Department Of Interior

DOI News Header
Office of the Secretary
Tina Kreisher (202) 208-6416
For Immediate Release:July 2, 2004
David Barna (202) 208-6843
Interior Secretary Norton Touts Investments In Parks
Worth Celebrating this Independence Day

The Nation celebrates Independence Day each year with impressive fireworks displays and patriotic music. With support from many partnering organizations and individuals, the National Park Service (NPS) manages many of these celebrations at numerous National Park System sites, which commemorate the birth of the United States and American independence.

The NPS also is responsible for maintaining and providing quality, memorable visitor experiences in these special sites, which preserve the ideals and freedoms that were won during the American Revolution and guaranteed in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Providing outstanding visitor services while maintaining this precious legacy, however, poses immense challenges.

"Presented with a significant park maintenance backlog at the beginning of this Administration, President Bush promised to address the problem and to reverse the trend," said Interior Secretary Gale Norton. "The President committed to spend $4.9 billion over 5 years to address known problems while the Service conducted an inventory and condition assessments to determine the magnitude of deferred maintenance of NPS assets and identify measures to protect the investments being made.

"In a post 9-11 world, this Administration also is strongly committed to providing increased security and outstanding public service to assure that park visitors enjoy a safe, memorable experience in America's parks," said Norton.

Norton highlighted the following examples of parks, all of which commemorate pivotal events in American history, where key investments are currently underway:

Independence National Historical Park, PA
Independence Hall and the related historical buildings which make up the park witnessed the 18th century delegates to the Second Continental Congress argue over the next step in the dangerous game of rebellion and then issue the Declaration of Independence. Eleven years later, secret deliberations and hard compromises resulted in a new frame of government to hold the country together - the Constitution of the United States.

Maintenance projects underway since FY 2002: $ 18.7 million and 14 projects

Boston National Historical Park, MA
Discover the revolutionary generation of Bostonians who blazed a trail from colonialism to independence. Boston National Historical Park is an association of sites that together give the visitor a coherent view of the city's role in the nation's history.

Maintenance projects underway FY 2002: $ 13.7 million and 17 projects

President's FY 2005 Proposed Budget Request includes $497,000 and 8 staff to Operate and Maintain Rehabilitated Facilities. Funding is requested to operate and maintain rehabilitated historic structures. The park recently completed restorations of Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Faneuil Hall, Building 28 in the Charlestown Navy Yard, and the Monument and grounds at Bunker Hill and Dorchester Heights. This request would allow the NPS and its partners to introduce new interpretive tours and public programs and to maintain the utility systems, grounds, visitor facilities and exhibits, enhancing visitor experience.

Colonial National Historical Park, VA
The park encompasses five units spanning more than 9,000 acres and 174 years. The sites mark the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown and the last battle of the American Revolution at Yorktown -- literally the beginning and end of English colonial America. The 23-mile Colonial Parkway provides a link between the two sites. Join National Park Service rangers for interpretive tours and drive the historic tour roads. Experience the sense of place that formed the character of a nation in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Maintenance projects underway since FY 2002: $ 16 million and 25 projects

President's FY 2005 Proposed Budget Request includes $263,000 and 4 staff to Provide Interpretive and Educational Programs. Funding is requested to meet an increased demand for educational and interpretive programs. Colonial administers two historically significant sites: Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America in 1607, and Yorktown Battlefield, the final major battle of the American Revolutionary War in 1781. An increasing number of schools take students on field trips to the park, creating a need for additional educational programs. Interpretive programs at the park would reach about 100,000 additional visitors, as visitors come to the park for the 400th Anniversary at Jamestown and the 225th Anniversary at Yorktown.

Saratoga National Historical Park, NY
Site of the first significant American military victory during the Revolution, the Battles of Saratoga ranks among the most decisive battles in world history. Here in 1777, American forces met, defeated and forced a major British army to surrender, an event which led France to recognize the independence of the United States and enter the war as a decisive military ally of the struggling Americans.

