passage.
“The second part of the initiative is the Centennial Challenge – a funding mechanism to match up to $100 million a year over 10 years of public money with $100 million a year for 10 years in private donations,” Bomar said. “Congress has yet to finish legislation necessary to create the public-private centennial challenge.”
Financial commitments to the first round of proposals exceeded the President’s challenge. “We have about $370 million in proposals with not $100 million in private commitments but $216 million committed from park visitors, friends groups and other partners,” Bomar said.
“I’ve testified before Senate and House subcommittees and judging by the warm reception we received, I believe Congress will include Centennial Challenge money in our next budget. We look forward to working with members from both sides of the aisle to provide the key to the centennial challenge. When that happens we can make decisions on which of these wonderful proposals to begin in the fall.”
“Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the Outside Las Vegas Foundation – Southern Nevada Conservancy have committed $15,000 each in matching funding for Podcasts and expanding the use of the Forever Earth floating environmental education and research vessel. We are looking forward to getting started on our Centennial Challenge projects with our partners,” said Superintendent Bill Dickinson.
To be certified, proposals had to be imaginative and innovative, addressed critical Service needs, had a philanthropic partner, required little or no additional recurring operating funds to be sustainable, improved the efficiency of park management, operations and employees and produced measurable results.