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Contact: Alanna Sobel, National Park Foundation, 202-354-6486
Contact: Kevin Bacher, Mount Rainier National Park, 360-569-6567
Contact: Jay Satz, Student Conservation Association, 206-324-4649
Mount Rainier National Park is one of 39 national parks selected to receive a 2014 America's Best Idea grant from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks. Inspired by Ken Burns' critically acclaimed documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," this program builds partnerships between national parks and community, state, and other public organizations, and engages diverse audiences in meaningful and relevant ways with national parks and inspires participants to become stewards of our National Park System.
"The America's Best Idea program connects people – particularly youth – to America's national parks, often for the first time," said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. "Through meaningful and memorable in-park experiences that highlight the natural, cultural, and historical treasures in our National Park System, we are able to inspire the next generation of park-goers."
"We want everyone to find themselves in a national park," said Jonathan B. Jarvis, director of the National Park Service. "These National Park Foundation grants will help people acquire a better understanding of their national parks and, hopefully, of themselves, through place-based learning and recreational activities. Native Americans who will visit traditional homelands, budding scientists who will study environmental impacts, and students from Gallaudet University who will examine aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act are among the many groups which will benefit from the grants."
At Mount Rainier, National Park Foundation funding will support three teams of youth recruited by the Student Conservation Association (SCA) from communities in Seattle, and from Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM) through SCA's "Base to Base Camp" program. Eight high school students and two crew leaders in each Community Crew will spend fifteen days working on trail maintenance projects throughout the national park, repairing trail tread and building bridges at sites like Klapatche Park and the Wonderland Trail. This is SCA's 20th year fielding Community Crews at Mount Rainier, and the third for its Base to Base Camp program. Eleven students from JBLM joined thirteen from Seattle on last year's crews. This year's crews will be in the park from July 6th through August 31st.
"We are pleased to have Community Crews back at Mount Rainier this year," said Superintendent Randy King. "These young people play an important part in the protection and care of our national parks, and they also represent the next generation of park stewards." Many graduates of past Community Crews have gone on to serve as seasonal or career rangers with the National Park Service or other agencies.
"SCA is honored to be the farm team for the National Park Service and other national resource agencies," says Jay A. Satz, SCA's regional Vice President. "SCA's success in engaging an ever more diverse young constituency with our national parks and public lands is essential for the future of American citizens' support of the national park ideal." Satz expressed appreciation to The Norcliffe Foundation for their financial support.
Mount Rainier's Community Crews are also funded by a grant from the Eleanor and Raymond Wilson Charitable Trust through Washington's National Park Fund, which supports projects at Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades National Parks. "Youth programs are one of our most important investments in the national parks," said Laurie Ward, Executive Director of Washington's National Park Fund.
The National Park Foundation wishes to thank The Ahmanson Foundation, Chapman Hanson Foundation, the Fernandez Pave the Way Foundation, and Subaru for their generous support of the America's Best Idea program.
The 2014 America's Best Idea grantees include:
Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area (KY, TN)
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site (KS)
Bryce Canyon National Park (UT)
Canyon de Chelly National Monument (AZ)
Cape Cod National Seashore (MA)
Cape Lookout National Seashore (NC)
Congaree National Park (SC)
Denali National Park & Preserve (AK)
Everglades National Park (FL)
Flagstaff Area National Monuments (AZ)
George Washington Carver National Monument (MO)
Glacier National Park (MT)
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (AZ, UT)
Grand Teton National Park (WY)
Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve (CO)
Independence National Historical Park (PA)
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (MO)
Jimmy Carter National Historic Site (GA)
Katmai National Park and Preserve (AK)
Kobuk Valley National Park (AK)
Lincoln Home National Historic Site (IL)
Lyndon Baines Johnson Memorial Grove on the Potomac (VA)
Mississippi National River & Recreation Area (MN)
Moores Creek National Battlefield (NC)
Mount Rainier National Park (WA)
National Capital Region (DC)
Olympic National Park (WA)
Point Reyes National Seashore (CA)
President's Park (White House) (DC)
Prince William Forest Park (VA)
Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park (CA)
Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway (WI, MN)
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (CA)
Virgin Islands National Park (VI)
Weir Farm National Historic Site (CT)
Wilson's Creek National Battlefield (MO)
Yellowstone National Park (ID, MT, WY)
Yosemite National Park (CA)
Zion National Park (UT)
A listing of these parks and their America's Best Idea project descriptions can be found on the National Park Foundation website.
For more information on the National Park Foundation and how you can support and protect America's national parks, please visit www.nationalparks.org. For more information on the National Park Service, please visit www.nps.gov.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at: www.nps.gov.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America's national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.
ABOUT THE STUDENT CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is a nationwide conservation force of college and high school volunteers who protect and restore America's parks, forests, and other public lands. For more than 50 years, SCA's active, hands-on approach to conservation has helped to develop a new generation of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save our planet. For more information, visit www.thesca.org.
ABOUT WASHINGTON'S NATIONAL PARK FUND
Washington's National Park Fund raises private support to deepen the public's love for, understanding of, and experiences in Mount Rainier, North Cascades and Olympic National Park. The Fund was founded in 1993 by a group of passionate parks people including Governor Dan Evans and Melinda Gates. Thanks to their vision, the Fund has been able to raise much needed funding for Washington's national parks, including more than $2 million over the past six years. For more information, visit www.wnpf.org.
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