A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Nearly $27 million for National Park Centennial Challenge projects and programs in 2009
WASHINGTON - A new year brings new opportunities to discover species, renovate museums, get kids outdoors to learn and to improve transportation in America's national parks. For the second year of its Centennial Challenge, the National Park Service will match federal funds with contributions from park partners to prepare national parks for another century of conservation, preservation and enjoyment. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and National Park Service Director Mary A. Bomar, today announced $27 million in centennial projects, $10.5 million from the federal government combined with $16.5 million in philanthropic giving.
"Today, we celebrate the 2008 successes of the National Park Centennial Challenge and announce a new round of centennial projects that will serve as the cornerstones of improvements at our national parks and help to ignite another 100 years of excellence throughout the National Park System," Secretary Kempthorne said of the 2009 projects. "This is truly a remarkable list of projects and programs, made possible only through these historic public/private partnerships."
Director Bomar said, "In these economic times, creative efforts like the Centennial Challenge provide a great return on investment for both the American taxpayer and the philanthropic community. Where else can you be guaranteed to at least double your money?"
President Bush launched the National Park Service Centennial Initiative in 2006 as a 10-year effort to prepare national parks for another century of conservation, preservation and enjoyment in time for the National Park Service's 100th anniversary. The initiative comprises two funding components - the Centennial Challenge and operational enhancement funding - and furthers goals in the areas of stewardship, environmental leadership, recreational experience, education and professional excellence.
Centennial Challenge projects and programs for 2009 are:
Haleakala National Park, Hawaii
Remove and control invasive species and restore rare and endangered plants
$600,000 - Maui Invasive Species Committee; $600,000 - Centennial Challenge
Marilyn Parris, (808) 572-4401
Independence National Historical Park, Pennsylvania
Rehabilitate the Ben Franklin Museum at Franklin Court
Expand "Bridging the Watershed" environmental education program
$200,000 - Alice Ferguson Foundation; $200,000 - Centennial Challenge
Superintendent Gayle Hazelwood, (202) 690-5127
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, California Rehabilitate Gillette Ranch building as a visitor center $2,640,000 - Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority; $2,640,000 - Centennial Challenge Superintendent Woody Smeck, (805) 370-2344
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Add transportation gateway and exhibits in the Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark
$50,000 - Stephen and Mary Birch Foundation, Inc.; $50,000 - Centennial Challenge
>Superintendent Meg Jensen, (907) 822-5234
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
Conduct molecular all-taxa biodiversity inventory for Yellowstone Lake
$500,000 - Yellowstone Park Foundation; $500,000 - Centennial Challenge
Superintendent Suzanne Lewis, (307) 344-2010
For complete information about the initiative, more details on the 2009 Centennial Challenge projects and programs or to download a Centennial Initiative 2008 Progress Report, please visit www.nps.gov/2016.