Maintenance projects underway since FY 2002: $ 336,000 and 3 projects

Washington Monument, District of Columbia
Of all the Presidents of the United States, George Washington is the most celebrated. Efforts to commemorate his legacy began during his lifetime and continue to this day. His leadership and service to the republic have been distinguished through the naming of the federal capital, universities, streets, counties and a state. In addition to these honors, he has been remembered in works of art and monumental buildings. But none have captured the imagination of the people world-wide like the Washington Monument.

Maintenance projects underway since FY 2002: $ 15 million and 1 project

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, MO
The Gateway Arch, the Museum of Westward Expansion, and St. Louis' Old Courthouse, site of the Dred Scott Case, make up this park. During a nationwide competition in 1947-48, architect Eero Saarinen's inspired design for a 630-foot stainless steel arch was chosen as a perfect monument to the spirit of the western pioneers.

Maintenance projects underway since FY 2002: $ 16.4 million and 10 projects

President's FY 2005 Proposed Budget Request includes $668,000 and 8 staff to Increase Support for Anti-Terrorism/Homeland Security Program. Funding is requested to continue implementation of heightened homeland security measures aimed at ensuring visitor safety and protecting resources. Jefferson National Expansion Memorial has been designated by DOI as one of the "icon" parks in the NPS that is considered a possible terrorist target.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site, IL
The foundation of Abrahams Lincoln's political beliefs rested on the idea expressed in the Declaration of Independence that, "All men are created equal …" In his time, the debate over slavery divided the country. Lincoln Home gives visitors the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln. A four block historic neighborhood surrounds the only home Mr. Lincoln ever owned. Lincoln's home is the centerpiece of the site. It has been restored to its 1860s appearance, revealing Lincoln as husband, father, politician, and President-elect.

Maintenance projects underway since FY 2002: $ 1.3 million and 9 projects

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, VA
On Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865 General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant signaling the end of the Southern States' attempt to create a separate nation. The surrender at the small village of Appomattox Court House in Virginia set the stage for the emergence of an expanded and more powerful federal government.

Maintenance projects underway since FY 2002: $372,000 and 15 projects

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
The four figures carved in stone on Mount Rushmore represent the first 150 years of American history. The birth of our nation was guided by the vision and courage of George Washington. Thomas Jefferson always had dreams of something bigger, first in the words of the Declaration of Independence and later in the expansion of our nation through the Louisiana Purchase. Preservation of the union was paramount to Abraham Lincoln and eventually a nation where all men were free and equal was destined to be. At the turn of the Twentieth Century, Theodore Roosevelt saw that in our nation was the possibility for greatness. Our nation was changing from a rural republic to a world power. The ideals of these presidents laid a foundation for our nation as solid as the rock from which their figures are carved.

President's FY 2005 Proposed Budget Request includes $332,000 and 4 staff to Provide Long Term Anti-Terrorism and Security Improvements. Funding is requested to improve security programs at the park. Mount Rushmore, a recognized symbol of the United States, features colossal sculptures of four American Presidents. There is a documented history of incidents and threats, which continue to the present time. Funding would be used to increase law enforcement presence and capabilities. This request would enhance protection of this national icon and provide a safer environment for visitors.

Women's Rights National Historical Park, NY
The Park consists of four major historical properties and a state of the art visitor center. Start at the visitor center where you can view our inspirational film and exhibits. Continue to the Wesleyan Chapel and imagine being a participant at the first Women's Rights Convention.

Maintenance projects underway since FY 2002: $38,000 and 2 projects

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, NY
Contains "Springwood", the lifelong home of America's only four-term President. Roosevelt successfully led this nation through the greatest crises of the Twentieth Century, the Great Depression and World War II. Also on the site is the Presidential Library and Museum, operated by the National Archives. Visitors may enjoy a guided tour of FDR's home, take a self-guided tour of the museum, or stroll the grounds, gardens, and trails of this 300-acre site.

