Tag Archives: National Park Service

National Parks Brought $774 Million to Arizona in 2013

Walnut Canyon National Monument | Courtesy of National Park Service

Walnut Canyon National Monument | Courtesy of National Park Service

A report released this month by the National Park Service shows that visitors to Arizona’s national parks in 2013 spent $773.9 million and supported nearly 12,000 jobs in the state.

More than 10 million people visited national parks in Arizona last year, the report says. Nationwide, nearly 275 million people visited national parks in 2013, and those visits created a benefit of $26.5 billion to the U.S. economy.

The peer-reviewed study also confirms a common statement about America’s national parks: For every $1 invested in parks, $10 in economic benefit is created.

Arizona’s 2013 numbers were up from 2012, when just under 10 million people visited national parks in the state. Those visitors created $745.6 million in economic benefit. That’s despite the 16-day government shutdown that closed national parks in October 2013. Park visitation and economic impact were down slightly nationwide as a result of the shutdown, the study says.

To view and download the full report, visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.

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Grand Canyon Lodge Receives Environmental Achievement Award From NPS

Courtesy of Robert Stieve

Courtesy of Robert Stieve

Great news from our friends at the Grand Canyon Lodge – North Rim:

The Grand Canyon Lodge – North Rim has received an Environmental Achievement Award from the National Park Service for Environmental Stewardship at the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The award was conferred specifically for the Grand Canyon Lodge – North Rim’s waste reduction program.

In 2009, the lodge embarked on a program of daily hand sorting of all solid waste. In 2012 alone, it  recycled nearly 55,000 pounds of cardboard, 3,600 pounds of paper, 10,000 pounds of metal, 40,000 pounds of glass and 18,000 pounds of plastic. In addition, 103,000 pounds of food waste was converted to a nutrient-rich liquid and safely discharged into the national park sewer system. Together, these amounts represent a 100 percent diversion of these waste streams.

The Grand Canyon Lodge - North Rim

Courtesy of Darla Cook/Forever Resorts

“We believe good environmental stewardship is not only essential for the health of the planet, but also pays for itself in the long term,” said Mike Kidd, general manager, Grand Canyon Lodge – North Rim. “Since taking over the concession in 2008, our dumpster service cost has been cut by 93 percent – from $54,000 per season to just $4,000. In turn, this cost savings enables us to invest in more efficient technologies, source reduction and waste diversion measures.”

In addition, the lodge’s waste reduction program has resulted in a substantial amount of greenhouse gas reduction. Had the 268,000 pounds of waste generated in 2012 been sent to a landfill, about 132 metric tons of CO2 equivalent of greenhouse gases would have been discharged into the atmosphere. Instead, only approximately 15 metric tons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions were generated, representing a reduction of nearly 89 percent.

Nearly every national park in the United States focuses on waste reduction and waste diversion, yet the operations at Grand Canyon National Park – North Rim are still exemplary. Staff at the lodge not only integrated technologies into their operations to achieve their waste management objectives, but also worked closely with Grand Canyon National Park to demonstrate the waste reduction technologies were compatible with the park’s infrastructure, worked diligently to reduce waste before it was generated and strategized to maximize waste diversion.

Due to their success at the North Rim, these waste reduction strategies are being planned for use by concessioners at Acadia National Park, Grand Teton National Park (Signal Mountain Lodge), Glacier National Park, Mount Rainier National Park and others.

For more information about the Grand Canyon Lodge — North Rim or to make reservations, call 877-386-4383 or visit http://www.GrandCanyonLodgeNorth.com. You can also “Like” the Grand Canyon Lodge – North Rim on Facebook.

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Celebrate “National Get Outdoors Day” …. In The Outdoors …. For Free.

Josh Buchanan | Saguaro National Park East

Get a head start on your summer fun with free admission to any national park this Saturday, June 9. In celebration of National Get Outdoors Day, all 397 national parks will waive entrance fees.

“Outdoor physical activity is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and national parks are great places to get out, experience nature, and get your heart pumping,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “There are so many things to see and do in a park, either on your own or on a guided tour. Stroll a battlefield, hike to a waterfall, observe wildlife, paddle a waterway, walk on the beach, or enjoy a picnic. There’s something for everyone in America’s national parks. We hope to see you on Saturday.”

National Get Outdoors Day is part of Great Outdoors Month, proclaimed by the President to encourage Americans, especially youth, to participate in outdoor activities and enjoy the beauty of public lands. Hundreds of organizations and businesses will partner with Federal, state, and local agencies to provide fun and healthy events at sites throughout the country.

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Washington expects several thousand people to take part in a signature Get Outdoors Day event featuring archery, disc golf, a flash mob, an obstacle course, soccer, parachute games, exercise classes, cooking demonstrations and other interactive activities.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis is anticipating a big crowd for its “Get Outdoors under the Gateway Arch.” Activities will include a boot camp, yoga, Pilates, tai chi, fishing, gardening, bike rides, and walking tours. A list of other sites hosting National Get Outdoors Day activities can be found at http://www.nationalgetoutdoorsday.org/locations/

The National Park Service will have four more entrance fee free days in 2012 – September 29 (National Public Lands Day) and November 10 to 12 (Veterans Day weekend). There are 133 parks that normally charge entrance fees ranging from $3 to $25. But here’s a tip – 264 national parks never have entrance fees, so you can plan inexpensive visits year round!

