|From left to right, Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and Vice President Dick Cheney at the dedication of the new Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center.|
MOOSE, WY – Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today helped formally dedicate the new Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Grand Teton National Park. Kempthorne joined Vice President Dick Cheney, National Park Service Director Mary Bomar, U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, and Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott, and Susan Thomas, the wife of the late Senator Craig Thomas, for the ceremony.
“Today we celebrate the memory of a remarkable man, Sen. Craig Thomas, the passionate partnership that built this visitor center, and the national parks that inspire us all," Kempthorne said. “Craig Thomas was a United States Marine, a man tough as nails, yet was a perfect gentleman. He loved America the beautiful, especially the national parks here in Wyoming.
"I knew Craig Thomas when I was in the United States Senate and I treasured his friendship and his counsel, both as a senator and when I became Secretary of the Interior. To Susan Thomas and all the members of the Thomas family, I and a grateful nation and all of Wyoming honor your husband, father and grandfather. Thank you for sharing him with us."
The new visitor center was named for the late Senator Thomas by an act of Congress and signed into law by President Bush on July 13, 2007. The Center is a collaborative project, funded by the National Park Service in partnership with the Grand Teton Association and the Grand Teton National Park Foundation. This new facility will attract, welcome, educate and inspire visitors, while encouraging the development of personal connections to this extraordinary park.
“Just as you have made this national park better, all across America new energy and partnerships are at work ensuring that the American love affair with national parks endures. Americans love their parks. It takes the passion of the American people – and their deep love for our parks – to build a center like this,” Kempthorne said. “The spirit of the National Park System is alive and well here in Grand Teton. It is alive and well across America. President Bush initiated the National Parks Centennial Initiative, a historic partnership with the American people to improve and enhance our parks in time for the National Park Systems’ 100th Anniversary in 2016. It is exciting to think what we will accomplish together for our national parks in the next few years, as we prepare them for the next century of Americans enjoying our parks.”
Secretary Kempthorne presented his report to the President on the National Park Centennial Initiative on May 31, 2007. The report laid out the plan to carry the National Park Service to its 100th anniversary in 2016 and beyond. Included in the report was a timetable to announce the projects and programs that will highlight National Park Service Centennial. The timetable called for the announcement to be made on the 91st anniversary of the National Park Service, August 25, 2007.