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Contact: Peter Bartelme, Yosemite Fund, 415/664-1503
Contact: Scott Gediman, National Park Service, 209/372-0248
Yosemite National Park, September 30, 2006 - Donors to the nonprofit Yosemite Fund presented the National Park Service with a check for $3.5 million for park improvements today in Wawona.
"Throughout the park, many projects made possible by The Yosemite Fund greatly enhance cultural sites, wilderness areas, and park wildlife," said Michael J. Tollefson, Superintendent of Yosemite National Park. "The visitor experience in the park is changing for the better in part because of the generosity of these private contributions."
This year, The Yosemite Fund, the park's primary fundraising organization, paid for 52 projects to improve Yosemite National Park.
A portion of the 2006 contribution paid $1.6 million restoration of Olmsted Point, the viewing area along the Tioga Road. This year's contribution also supported vital trail restoration on legendary Valley trails, new exhibits at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center, an exhibit of Chiura Obata's work to appear in spring of 2007 at the Yosemite Museum, and scientific research, including a survey of Willow Flycatcher populations and a study of the vanishing mountain yellow-legged frog in Yosemite. Currently, donors are helping restore Yosemite's most heavily impacted and traveled trails, including the 33 miles of the John Muir Trail in Yosemite, by contributing to the Fund's $13.5 million Campaign for Yosemite Trails.
"Individuals, corporations and foundations give to the organization because they love Yosemite and want to leave a legacy for today's visitors and all those who follow us," said Yosemite Fund President Bob Hansen.
The Yosemite Fund has raised more than $35 million for over 200 park projects since 1985. A record 85 percent of the money donated to the Fund goes directly into park projects. The Fund's donors have sponsored the renovation of the Yosemite Falls area, "Spirit of Yosemite" visitor orientation film, the Glacier Point amphitheatre, the exhibits at Happy Isles Nature Center, and 2,000 bear-proof food lockers.
For more information about other Yosemite Fund projects, see www.yosemitefund.org or call 1-800-4MYPARK.