The Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior Lynn Scarlett visited the National Park Service's San Juan National Historic Site on Friday, April 27, and joined employees as they celebrate National Park Week with the inauguration of a Junior Ranger Program at Castillo San Cristóbal.
“This is a great day for the Junior Ranger Program and the San Juan National Historic Site,” Scarlett said. “This program is a terrific way of engaging our young people in the rich cultural history of our parks. I’m very happy to join the park for this inauguration as we celebrate National Park Week 2007.”
During her remarks, Scarlett also highlighted the President’s National Park Centennial Initiative, a $3 billion dollar public and private investment over the next nine years to prepare parks for their 100th anniversary in 2016. This historic multi-year investment began with the President's proposed $2.4 billion FY 2008 national park budget – the largest ever proposed for operations and programs that benefit parks.
Deputy Secretary Scarlett helped celebrate the event by leading a group of local students through an activity in a new junior ranger activity booklet that will be available in English and Spanish. The booklet contains activities that direct children and their families to areas of the historic site that will help them learn about such things as the life of an 18th century Spanish soldier; why Puerto Rico was once called the gateway to the riches of the New World; and how they can volunteer to help preserve the fortifications today. Upon completion, participants receive a signed certificate and a Junior Ranger badge.
“The generous support of Eastern National and the National Park Foundation will allow us to give any child interested in learning more about the fortifications of San Juan the opportunity to do so,” said San Juan National Historic Park Superintendent Walter Chavez. “We are especially fortunate to have Deputy Secretary Scarlett here for this important inauguration.”
Scarlett also issued a Take Pride in America® Appreciation certificate to the Fixed Regiment of Puerto Rico. The volunteer re-enactment group portrays the first Puerto Rican regiment that protected the fort during the 1790s. The 28 members participate in marches, drills, weapons and uniform maintenance and strive to educate the public about the life and times of soldiers, militia and their families who lived in and around the fort during the 18th century. The group has collectively volunteered more than 1850 hours. Manuel L. Iravedra, the group’s leader, accepted the certificate on behalf of the group. Take Pride in America is a national partnership managed by the Interior Department that encourages, supports and recognizes volunteers who work to improve our public parks, forests, grasslands, reservoirs, wildlife refuges, cultural and historic sites, local playgrounds and other recreation areas.
The San Juan National Historic Site is comprised of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristóbal, Juan de la Cruz (El Cañuelo), San Juan Gate and a majority of the City Walls surrounding Old San Juan. Admission to San Juan National Historic Site is $3.00 for adults, 16 years and older, and children 15 years and under are free. A combination pass allows entrance to El Morro and San Cristobal, is valid for seven days and is available for $5.00. San Juan National Historic Site is open everyday except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (December - May) and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (June – November).
For additional information, please call 787-729-6777.