|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||April 22, 2009|
|Contact:||Jim Stratton, Alaska Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association, P: 907.229.9761|
Stimulus Projects in Alaska to Boost Local Economies, Improve Park Infrastructure
Washington, D.C. – The nation’s leading voice for the national parks, the nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today praised the Department of the Interior announcement of the specific job-creating projects that will be completed in Alaska’s national parks as a result of the more than $900 million in stimulus funding provided by Congress.
“This important reinvestment in the crumbling infrastructure of our national parks is a step that will create jobs in large and small communities nationwide, and help to restore our nation’s heritage for our children and grandchildren,” said National Parks Conservation Association President Tom Kiernan. “There is much more to do to restore our national parks, but this is progress.”
The Department of the Interior’s list of National Park Service infrastructure projects includes repairing trails in Denali National Park and Preserve, installing wind turbines at Anaktuvuk Pass Ranger Station in Gates of the Arctic, repairing the Chilkoot Trail at Klondike Gold Rush, and rehabilitating and developing the Twin Lakes Campground in Wrangell-St. Elias.
“These stimulus projects offer a double bonus: they put Alaskans to work while also repairing our parks for visitors,” said Jim Stratton, the National Parks Conservation Association’s Alaska Senior Regional Director. “According to National Park Service research, out-of-town visitors annually spend $134 million in our local communities.”
In December, the National Parks Conservation Association published Working Assets: Reinvesting in National Parks to Create Jobs and Protect America’s Heritage, a report which called on Congress and the Administration to include national parks in economic recovery legislation and offered examples of ready-to-go, job-creating infrastructure projects in national parks nationwide.
The final bill passed by Congress in February included a measured investment of $900 million which will help reduce the Park Service’s massive, $9-billion backlog of critical maintenance and preservation projects, and address other park infrastructure needs.
Congress directed approximately $750 million toward national park infrastructure projects through the Department of the Interior; approximately $170 million is provided for national park road repair needs through the Department of Transportation.
An economic study commissioned by NPCA found that every federal dollar invested in national parks generates at least four dollars economic value to the public.
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