National Park Trust’s important partnership with The Trust for Public Land has resulted in the completion of national park preservation projects including the acquisition of 120 acres within Glacier National Park, 42 acres within Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and a 30-acre parcel located within Zion National Park. The Tabernacle Dome parcel was acquired in fall 2012 thanks to a major donor, and conveyed to the National Park Service in December 2013.
This month, Marsha Runningen, legislative director of The Trust for Public Land recognized NPT by presenting a framed photograph of Tabernacle Dome in Zion to NPT’s board chair Bill Brownell (center) and land and park preservation committee chair, Jonathan Cohen.
Located on Kolob Terrace at the foot of Tabernacle Dome – a spectacular, steeply rounded peak rising to 6,430 feet from Cave Valley on the western side of the park, the area is popular for its hiking trails, camping and spectacular vistas. Protection of this property expands public access and ensures that the views cherished by visitors will not be diminished by development.
"The Trust for Public Land is grateful to National Park Trust for helping us to act quickly to save this land from development. The view of Tabernacle Dome from the Kolob Terrace Road will remain an inspiring sight to be enjoyed by visitors to Zion for generations to come", stated Marsha Runningen.
Last month, Mojave National Preserve, National Park Trust and Chevron celebrated the formal transfer of ownership of the new Ivanpah Desert Tortoise Research Facility to the National Park Service. Located on seven acres adjacent to the Preserve, the solar-powered facility and its outdoor dens are being used to hatch, study and protect the threatened desert tortoise. The facility was constructed in 2011 but the National Park Service could not take ownership until extensive due diligence — and a boundary adjustment to the Preserve — were all completed. But that delay risked two generations (cohorts) of desert tortoises that could otherwise be hatched and released at the facility. Officials at Mojave National Preserve asked if NPT could help. In response, NPT reached an agreement with Chevron that would allow the Trust to manage the facility as interim steward while researchers from the University of California, Davis and the Savannah River Ecology Lab (GA) conducted their research. Chevron also has donated funds to NPT that are being used to fund tortoise research at the facility over several years.
“We are indebted to the National Park Trust for enabling this complex transaction. Without their help we would have been unable to accept the facility or maintain the research being conducted there. We look forward to working with the Trust in the future on desert tortoise recovery and our many other mutual interests,” stated Superintendent Stephanie Dubois.
While NPT served as the interim steward of the facility, two cohorts of tortoises were successfully hatched, and research to help the juveniles survive is now being conducted. “NPT has again showed its agility and trustworthiness in helping to meet the goals of the Park Service and keep the doors open for this threatened species,” stated board member Ray Sherbill.
A formal dedication of this new facility is planned by the NPS in early September.
National Kids to Parks Day is fast approaching! In addition to joining thousands of others around the country on May 17th for a day of outdoor fun, students can win a park scholarship for their school trip. The Kids to Parks Day National School contest was created to engage students with their local parks and is open to all schools across the country (grades Pre-K through 12). NPT will award scholarships up to $1,000 to winning entries to be used for their KTP park event during the month of May.
In order to participate in the contest, students must select and research a park near their school and complete and submit the two-page entry form. Only one entry form per class; more than one entry form can be submitted per school.
Students should submit their proposal in their own words. Teachers are encouraged to help them develop their ideas. Cover letters from teachers are encouraged. Accompanying artwork or videos are welcome.
Contest winners will receive funding for one park experience including school bus transportation, park related fees, and other supplies. Last year 42 scholarships were awarded.
Entries must be emailed or postmarked by February 28, 2014. Winners will be announced by March 17.
Contact Billy Schrack (William@parktrust.org: 301-279-7279 ext:17) for more information or visit kidstoparks.org
National Park Trust (NPT) will be launching a new project at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve (LA), to benefit the Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans (January 8, 2015) and the upcoming centennial celebration of the National Park Service (NPS) in 2016.
NPS and NPT will work with students from Chalmette Elementary to educate them about the unique and important historical significance of the park and this restoration project. Then the students will be assisting rangers in removing invasive species and planting native trees and foliage at the park's entrance and at the national cemetery. This multi-year project when completed will enhance the visitor experience and protect the integrity of the site.
"One of the great benefits of working with the National Park Trust on a landscaping project at the Chalmette Battlefield is the opportunity to engage young members of our neighboring community. ", stated Nigel Fields, Chief of Interpretation and Education at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve.
"NPT has learned that most of the students do not have a connection to the park which is right in their back yard. By engaging local students with this multi-year project, they will learn not only about Louisiana's rich history, but also about the important role they can play as park stewards", commented Billy Schrack, NPT's education director.
On a frigid January 8, 2014 in Washington, D.C., Sally Jewell, Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, announced the first major private funding commitment to support the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) to a crowd at the Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) Memorial. American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) has committed $1 million towards a projected $20 million to fund integral aspects of the 21CSC, including support for non-profit programs that engage young people and veterans of the military with work and training experiences on public lands. One of these non-profits that will benefit, the Student Conservation Association (SCA), had numerous young trainees and volunteers in attendance, including SCA founder, Liz Putnam and SCA board member, Robert Hanson, who is also the CEO of American Eagle Outfitters.
With the help of private partners such as AEO, Secretary Jewell aims to garner $20 million by 2017 to fund various aspects of the 21CSC, which include: enhancing outdoor recreation partnerships in 50 cities to engage 10 million young people, attracting 10 million K-12 students annually by welcoming them into nature’s classroom, engaging one million volunteers annually on public lands, and generating the next generation of park stewards with 100,000 work and training opportunities.
Jewell stressed the importance of organizations, such as the SCA, in their ability to provide transformative volunteering experiences for young and old alike. “When we volunteer, when we give back, when we serve, we develop a connection to a place that is far deeper than when we come there just as paid employees.” Jewell likened the 21CSC agenda to FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), begun in 1933. The CCC provided jobs to young men to relieve the burden of finding work during the Great Depression, while promoting natural resource conservation, and inspired the creation of team-based national service youth conservation programs around the country such as the SCA.
Jewell, calling the 21CSC the “CCC 2.0,” referenced FDR’s 1933 plan to enact a “broad public works labor-creating program,” outlined in his Three Essentials for Unemployment Relief. In it, he declared such policy would “pay dividends to the present and future generations” and cited the relative importance of the “moral and spiritual value of such work” over that of material gains. Secretary Jewell stated that she and the Obama Administration want to “embrace what conservation looks like in the 21st century.” They realize that a reinvigorated effort to push conservation is especially vital for the large millennial generation facing a host of challenges, including job scarcity.
When asked about the prospect of generating $20 million in private donations, Jewell emphatically said “we are going to deliver” and predicted this goal could easily increase soon with enough support. However, she realizes the limits of public-private partnerships and believes “private philanthropy should be the margin of excellence on our public lands, not the margin of survival…we appreciate private philanthropists stepping up to help, but we also know that it is our role as public servants, and as elected officials to provide the support needed for these assets so important to the American people.” With her leadership, infectious enthusiasm, and poise, the 21CSC seems ready to deliver on its promises. This plan of action is a fitting tribute to FDR, for whom conservation of our public lands was a guiding principle.