Maintenance projects underway since FY 2002: $ 6.2 million and 6 projects

USS Arizona Memorial, HI
Today the USS Arizona is a national shrine that symbolizes American sacrifice and resolve. Through national tragedy, a "sleeping giant awoke" and the United States moved towards its destiny as a global power.

Maintenance projects underway since FY 2002: $1.5 million and 5 projects

President's FY 2005 Proposed Budget Request includes $246,000 and 1 staff to Provide Necessary Security Compliance. Funding is requested to establish phase two of a law enforcement program for this national icon. Prior to 9/11, the park did not have any law enforcement ranger or daytime security. Funding would improve the safety of employees and approximately 5,000 visitors per day and ensure that the memorial remains open when increased security is required.

The National World War II Memorial, District of Columbia
Located on the National Mall in Washington, DC the memorial commemorates the sacrifice and celebrates the victory of the WWII generation. The National World War II Memorial creates a distinct, evocative and serene tribute yet remains respectful and sensitive to its historic surroundings. The memorial was recently dedicated on May 29th, 2004.

President's FY 2005 Proposed Budget Request includes $1,502,000 and 11 staff FTE's to Provide Operations for the New World War II Memorial. Located on the National Mall, annual visitation is expected to reach over three million. Funding is requested to maintain the grounds and facilities, protect resources and ensure adequate visitor services. Routine and preventative maintenance would be provided for the 7.5 acre memorial, which contains extensive landscaping, over 4,000 bronze works, six pools and waterworks, a plaza, lawns and numerous sculptures. Daily interpretive programs would be provided to inspire all visitors and deepen their appreciation and understanding of the events and consequences of WWII.

Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, KS
On October 26, 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-525 establishing Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site to commemorate the landmark Supreme Court decision aimed at ending segregation in public schools. On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously declared that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal" and, as such, violate the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees all citizens "equal protection of the laws."

Maintenance projects underway since FY 2002: $ 2.5 million and 5 projects

President's FY 2005 Proposed Budget Request includes $61,000 and 1 staff to Complete Establishment of Maintenance Program for New Facility. Funding is requested to provide a maintenance program for the recently restored Monroe school building, the park's only facility. Funds would be used to provide a preventative maintenance program for the school building and its new, technical infrastructure.

Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, GA
Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site includes a number of facilities that are operated in partnership with the National Park Service, Ebenezer Baptist Church and The King Center. Within these facilities the visitor can learn about Dr. King's life and his influence on the civil rights movement in America.

Maintenance projects underway since FY 2002: $ 2.8 million and 5 projects

President's FY 2005 Proposed Budget Request includes $1,000,000 to Provide Support to Martin Luther King, Jr., Center The King Center is comprised of Dr. King's Crypt, a reflecting pool, Chapel of All Faiths, Freedom Hall, where artifacts of Dr. and Mrs. King are displayed, and an administrative building that houses staff and archives. Funding will be used to operate and maintain the facility, as well as provide interpretive and educational services.

The National Mall, District of Columbia
The National Mall's origins are as old as the capital city itself. The open space and parklands envisioned by Pierre L'Enfant's plan, which was commissioned by George Washington, created an ideal stage for national expressions of remembrance, observance and protest.

Maintenance projects underway since FY 2002: $ 38 million and 32 projects

Morristown National Historical Park, NJ
Attracted by Morristown's strategic location, General George Washington twice chose Morristown as the site of the Continental Army's main winter encampment during the War for Independence. The park includes the site of the fortification from the 1777 encampment, and most of the ground occupied during the vast 1779-80 encampment, where over 10,000 troops endured the worst winter of the American Revolution.

Maintenance projects underway since FY 2002: $ 5.9 million and 9 projects


To learn more about American Independence and the National Park Service and
to gain a better understanding of our nation's past, present, and future,
visit the Celebrate Independence in America's National Parks website at:



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