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).
AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS: National Park Service to Assist 200 Communities with River and Trail Projects
WASHINGTON—The National Park Service will help local communities implement more than 200 natural resource and recreational projects under the agency's Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA), Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today – part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative to establish a community-based, 21st century agenda for conservation, recreation, and reconnecting Americans to the outdoors.
“One of the major goals of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative is to reconnect Americans to nature by expanding recreational opportunities,” Salazar said. “Through the RTCA program, the National Park Service will provide expertise and assistance to local communities that are building trails and undertaking other conservation and recreation projects."
Under the RTCA program, the National Park Service helps communities and neighborhoods to preserve valuable open spaces, revitalize nearby rivers, and develop trail and greenway networks. This year's projects were selected from the most competitive field of requests ever received by the agency.
Projects are locally conceived and initiated, with RTCA staff supporting community based recreation and conservation leaders. Each year, RTCA project partnerships contribute to the construction of 1,700 miles of trail, conservation of nearly 1,000 miles of river, and protection of more than 50,000 acres of open space.
More than 20 of the projects included in the RTCA project announcement today also were highlighted in the America's Great Outdoors 50-State report released by Secretary Salazar in November. The report listed more than 100 high-priority projects representing what states believe are among the best investments in the nation to support a healthy, active population, conserve wildlife and working lands, and create travel, tourism and outdoor-recreation jobs across the country. Interior is working closely with states and local communities to advance these priority projects as quickly as possible.