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Contact: Charles Beall, 360 854-7302
Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced that three North Cascades National Park projects are among the more than 100 projects and programs in national parks across the country to be funded this year as part of the National Park Centennial Challenge.
The National Park Centennial Challenge is the public/private matching element of the President’s National Park Centennial Initiative to prepare national parks for a second century of excellence in time for the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016. The initiative includes a focus on increased funding for park operations plus a President’s Challenge: up to $100 million a year in federal funds to match $100 million a year in philanthropic donations to the National Park Service.
“With the nearly $25 million Congress has appropriated and nearly $27 million of matching commitments from our park partners, the Centennial Initiative today moves onto the landscape and into people’s lives,” said National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar.
“These three projects in North Cascades National Park will directly connect people to their park,” said park superintendent Chip Jenkins. “Thanks to the Washington Congressional delegation and our partners, we have special funding to increase opportunities for family fun and to contribute to the knowledge of high elevation climate.”
The three North Cascades National Park projects are made possible by matching donations from three organizations: Washington’s National Park Fund, North Cascades Institute, and Puget Sound Energy.
· Create Junior Ranger Program ($23,000) will improve learning opportunities available for families. This proposal will produce a new series of Junior Ranger activity booklets to engage the entire family, provide fun learning opportunities, and create lasting memories. $11,500 in matching funds has been provided by Washington’s National Park Fund.
“Washington’s National Park Fund is pleased to partner with North Cascades National Park in obtaining private, philanthropic support for this important project,” said Eleanor Kittelson, Executive Director. “The National Park Centennial Initiative is an outstanding opportunity to focus public attention on the magnificent parks in Washington State.” More information about Washington’s National Park Fund is available at www.wnpf.org. Washingtonians can also show their support by purchasing the special National Park license plate featuring a Lee Mann original of the North Cascades at sunset. Washington's National Park Fund receives $28 from the sale of each license plate to directly support the parks. Click the License Plate link at www.wnpf.org.
Welcoming a Diverse Community to the North Cascades ($100,000) will introduce a more diverse community to the park, particularly the Hispanic residents of the Skagit Valley. $50,000 in matching funds has been provided by North Cascades Institute.
“The face of our ‘gateway community’ has changed dramatically since the park was established forty years ago,” said Saul Weisberg, the Institute’s executive director. “Today, our community includes new families from Mexico, Latin America and regions of the former Soviet Union. This project will help all residents of the Skagit Valley – regardless of their cultural background – enjoy, appreciate and learn about the remarkable legacy of our national park system.”
Centennial Challenge funding will help subsidize the participation of schools that serve a high number of low-income families and students who speak English as a second language in Mountain School. “We look forward to opening the doors of Mountain School even wider,” said Tracie Johannessen, the Institute’s Education Director, “so more students can learn about their backyard, feel connected to this amazing landscape we share and be motivated to take better care of it too.”
North Cascades Institute (www.ncascades.org) is a nonprofit conservation organization based in Sedro-Woolley. Established in 1986, its mission is to conserve and restore Northwest environments through education. In 2006, the Institute began offering programs at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center, a partnership between North Cascades National Park, Seattle City Light and the Institute.
· Understanding High Elevation Climate Conditions ($20,000) will install two semi-permanent high elevation weather stations in the northernmost reaches of the park to record temperature, snow depth, wind speed and direction, solar radiation, and humidity. This data will be linked to a larger data set for sites above 6,000 feet elevation and would support the hydroelectric industry, salmon and trout recovery efforts, fire management, flood forecasting, and natural resource management efforts throughout the region. $10,000 in matching funds has been provided by Puget Sound Energy.
“Puget Sound Energy is an organization that is highly interested in the environment of the North Cascades National Park,” said Lloyd Pernela, Manager Planning and Performance. “We have been working with National Park Service team members to install and maintain weather stations to improve the management of natural resources through the monitoring and subsequent analysis of the meteorological parameters.” More information about Puget Sound Energy is available on-line at www.pse.com.
For a complete list of the 2008 National Park Service Centennial Challenge projects and programs please visit www.nps.gov/2016