Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary

Contact: Frank Quimby
For Immediate Release:,April 21, 2004

Interior Leaders Celebrate Earth Day at Events across the Nation

Cherishing Our National Parks;
Celebrating the Nation's Natural Heritage


(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Interior Secretary Gale Norton and her assistant secretaries and bureau directors are participating in Earth Day events around the country to celebrate the nation's natural heritage, the land and wildlife administered by the Department, and to highlight restoration efforts at major national parks.

Norton will mark Earth Day at Yosemite National Park in California, where she will tour the Lower Yosemite Fall restoration project that has removed a parking area, re-landscaped the visitor access and circulation areas, and restored streamside and forest habitat. The 53-acre site is the park's major attraction.

"As we celebrate Earth Day, I can think of no more important places to restore and protect than our national parks, such as Yosemite, whose natural grandeur offers a rare aesthetic experience that captivates visitors," Norton said. "Preserving that natural beauty while enabling millions of people to enjoy it each year takes work-lots of it-by Interior employees, partner groups and volunteers. As President Bush fulfills his pledge to restore the national parks, we urge all Americans to become citizen stewards dedicated to restoring and conserving public and private land-every day of the year."

Lynn Scarlett, Interior's assistant secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, will pay an Earth Day visit to Jefferson National Expansion Memorial to review
progress on addressing the maintenance backlog at the park. She will tour the

Gateway Arch to inspect diorama repairs and plans to rehabilitate deteriorating mural walls; and the Old Courthouse to review the planned replacement of the Old Courthouse roof and other ongoing restoration projects.

"We are on track to exceed the President's goal of investing $4.9 billion over five years to address the maintenance backlog in our national parks," Scarlett said. "In the four budgets of this Administration, nearly $3.9 billion to date has been proposed to address deferred maintenance in parks. The funds provided are achieving tangible results such as those at this park."

National Park Service Director Fran Mainella will visit Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to join students from Bosque Elementary School in upgrading and resurfacing a trail near the Las Imagines Visitor Center. Mainella also will talk about significant successes in efforts to reduce the NPS-wide maintenance backlog and preparations by the Park Service to welcome millions of visitors this summer to parks across the country.

Craig Manson, assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks will be visiting Ellis Island for a meeting with the Statute of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation Board Meeting. Minerals Management Service Director Johnnie Burton will deliver an Earth Day speech on beach renourishment to residents of Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals Management Rebecca Watson took part in an Earth Week event at the C&O Canal in the Georgetown section of the nation's capital. Reclamation Commissioner John Keys will take part in a April 24 Earth Day event in South Salt Lake City, sponsored by the state of Utah's Department of Agriculture and Department of Natural Resources. The project will plant trees on Lower Mill Creek to promote the governor's watershed initiative.

U.S. Geological Survey Director Chip Groat issued an Earth Day Proclamation
noting the Survey is marking 125 years of monitoring the Earth, collecting and analyzing data to understand the Earth and its processes and using that understanding to ensure the health of the environment.

Assistant Secretary David Anderson joined an Earth Week event at Baca School near Albuquerque, New Mexico, commemorating the new facility's designation as a Leadership in Environmental Engineering Design building. Office of Surface Mining Director Jeff Jarrett delivered opening remarks April 19 to the American Society for Mining and Reclamation in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Interior employees are celebrating Earth Day at events around the nation, including an event in Rawlins Park at 18th and E Street NW in Washington, D.C. Information on federal government-wide Earth Day activities is on the website of the White House Council on Environmental Quality at



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