First Centennial Project Coming to Rocky Mountain National Park

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Date: June 24, 2008
Contact: Kyle Patterson, 970-586-1363

Youth will benefit from a $112,500 Federal grant made to Rocky Mountain National Park as part of the National Park Service Centennial Challenge.

According to Superintendent Vaughn L. Baker, “our non-profit partner, the Rocky Mountain Nature Association, has made this grant possible. Two years ago they launched the Next Generation Fund campaign to create a $10 million endowment to improve and expand youth education opportunities at the park. They have already raised over $1 million through private and corporate donations. Their funds will be matched by a Federal grant of $112,500 that the park applied for and just received. Collectively these funds are to be spent this fiscal year on internships, youth programs, environmental education, the Junior Ranger program and much more.”

National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar said, “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. It’s a great day for the National Park Service and a great day for the Next Generation Fund at Rocky Mountain National Park.”

The National Park Centennial Initiative is a 10-year program to reinvigorate America’s national parks and prepare them for a second century. This legislation, currently being considered by Congress, 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.

“This is how we put our Centennial goals on the ground and it’s quite a beginning,” Bomar said. “We have 110 programs and projects involving more than 130 individual, public and non-profit partners benefitting 76 national parks in 38 states and the District of Columbia.”

According to Curt Buchholtz, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Nature Association, the park and theNature Association have been cooperating on ways to improve and expand upon youth education programs. Later this summer a new Junior Ranger program will be launched

for 6 to 8 and 9 to 12 year olds. Youth seminars will be offered at a reduced rate. College students will be serving in internships working with youth and school groups as well as families. Several American Conservation Corps youth crews will improve trails and assist with resource management projects. An additional staff member will increase the number of school groups reached. Staff are also exploring ways to involve technology into learning and innovative approaches to education in the park are being considered. The Next Generation Fund is key to connecting youth to the park and creating the next generation of park stewards. Information on programs can be found at or Or, visit

Director Bomar said, “We really have to get cracking. Our rangers will need to quickly integrate new programs for the rush of summer visitors.”

The National Park Centennial Initiative provides a framework for the National Park Service to engage the public in its mission. Its goals and strategies will embrace new constituents and gain support from a broad array of public and private partners to ensure America’s national parks continue to thrive into the next 100 years. 

Centennial Challenge programs and projects for 2008 elsewhere in the United Sates include:

  • Lewis and Clark National Historical Park where park rangers and staff will adopt the Class of 2016, today’s fourth-graders, and bring them into the park for special programs several times a year until they graduate from high school.
  • Padre Island National Seashore will expand its project to restore the endangered Kemps Ridley sea turtle.
  • Water quality enhancement, restoration of endangered mussels, reintroduction of Trumpeter Swans and wetland habitat learning experiences for visitors at Buffalo National River.
  • Expansion of ranger interpretation at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park and the George Washington Memorial Parkway with new technology including podcasts and videocasts.
  • Rejuvenate coral reefs with a community program at Biscayne National Park.

For a complete list of the 2008 National Park Service Centennial Challenge projects and programs please visit .

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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