National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Celebrate National Public Lands Day with Free Admission and Special Events at National Parks
On September 22, join in the nation’s biggest celebration of the great outdoors on National Public Lands Day! All national parks will have free admission and many will host volunteer service projects open to all.
“Every year, Americans come together on National Public Lands Day to demonstrate their love of national parks,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith. “Activities hosted by parks across the nation will promote environmental stewardship and encourage the use of public lands for education, recreation, and good health.”
Marking its 25th anniversary this year, National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest single-day environmental volunteer effort. More than 200,000 people are expected to participate in volunteer service events designed to improve the health of public lands and encourage shared stewardship.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan K. Zinke will celebrate the day by working alongside groups of military veterans and youth to paint several historic structures at Grand Canyon National Park. The volunteer project to restore the cabins is an example of the $11.6 billion in deferred maintenance needs in the National Park System. Secretary Zinke will also meet with national park partners and congressional representatives to discuss legislative efforts to address the maintenance backlog.
Grand Canyon is just one of 100 national parks and 2,600 federal public land sites hosting National Public Lands Day events. In other national parks, volunteers will rehabilitate campgrounds, improve trails, restore native habitats, repair bluebird boxes, clean beaches, and refurbish historic buildings, among other projects. Check NPS.gov for more information and a list of sites.
Volunteer efforts on days such as National Public Lands Day demonstrate the willingness of people to give back to the land for the benefit of parks. Volunteers assisting on work projects on National Public Lands Day will receive a voucher that can be redeemed for free entrance to any national park on a date of their choosing.
National Public Land Day celebrations also include recreational and educational activities, such as hikes, bike rides, paddle trips, bird watching excursions, and water quality testing. To encourage everyone to join the fun, it is an entrance fee-free day for national parks and most other federal public lands and state parks.
The National Environmental Education Foundation coordinates National Public Lands Day in partnership with seven federal agencies as well as nonprofit organizations and state, regional, and local governments. The federal partners are the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.
|National Park Service News Release|
National Park Service Offers $15 Million in Grants for Outdoor Recreation in Cities
WASHINGTON – National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis today opened the application period for $15 million of grants to develop outdoor recreation spaces in urban areas.
“We are excited to offer these competitive grants which will be matched with local partnerships to create safe outdoor recreation places for people, especially young people, in neighborhoods of America’s cities,” Jarvis said.
The National Park Services (NPS) Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (ORLP) competitive grants are made available through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and are just the second round of such grants. The NPS obligated $2.9 million of the grants for pilot projects last year. Communities and partners matched that money with projects in eight cities worth a total of $6.1 million.
“I think Congress recognized the value of the projects and partnerships and they responded with a fivefold increase in project grant dollars this year,” Jarvis said. “We’re looking to build on the excitement generated by these pilot projects and grants to add many more projects across the country.”
The NPS will entertain project proposals ranging from $250,000 to $750,000 each, and planning grants up to $75,000. Projects must have matching funds and partners. Outside of the planning grants, funding for eligible projects can be used to acquire and/or develop land to create new, or reinvigorate existing, public parks and other outdoor recreation spaces in neighborhoods that are underserved or lack such opportunities.
Jarvis also announced a pilot planning grant program mini-competition, which will fund special studies to help guide park and recreation investment to where it is needed most in urbanized areas.
The ORLP grants complement the existing NPS LWCF State and Local Assistance Program in targeting national priorities to create new opportunities for outdoor play as well as development or enhancement of outdoor recreation partnerships in cities. Selected projects will showcase how partners at all levels can work collaboratively to leverage investment and support close-to-home recreation opportunities that will connect youth to public lands.
Since its establishment in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has conserved land in every state and supported tens of thousands of state and local projects. The fund does not use taxpayer dollars; the primary source of income derives from fees paid by oil and gas companies drilling offshore in waters owned by the American people. President Obama proposed full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, and is pursuing permanent authorization in annual mandatory funding for the Fund’s programs beginning in 2018.
Who may apply?
State and local government agencies (e.g., cities, counties, legal subdivisions such as park districts, etc.) and federally-recognized Indian tribes within or serving areas delineated by the Census Bureau from the 2010 census as having populations of 50,000 or more people and consisting of densely settled territory.
How do I apply?
Proposals should be developed in cooperation with the lead agency for LWCF in each state. The full funding opportunity announcement and pre-application materials are available online at grants.gov. Please look for Funding Opportunity Number P16AS00065; Title: Land and Water Conservation Fund Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program.
When is the deadline for applications?
Applications are due on Friday, May 20, 2016.
Thank heavens most of us understand its real value!
The Department of the Interiorhas announced the start of a public process to explore expanding incentives for voluntary partnerships with private
landowners and other land stewards in an effort to help conserve imperiled wildlife. The process is part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service‘s commitment to try innovative approaches to protect and restore habitats for wildlife, improve implementation of the Endangered Species Act and strengthen local economies.
Targets for partnership will be farmers, ranchers and forest landowners, who also have a stake in ensuring the working lands remain healthy. The
program hopes to give these citizens more tools and support to provide habitat for at-risk wildlife.
At the outset there will be a comment period on the ways the Fish and Wildlife Service can make existing conservation tools more effective and also improve incentives.
This program follows the announcement of a partnership between the Fish and Wildlife Service and Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to offer assistance to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. This Working Lands for Wildlife Initiative will prioritize $33 million in restoration actions. The initiative will model these future plans with private landowners.
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