Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: John Wright
For Immediate Release:May 7, 2004

Secretary Norton Touts Park Maintenance
Improvements at Shenandoah National Park

SHENANDOAH, Va.--Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, accompanied by National Park Service Director Fran Mainella, got a firsthand look today at park maintenance projects during a visit to Shenandoah National Park. Norton toured the recently restored Massanutten Lodge located at the Skyland Resort. The lodge was part of Shenandoah's maintenance backlog list. Recent restoration and other improvements to the lodge, totaled $153,000.

"Massanutten Lodge is an important part of our history," Norton said. "The restoration work and other improvements made at Shenandoah National Park will enhance the experience of our visitors. It will also provide future generations with a better understanding of this 1900s mountaintop resort."

Norton noted that since Fiscal Year 2001, the Bush Administration has invested more than $80 million in 240 projects to preserve and protect Virginia's national park units alone. These projects are completed, underway or being planned. National parks in Virginia could receive an additional $25 million, once FY 2005 funds are allocated.

The Skyland Resort is on the National Register of historic districts. It represents an integral part of America's search for recreational opportunities beginning in the last half of the 19th century. The buildings, including Massanutten Lodge, are characteristic of the period and methods of construction. Built in 1911, Massanutten Lodge embodies the stylistic genre of Skyland through the use of massive boulders and rustic surfaces.

"Our efforts here at Shenandoah reflect the commitment President Bush made to improve and protect national parks," Norton said. "It is through partnerships and working with our many volunteers that we are able to preserve the special character and interpret the many unique features this rare jewel has to offer."

Although a significant backlog remains, funding from the Recreation Fee Demonstration Program has enabled the park to remove several projects from its maintenance backlog list. Using funding from this program, Shenandoah National Park has rehabilitated 13 comfort stations at campgrounds, resurfaced Skyline Drive, installed new roofs on two wastewater treatment plants, restored numerous campsites, cleared 150 vistas and overlooks, restored historic structures including Rapidan Camp and Massanutten Lodge, repaired and reconstructed rock walls, and evaluated and upgraded septic systems park-wide.

In addition to its significance historically and architecturally, Massanutten Lodge has become a significant interpretive site within the park. It hosts an accompanying exhibition to chronicle the lives of several women who shared the experience of this mountaintop resort in the early 1900s and who were instrumental in redefining the boundaries for women in 20th century society.

Virginia's 22 national park units attract more than 25 million visitors each year. These special places represent the rich history and natural diversity of the United States - from the birthplace of America through the Civil War, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Appalachian Mountains.


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