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