Secretary Salazar to Visit Kansas for Dual Conservation Events

Will Celebrate Opening of Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve Visitor Center with Secretary Sebelius, Make Announcement on Kansas River Water Trail


Contact: Adam Fetcher (202) 208-6416

WICHITA, Kansas – On Friday, July 13, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will visit Kansas to dedicate a new $6 million visitor center and headquarters at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, part of ongoing efforts under President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative to conserve one of America’s most endangered ecosystems while providing educational and recreational opportunities to the public.

The new facilities were funded by the National Park Service and the State of Kansas, which contributed $3 million for the new center. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is co-managed by the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy, which owns the vast majority of the nearly 11,000-acre area. During the event, Secretary Salazar and Secretary Sebelius will deliver remarks, and participate in a tour of the visitor center and surrounding grass-prairie lands following the ceremony.

In November 2010, Secretary Salazar joined The Nature Conservancy, the State of Kansas, ranchers, and other stakeholders to announce the creation of the 1 million-acre Flint Hills Conservation Area, the first national wildlife refuge created under the Obama administration.

On Saturday, July 14, Secretary Salazar will join Governor Sam Brownback at a press conference to make an announcement regarding the Kansas River Water Trail. The announcement comes as part of the Obama administration’s ongoing commitment to working in partnership with state and local governments and conservation and outdoor recreation stakeholders to increase water-based outdoor recreation, encourage community stewardship, and promote tourism that fuels local economies.

President Obama unveiled the America’s Great Outdoors initiative in 2010 to work in partnership with states, communities, conservation groups and other stakeholders across the country to establish a conservation ethic for the 21st century and to reconnect Americans, especially young people, with the natural world.


WHAT: Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve Visitor Center Grand Opening Ceremony
Friday, July 13, 2012
7:00 p.m. CDT  Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting
7:30 p.m. CDT  Tour of Visitor Center
8:00 p.m. CDT  Tour of Prairie
WHO: Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior
Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Robin Jennison, Secretary, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
Michael Reynolds, Midwest Regional Director, National Park Service
Bill Lyons, Trustee, The Nature Conservancy
Rob Manes, State Director, Kansas Chapter, The Nature Conservancy
Wendy Lauritzen, Superintendent of Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
WHERE: Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
2480B Kansas Highway 177
Strong City, KS 66869
Located two miles north of Strong City on Kansas State Highway 177 (the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway)
Kansas River Water Trail Press Conference
Saturday, July 14, 2012
 9:30 a.m. CDT  Press Conference
Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior
Sam Brownback, Governor of Kansas
Robin Jennison, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism
Loren Pepperd, Mayor of Manhattan  
Michael Reynolds, Midwest Regional Director, National Park Service
Flint Hills Discovery Center
315 South Third Street
Manhattan, KS 66505