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Contact: Mike Litterst, 757-876-2467
National Park Service Invites Comments on $3 Billion National Park Centennial Initiative
Richmond, Va. – In response to President George W. Bush’s call for a $3 billion infusion of funds to reinvigorate and strengthen America’s national parks in time for the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016, NPS officials are soliciting ideas and suggestions on the "National Park Service Centennial Initiative" through both public meetings and the NPS website. A meeting to hear public opinion on the future of national parks will be held on Monday, March 26, 2007 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Tredegar Civil War Visitor Center at 490 Tredegar Street in Richmond. For those unable to attend the "listening session," comments on the National Park Centennial Initiative will be accepted online from March 12 through April 2 at www.nps.gov/2016.
Participants will be asked to respond to three vital questions:
- Think of your children and grandchildren enjoying national parks in 2016 and beyond. How do you imagine their visit? What are your hopes and expectations?
- What role do you think national parks should play in the lives of Americans and visitors from around the world?
- What are the signature projects and programs that you think should be highlighted for completion over the next 10 years?
"These sessions are a great opportunity to think big and act boldly to develop a plan to prepare national parks for the future," said NPS Director Mary Bomar. From the session discussions, the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service will identify signature projects and programs, set specific performance goals and report to the President by May 31st.
About the National Park Service Centennial Initiative
The President announced the National Park Centennial Initiative on the 90th anniversary of the National Park Service, August 25, 2006. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne outlined the plan during an event at Yellowstone National Park the same day. The President directed Secretary Kempthorne to establish specific performance goals that will ensure the national parks continue to be places where children and families can learn about our nation’s great history, enjoy quality time together and have fun outdoors.
The initiative calls on the National Park Service to engage all Americans in preserving our heritage, history and natural resources though philanthropy and partnerships; reconnect people with their parks; build capacity for critical park operations and facilities and sustain them through the next century.
In his Fiscal Year 2008 budget, announced in February, the President proposed the largest increase in operating funds for the national parks (a $258 million increase over Fiscal Year 2006, for a total of $2.4 billion) and called for three new $100 million components that could provide up to $3 billion over 10 years in increased philanthropic, partnership and government resources for national park programs and projects.
"This is money above and beyond our regular budget," Director Bomar said. "It includes $100 million of additional operating funds for parks each year and up to $200 million annually for special projects and programs paid for by a combination of $100 million in donations and a federal match of up to $100 million."
"By the National Park Service’s 100th birthday," Kempthorne said, "the initiative will have provided significant resources to restore and better protect the parks’ natural, cultural, recreational and historic resources. There will be new and improved visitor centers, trails, campgrounds, and other facilities; more ranger-led programs; greater volunteerism and philanthropy. Visitors’ park experiences will be significantly enhanced. In short, our national park system will be prepared for its next century of excellence in conservation, preservation and enjoyment."