Tours Economic Recovery Projects Providing Jobs for Coloradans
MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK – Touring one of the country's oldest national parks, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today encouraged Americans to participate in the Obama Administration's America's Great Outdoors Initiative, which is promoting innovative community-level efforts to conserve outdoor spaces and to reconnect people to the outdoors.
Salazar also highlighted $10.1 million in projects that are creating jobs for Coloradans under President Obama's economic recovery package.
“Dating back to President Theodore Roosevelt who established Mesa Verde National Park in 1906, America has a proud tradition of conserving our beautiful and historic places, our rich land and its abundant wildlife,” Salazar said. “With the America's Great Outdoors Initiative and the investments we are making through the Recovery Act, we are enriching our nation's conservation legacy and protecting the places that matter most to Americans.”
Salazar said the Department will undertake a series of listening sessions across the country to hear from the public about the places they care about and how they are working to protect them. He also invited citizens to visit the America's Great Outdoors website to share their experiences and ideas.
President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum earlier this month calling on the Secretaries of the Interior and of Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality to lead the initiative, in coordination with the Departments of Defense, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Labor, Transportation, Education, and the Office of Management and Budget. The initiative will support a 21st century conservation agenda that builds on successes in communities across the country, and will start a national dialogue about conservation that supports the efforts of private citizens and local communities.
Salazar visited the site of the park's new visitor and research center which will soon be under construction. The center will provide park visitors with immediate orientation to the park and visit planning information, exhibits that explain the basic story of the archeology, collections and ecology of the park, and a central location to obtain tour tickets.
He also spotlighted major projects at the park that are being funded under the President's economic recovery plan.
The projects include:
• Replacing Failing Waterline at Morefield Village and Campground. This project will replace a short segment of main water line and approximately a mile of lateral water lines that provides domestic water to Morefield Village and over 500 camp sites in the campground. Construction is underway.
• Replacing Inadequate Electrical Service in Navajo Loop. This project will replace the inadequate overhead electric service with underground electric service that meets current and future electricity needs for Navajo Loop located in Morefield Campground.
• Purchasing Three Alternative Fuel Transit Trams - This project will replace the three existing gasoline powered trams used to shuttle visitors between sites on Wetherill Mesa with new alternative fuel vehicles. Alternative fuel transit vehicles will green the fleet and reduce the park's carbon footprint. The biodiesel vehicles should be implemented during the 2010 season.
• Installing Two Photovoltaic Systems At Main Water Treatment Plant. This project will purchase and install two photovoltaic-net metering systems on the most energy demanding facility in the park. One array will be placed on the roof and the other array on the grounds near the building.
• Replacing Waterline: Chapin Mesa to North Park Boundary. This project will replace approximately 5.4 miles of main water line between the Chapin Mesa water tanks to the park's northern boundary in the Montezuma Valley. This water line is an essential component of the park's domestic water system that provides water for park operations and over 575,000 visitors annually.
• Rehabilitating Route 10 to Park Point and Resurface main entrance road. Ten miles of the main park road will be repaired and rebuilt from the park's entrance to Park Point and the other ten miles of this road from Park Point to Chapin Mesa will be chip sealed. Included in these projects is the construction of the new access road to the planned Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center.
• Rehabilitating the Spruce Tree House Trail. Spruce Tree House was one of the first cliff dwellings open to the public in 1908. The trail we use today has changed little since it was first built. This project will rehabilitate the trail by repairing historic retaining walls, reducing sharp curves, and resurfacing the trail tread to better comply with accessibility standards to this popular cliff dwelling.
“These projects are putting Americans to work while we improve the park and invest in alternative energy that will reduce its carbon footprint,” Salazar said.