|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||June 3, 2005|
|Contact:||Heather Janik, (202) 225-7761
Heather Weiner, NPCA, (206) 903-1444, ext. 21
Congressman Reichert to Visit Rainier for National Trails Day
Ashford, WA. - U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert will celebrate National Trails Day this Saturday, June 4, with National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) volunteers at Mount Rainier National Park. Reichert and park Superintendent Dave Ubueruaga will join volunteers, who will be clearing overgrown trails and repairing washed out sections on the Twin Firs Trail near the park’s Nisqually entrance.
“Our state resources, such as Mt. Rainier, deserve our attention,” said Reichert. “It is important we preserve Washington’s landmarks so our children and grandchildren can enjoy the parks the same way we have.”
Visitors to Mount Rainier spend some $35 million each in the small communities surrounding the park. At Mount Rainier, park officials estimate the backlog of deferred maintenance costs for historic buildings, trails, and bridges exceeds $100 million. Faced with budget shortfalls last summer, Rainier’s rangers were forced to curtail visitor center hours and cancel educational programs.
“We’re putting our shovels where are our mouths are,” said Heather Weiner, NPCA’s Northwest Regional Director. “For years we’ve urged Congress to address Rainier’s growing backlog of washed out bridges, overgrown trails, and crumbling historic buildings. On National Trails Day, we’re crossing a small, but important, item off the park’s ‘to do’ list.”
NPCA recently released a report, Faded Glory: Top 10 Reasons to Reinvest in America’s National Park Heritage, calling attention to ten critical effects from insufficient funding of the parks ranging from dilapidated buildings to rampant poaching, threatened artifacts, shoddy roads and trails, and cutbacks in educational programs for school groups and park visitors.
Earlier this year Reichert joined a bipartisan group of members of Congress, including Rep. Brian Baird (WA) and Rep. Mark Souder (IN), in cosponsoring the National Park Centennial Act, which provides national parks with a new source of funding for maintenance and preservation needs and offers individuals a way to make a personal difference by donating a portion of tax refunds through a check-off box on federal tax returns. The companion bill was introduced in the Senate in late April.
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ALL MEDIA INVITED TO ATTEND. Copies of the report and photos are available upon request.