|Subscribe | What is RSS|
Contact: Jim Carroll, 270.758.2191
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Park Service Gears Up for Centennial Challenge Projects
Mammoth Cave National Park will benefit from nation-wide proposals National Park Service Director Mary Bomar and Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced at a press conference in Yosemite National Park yesterday to celebrate the 91st anniversary of the NPS.
Among the $370 million in proposals eligible for Centennial Challenge matching funds are cross-cutting projects that affect multiple parks, including a national incentive to boost the Junior Ranger program and to increase the "All Taxa" inventories, an ecosystem-wide effort to catalog every living thing in the National Park System. At Mammoth Cave National Park, the All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory will focus especially oncave biota, said Mammoth Cave Superintendent Patrick Reed.
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, said NPS Director Bomar. 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 of public money a year over 10 years with $100 million of private donations a year for 10 years," said Bomar. "Congress has yet to finish legislation necessary to create the public-private Centennial Challenge."
Financial commitments to the first round of park proposals exceeded the President's challenge; instead of $100 million in private funds, park visitors, friends groups and other partners pledged $215 million, Bomar said. The NPS selected a number of individual park proposals from among nearly $370 million in projects as eligible for the 2008 round of disbursements.
To be certified as eligible, proposals had to address at least one of the five over-arching centennial goals. They also had to be imaginative and innovative, address critical Service needs, have a philanthropic partner, require little or no additional recurring operating funds to be sustainable, improve the efficiency of park management, operations and employees, and produce measurable results.
"Although Mammoth Cave National Park could not apply for the round of park-specific Centennial Challenge grants announced for the coming year, we are exploring matching fund opportunities with our partners and plan to submit proposals to be considered for the 2009 round of Centennial Challenge projects," said Superintendent Reed.
"I have the full commitment of the Director to work toward the goals of the centennial – stewardship, environmental leadership, recreational experience, education, and professional excellence," Reed said. "We have a great opportunity to reach toward these matching funds for 2009.
"Our park has a centennial vision and a strategy to implement that vision," said Reed. Mammoth Cave National Park's vision for the Centennial can be found online at www.nps.gov/maca/parkmgmt/centennialinitiative2016.htm.
Bomar noted, "Last week I sent an email to the men and woman of the National Park Service to inform them of our announcement. One of the replies I received says it best: 'This is thrilling! A win/win opportunity like we've never seen before. Thanks for the energy and vision for the NPS.'
"That thanks is for the many who worked to transform vision into action: Secretary Kempthorne and our friends in Congress, from both sides of the aisle, who introduced legislation to support the Centennial. But most of all, our thanks go to park superintendents, friends groups, partners, and an army of supporters," Bomar said.
"When history is written, the Centennial Initiative will be second only to the creation of the National Park System itself," she said.
The full list of Centennial Challenge-eligible proposals is available online at www.nps.gov/2016.
- NPS -