Secretary Salazar Tours Great Sand Dunes National Park To Highlight Thousands of Potential Jobs for Colorado in Economic Recovery Package



02/15/2009

Contact: Joan Moody
202-208-6416

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, center, with Art Hutchinson, at right, the superintendent of Great San Dunes National Park and Preserve; and at left, Mike Blenden, manager of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge. [Photo Credit: Tami Heilemann, DOI-NBC]Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, center, with Art Hutchinson, at right, the superintendent of Great San Dunes National Park and Preserve; and at left, Mike Blenden, manager of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

[Photo Credit: Tami Heilemann, DOI-NBC] Hi-Res



GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK, CO - In a visit today to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in his native San Luis Valley in Colorado, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar described the opportunities for job creation afforded by President Obama's economic recovery and reinvestment plan. He noted that investments in local "shovel-ready" projects would not only create jobs but also benefit conservation and restoration efforts in both the national park and nearby wildlife refuges.



"Here, in my native San Luis Valley," said Secretary Salazar, "there is an urgent need to deploy President Obama's recovery plan so that we can help turn our economy around. The President's plan will not only help people get back to work, but it will restore the luster of some of our nation's crown jewels, like Great Sand Dunes National Park and the San Luis Valley's national wildlife refuges. These proud places will benefit greatly from these investments."



The economic investments through the Department of the Interior that are included in the President's plan would create an estimated 100,000 jobs nationwide over the next two years, the Secretary said. Possible projects include investments in conservation projects, water infrastructure, roads, Native American schools, and other ready-to-go projects related to the department's work.



The White House estimates that the economic recovery package, through its investments in infrastructure, health care, and other areas, could create or save up to 59,000 jobs in Colorado over the next two years.



At Great Sand Dunes National Park, Secretary Salazar said that potential projects include reclamation of abandoned sand and gravel pits, restoration and refinishing of wood structures built under the Work Progress Administration in the 1930s, and replacement of a 30-year-old liquid petroleum gas system with a modern system. The reclamation of the abandoned sand and gravel pits will help in the effort to restore native trout to Sand Creek.



Monte Vista, Alamosa and Baca National Wildlife Refuges are near the park in the San Luis Valley. The refuges provide habitat for a wide variety of waterfowl and other wildlife.



At Monte Vista Refuge, possible economic stimulus projects include the rehabilitation of roads (Route 2E and 7S) and the auto tour route, and the replacement of a kiosk and interpretive displays. The nonfunctional New Ditch Dam could be replaced at Alamosa refuge, while investments would help fix fencing at Baca National Wildlife Refuge.