Salazar Joins Parkinson, Brownback, Sebelius to Break Ground for Visitor Center at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Contact: Hugh Vickery (202) 208-6416
STRONG CITY, KS -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today joined Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson, Senator Sam Brownback, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to break ground on a new visitor center and administrative buildings at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.
“This new visitor center will help conserve and educate Americans about the tallgrass prarie and America’s Great Outdoors while creating good jobs here in Kansas,” Secretary Salazar said. “The facility will open a window to the expansive rolling hills and wide-open vistas that once covered 140 million acres of North America.”
The project is the result of a partnership including the federal government, the State of Kansas, the Kansas Department of Transportation, The Nature Conservatory, and the Kansas Park Trust. The National Park Service and the Kansas Department of Transportation will equally share the cost of the $6 million project, which will be completed in early 2012. Salazar also thanked the National Park Trust for donating the historic buildings and land in 2002 needed for developing the visitor center and related facilities.
Salazar noted that partnerships such as the one at the preserve are at the heart of President Obama’s America's Great Outdoors initiative to create a new conservation ethic for the 21st century and reconnect Americans to the great outdoors.
“We want to support what so many Americans are already doing in their communities to conserve our land and its resources and to get people, especially young people, outdoors to enjoy them,” Salazar said. “We want to tap into the power of partnership so evident here at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.”
The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve was established in 1996 to protect a nationally significant remnant of the once vast tallgrass prairie and its cultural resources. Tallgrass prairie once covered 140 million acres of North America. Within a generation the vast majority was developed and plowed under. Today less than 4% remains, mostly in the Kansas Flint Hills.
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