If you are planning a trip that includes multiple national parks, you might consider the $80 annual pass that provides entrance to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many other Federal lands – more than 2,000 in all. This America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is offered free to all active duty military members and their dependents. Information on these and other pass options is available online.

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In The News: National Park Service and Grand Canyon River Guides Working Together

Photo by: Michael Pancier | Grand Canyon National Park

For over twenty years National Park Service (NPS) personnel and commercial river guides have joined together on Co-operative Resource trips in Grand Canyon National Park. These trips began as volunteer opportunities for river guides to give back to the valuable natural resources of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon, and a way for guides to interact with and get to know the NPS employees that actively manage the resources. According to Mark Pillar of Arizona River Runners, the long-time Colorado River outfitter began participating in Co-operative Resource trips in 1991, donating their facilities and equipment year after year and drawing in guides from other river outfitters. Pillar says, “Over the years, these trips continued and evolved to give each outfitter a chance to outfit and actually pay their guides to participate. Although the funding and acronyms may have changed, the spirit of the trips remained the same – Grand Canyon outfitters and guides working alongside NPS personnel for the greater good of the Grand Canyon River Corridor.”

Maintaining a pristine river corridor is an ongoing effort in the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon rafting guides actively work on a daily basis to minimize their passenger impacts during the rafting season, but with the help of NPS, they are given the opportunity to give back to the resource by actively managing the impacts that occur over time by commercial and private boaters. Work on Co-operative Resource trips may involve improvement of river trails, campsite and archaeological site stabilization, social trail obliteration, invasive plant removal or archaeological site monitoring. Joining with NPS personnel on these restorative missions fosters camaraderie, understanding and the chance to interact one-on-one to manage the Grand Canyon’s natural resources.

In February of 2012, Arizona River Runners completed a 19 day Co-operative Resource trip focused on archaeological monitoring over 226 river miles from Lee’s Ferry to Diamond Creek. Six Arizona River Runners guides ran the boats and logistically supported a crew of 7 NPS archaeologists and an NPS hydrologist. Over 170 archaeological sites were monitored over the course of the trip. Planning for the trip began months ahead of time in order to create an itinerary that would allow the archaeologists to meet their goals efficiently, as well as mapping out the logistics of food and gear required for the cold weather trip.

As a participant in the Colorado River trip, Pillar says, “This trip has given our staff a firsthand knowledge and insight regarding specific areas in the Canyon along the river corridor, and how these sites pertain to Native Americans.” He points out there are hundreds of sites throughout the Canyon that have historical and present day ties to the Hopi, Navajo, Paiute, Zuni, Havasupai and Hualapai tribes, and visiting the sites with NPS archaeologists gave the river guides a deeper understanding of the physical and cultural sensitivity of these sites within the Grand Canyon. “The cooperation and sharing of skills and information gave archaeologists and guides alike a great appreciation for each other and the commitment to the Canyon that each group possesses,” explains Pillar. “This Co-operative trip was a complete success, thanks to NPS personnel and the guides!”

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Happy 95th Birthday National Park Service… Celebrate Early at the Grand Canyon

Image by Michael Clevenger

Talk about a very good reason to play hooky tomorrow…

You’re invited to join in the celebration of the 95th birthday of the National Park Service tomorrow at Grand Canyon National Park where special programs will highlight the National Park Service’s mission and history.

A little background: When Yellowstone became the world’s first national park in 1872, there was no National Park Service; and when the need for on-site management of the park became apparent, the Department of War was tasked with its protection.

In the decades that followed, more national parks, monuments and reserves were created and additional agencies became involved in their protection, including the General Land Office and the US Forest Service. With different missions, these agencies often managed the parks and other federal lands that they were in charge of in different ways. Clearly, people began to argue, a single federal agency was needed; and in 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act, the NPS was finally established. By the time the Grand Canyon was declared a national park in 1919, after being established as a Federal Preserve in 1893, and a National Monument in 1908, the National Park Service was ready to protect this great national treasure.

The NPS was created to “promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments and reservations…” and “…to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” (1916 Organic Act)

Today there are nearly 400 park units across the United States; and the NPS’ more than 20,000 employees work diligently to preserve, protect, and share them with the public. Within Grand Canyon National Park, almost 500 of those employees protect not only the park’s geologic landscape and spectacular views, but endangered species.

Thursday’s celebration will include programs that share the history and mission of the NPS as well as the exploration, history and value of Grand Canyon National Park.

Programs will be offered throughout the day and include:

  • 8:30AM – Guided Hike – Grand Canyon Speaks Volumes
  • 10:00AM – History Talk -Women and the NPS: Pillbox Hats, Miniature Badges and Go-go Boots
  • 1:30PM – Rim Walk
  • 1:30PM – Mather Point Talk – Ranger Stories
  • 2:30PM – Porch Talk – The NPS Arrowhead Symbol
  • 3:00PM – Mather Point Talk
  • 6:30PM – Campfire Talk – Singing Through History
  • 8:00PM – Evening Program – Into the Great Unknown: John Wesley Powell’s River Trip through Grand Canyon.

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