Mount Rushmore National Memorial under construction.
The workers had to endure conditions that varied from blazing hot to bitterly cold and windy. Each day they climbed 700 stairs to the top of the mountain to punch-in on the time clock. Then 3/8 inch thick steel cables lowered them over the front of the 500-foot face of the mountain in a "bosun chair." Despite the dangers, no one was killed during the project.
Otters in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
The sea otter population of Glacier Bay has increased dramatically in the past 20 years. Ecologists consider sea otters a keystone species here. Otters consume vast quantities of clams, urchins, crabs, and other invertebrates and their presence creates ripples through the ecosystem. NPS photo.
Every day someone like you becomes a wildland wildfire fighter, a teacher, a trail-builder, a museum curator, or a park ranger. Discover your opportunities in national parks. Come to play. Come to learn. Come to serve. Develop your environmental leadership skills. Find a job. Be the next generation to preserve and protect these great places.
With more than 80% of Americans living in urban areas, urban parks are more important than ever. The father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, said of urban parks:
It is one great purpose of the Park to supply to the hundreds of thousands of tired workers, who have no opportunity to spend their summers in the country, a specimen of God's handiwork that shall be to them, inexpensively, what a month or two in the White Mountains or the Adirondacks is, at great cost, to those in easier circumstances.
Salazar Announces Upcoming Release of 50-State America's Great Outdoors Report, Wraps-Up Florida Trip
Tour of Tamiami Trail Bridge Project and visit to Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge highlight economic impact of landscape-level conservation
VERO BEACH, FL—Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced the upcoming release of the America's Great Outdoors: 50-State Report that will outline specific and promising ways to reconnect Americans to the outdoors and promote the creation of jobs in tourism and outdoor recreation in every state in the nation. Secretary Salazar made the announcement at Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, the last stop in his two-day trip to Florida to underscore the inextricable link between strong conservation efforts and a healthy economy.
The report, part of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors Initiative, is a result of 50 meetings with governors and stakeholders held by Secretary Salazar and other senior Interior officials to solicit ideas on the best investments in each state to support a healthy, active population, conserve wildlife and working lands, and create travel, tourism and outdoor-recreation jobs across the country.
“The America's Great Outdoors initiative is rooted in strong partnerships with states, local communities and other stakeholders to establish a conservation and recreation ethic for the 21st century,” Salazar said. “I believe this 50-state report will serve as a strong foundation to continue to translate the America's Great Outdoors vision into on-the-ground progress. These proposed projects, from urban parks to blueways to open spaces, will also boost local economies through supporting tourism and jobs in the outdoor recreation industry.”
The projects identified in the report are ones that Interior believes could benefit from a strong federal/state partnership; inclusion is not tied to federal funding.
Today Salazar announced the America's Great Outdoors initiatives for five states: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Projects for the remaining 45 states will be announced over the next several weeks, state-by-state, before the complete report is released.
Yesterday evening, Salazar addressed the 21st Annual Society of Environmental Journalists Conference in Miami, the first stop in his two-day trip to Florida. During his keynote remarks, Salazar thanked the crowd of over 400 journalists for their interest in conservation and asked for their continued coverage in making it relevant to readers and viewers across the country.
“There are big things – great things – happening in land and water conservation across the country that every American should know about,” said Salazar. “From the restoration of the Florida Everglades and the San Joaquin River to the creation of a Big Bend-Rio Bravo bi-national conservation area – these stories deserve attention and you can help us put the spotlight on them.”
This morning, Salazar toured the Tamiami Trail Bridge Project site in Miami-Dade County where he received updates from the National Park Service and the Army Corps of Engineers on work to complete the one-mile bridge by 2013. Part of the largest construction project in the history of the National Park System, the bridge will help restore historic water flows to the Everglades. The increased water volumes and improved flow will re-establish seasonal water depths and flooding durations that are critical to the survival of many fish and wildlife species.
“It is rewarding to see progress being made on a project that will play an important role in the full restoration of the Everglades,” said Salazar. “Getting the River of Grass flowing again will not only benefit the Everglades, but it's critical for the South Florida economy and the water-related needs of the 7 million residents who live, work and play here.”
Salazar then traveled to Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe where he installed four commemorative planks along the refuge's boardwalk to celebrate the latest additions to the National Wildlife Refuge System. The walkway has a plank for each of the 555 units in the FWS system.
The new units include: Flint Hills Legacy Conservation Area of Kansas, Dakota Grassland Conservation Area of South Dakota and North Dakota, Tulare Basin Wildlife Management Area of California, and Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge of Pennsylvania.
“In laying these four planks, we not only celebrate our great conservation patchwork of the National Wildlife Refuge System, but we also underscore the goals of President Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative to preserve working landscapes through partnerships with local landowners and other stakeholders,” said Salazar.
For more information on the President's America's Great Outdoors initiative, click here.
To view a map of the projects announced today, click here.