Funding Aids Student Conservation Association, other organizations in ongoing storm recovery
Seattle, Washington, February 11, 2008 – Boeing has awarded $93,550 to the Student Conservation Association (SCA), Washington Trails Association (WTA) and National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) to support the organizations’ continuing flood recovery activities at Mount Rainier National Park. Boeing gave the grant as part of the company’s commitment to environmental and civic engagement.
The grant will be distributed among the organizations to support volunteer citizen stewardship programs and public outreach and education. Each organization is focused on continuing to collaborate with Mount Rainier National Park on projects that are part of recovery efforts from the 2006 winter storms. 2007 was a successful year for the Park: it reopened to the public, many trails and campgrounds were repaired, and volunteer participation almost doubled, but the season ended with more work to be done. Mount Rainier National Park and this coalition of partner organizations are now planning for 2008, and the Boeing grant will help to fund their activities.
“Last summer, Mount Rainier and SCA’s Mount Rainier Recovery Initiative made significant progress in restoring public access to the park by reopening and rebuilding trails,” said Jay A. Satz, Vice President for Western Initiatives with SCA. “This generous grant from Boeing will support the continued efforts of SCA and other coalition members to repair more of the damage caused by recent severe storms and to build on Mount Rainier Superintendent Dave Uberuaga’s commitment to engage the public in the stewardship of the park over the long term.”
SCA will use $43,550 of the grant to support summer programs at Mount Rainier National Park, including programs to work with urban high school students in the Seattle area on restoration projects. SCA will work with public volunteers to reconstruct trails and bridges, control erosion and invasive plants, and restore damaged sites. The funding will also support public training in conservation skills to further develop a sustainable volunteer program at Mount Rainier.
With $25,000 from the grant, NPCA will host town hall and conference events to discuss how the federal government can sustain long-term access to national parks as recurring storm damage increasingly limits public access. NPCA will also redesign the Storm Coalition web site, conduct a media tour and recruit volunteers for projects to repair trails, restore bridges, clean campgrounds and remove invasive species.
“We thank Boeing for its commitment to the national parks of the Northwest,” said NPCA’s Northwest Regional Director Sean Smith. “Under-funded parks have a tough time responding to the sorts of disasters that may become more frequent with climate change, and NPCA looks forward to providing public education and leading volunteer efforts to ensure that our parks remain accessible to all Americans.”
WTA will use $25,000 of the funds to station a crew leader at Mount Rainier National Park. The crew leader will lead three trail repair work parties each week throughout the spring and summer to survey and repair storm damage.
“Having a WTA crew leader on the ground at Mount Rainier for another season is the difference between restoring public access to some of these trails, or letting them remain out of reach for yet another season,” said Lauren Braden, Communications Director for WTA. “The damage done to local trails from recent storms was unprecedented, and it will continue to take a lot of helping hands to put our public lands back together. There are many opportunities to do just that by volunteering for a day of trail maintenance with WTA or one of our coalition partners.”
The Student Conservation Association SCA is a nationwide conservation force of college and high school volunteers who protect and restore America’s parks, forests, and other public lands. For more than 50 years, SCA’s active, hands-on approach to conservation has helped to develop a new generation of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save our planet.
For more information, visit: http://www.thesca.org/
National Parks Conservation Association’s mission is to protect and enhance America’s National Park System for present and future generations. NPCA plays a crucial role in ensuring that these special places are protected in perpetuity by: advocating for the national parks and the National Park Service; educating decision-makers and the public about the importance of preserving the parks; helping to convince members of Congress to uphold the laws that protect the parks and in support of new legislation to address threats to the parks; fighting attempts to weaken these laws in the courts; and assessing the health of the parks and park management to better inform our advocacy work.
For more information, visit: http://www.npca.org/
Washington Trails Association is the voice for hikers in Washington State. WTA protects hiking trails and wild lands, takes thousands of volunteers out to maintain trails, and promotes hiking as a healthy, fun way to explore Washington. Perhaps you've stumbled upon us on a hiking trail, donning hardhats, wielding shovels, keeping your trail in great shape. WTA's volunteer trail maintenance program is among the largest in the nation, with over 1750 volunteers "giving back" to the trails they love every year and getting a good dose of personal reward in return. WTA also protects trails through lobbying and grassroots advocacy on issues that impact hikers, like trail funding and wilderness protection. We work closely with federal and state policymakers to advance hiker's interests in forest planning and new recreation projects.
For more information, visit: http://www.wta.org/
For more information about the volunteer program at Mount Rainier National Park, go to: www.nps.gov/mora or rainiervolunteers.blogspot.com.
For more information on the NW Parks and Public Lands Storm Recovery Coalition and the member organizations, go to: nwstormrecoverycoalition.blogspot.com