Zion National Park to receive slice of $50 million for infrastructure improvement

Composite image | Lower Emerald Pool Trail in Zion National Park, Utah, photo by GCosby / iStock / Getty Images Plus, St. George News

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner announced that the National Park Service is teaming up with partners across the nation to distribute nearly $50 million in high-priority maintenance and infrastructure projects at 42 parks in 29 states, including almost $700,000 for Zion National Park.

Congress provided $20 million for the projects as part of the “Centennial Challenge” program, which will be matched by $33 million from more than 50 park partners to improve trails, restore buildings and increase visitor access to parks.

Zion National Park is scheduled to receive $346,337 of federal funds, with $348,240 matching funds from the National Park Foundation and the recently formed Zion Natl Park Forever Project. Funds will be used to reduce deferred maintenance on the lower and middle Emerald pools.

Zinke and Gardner made the announcement while visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, which will receive $200,000 in federal funds matched by $200,000 from the Rocky Mountain Conservancy to reduce deferred maintenance on the Alluvial Fan Trail.

See complete list of parks, funds and projects at the bottom of this report.

Our national parks span twelve time zones and attract more than 330 million visitors every year,” Zinke said. “Some locations, like Rocky Mountain National Park, attract millions of visitors alone. This puts an incredible stress on the aging infrastructure at our parks and thanks to Centennial Grants and the generosity of public-private partners, we are able to distribute funds to rebuild our parks.”

Zinke said that using public-private partnerships to help address the deferred maintenance backlog remains a priority for the department and the Trump administration.

“Park infrastructure includes trails, signage, restrooms, lodges, roads, bridges and waterlines,” he said. “These funds will help us continue to provide a world-class experience to visitors and ensure that these amazing places are around for future generations.”

Gardner thanked Zinke for highlighting Rocky Mountain National Park, which he called “a crown jewel of Colorado’s public lands,” as well as the dedicated park employees.

We must continue to be good stewards of our national parks and protect these treasures for future generations,” he said.

Examples of the more than 50 projects the Centennial Challenge program will fund this year using partner donations and federal matching funds include:

  • Centennial Challenge funds will complement a donation announced last year from philanthropist David M. Rubenstein to the National Park Foundation that will repair and restore the Lincoln Memorial in addition to expanding educational resources and public access.
  • Funding from Yellowstone Forever will improve overlooks along the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
  • Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will restore heavily used front country trails in the park.
  • The Gettysburg Foundation will help create a multi-use trail at Gettysburg National Military Park that will connect the visitor center to a historic farm that was used as a field hospital during the battle.
  • Friends of Saguaro National Park, the Western National Park Association and G. Arthur Jansson are teaming up to create an accessible outdoor classroom space at Saguaro National Park.

“Many of the national parks that Americans treasure today would simply not exist without the strong partnerships and philanthropy that have benefited the national park idea for over a century,” Acting National Park Service Director Michael T. Reynolds said. “The Centennial Challenge program continues that proud tradition by matching dollars from Congress with generous donations from dedicated partners to make high-impact improvements in parks.”

Since 2015 the National Park Service has leveraged over $45 million in funding from Congress through the Centennial Challenge program to attract more than $77 million from partner organizations to support over hundreds of projects across the country that have improved visitor services and strengthened partnerships to reinvigorate national parks.

Centennial Challenge projects and partners

 Park Name  State Project Title Federal $ Partner $ Partner
Acadia NP ME Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Multiple Park Trails 192,286 259,112 Friends of Acadia
Andersonville NHS GA Reduce Deferred Maintenance by Replacing Park Signage 73,071 73,071 Friends of Andersonville
Antietam NB MD Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Historic Piper Farm 6,000 6,490 Save Historic Antietam Foundation
Apostle Islands NL WI Reduce Deferred Maintenance at Raspberry Light Station 3,657 3,657 Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
Badlands NP SD Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Bison Fence 475,000 475,000 National Park Foundation, World Wildlife Fund
Biscayne NP FL Reduce Deferred Maintenance at Elliott Key Visitor Center and Replace Park Signage 166,475 170,790 Florida National Parks Association
Blue Ridge Parkway NC, VA Reduce Deferred Maintenance at Humpback Rocks Farm, Sharp Top Shelter, and Moses Cone Estate 303,149 308,880 Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation
Blue Ridge Parkway NC, VA Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Historic Mabry Mill and Groundhog Mountain Structures 62,863 76,791 National Park Foundation, Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal NHP MD Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Swain’s Lockhouse 100,000 108,160 C&O Canal Trust, Friends of Historic Great Falls Tavern, C&O Canal Association
Chickamauga & Chattanooga NMP GA, TN Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Moccasin Bend Orientation Plaza and Park Trails 143,773 287,546 Friends of Moccasin Bend
Cuyahoga Valley NP OH Provide Orientation and Interpretation at Visitor Contact Station 1,492,333 1,492,333 Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Delaware Water Gap NRA NJ, PA Reduce Deferred Maintenance through Replacment of Deteriorating Non-Code Compliant Cabins 1,429,066 1,429,066 Pocono Environmental Education Center
Denali NP & Pres AK Support Research for Three Long-Distance Migration Birds, the Gray-cheeked Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, and Hermit Thrush 23,800 23,800 Alaska Geographic, Denali Education Center
Dry Tortugas NP FL Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Traverse Magazines at Fort Jefferson 237,637 548,316 HTR Foundation through South Florida NP Trust
Everglades NP FL Reduce Deferred Maintenance by Repurposing Deteriorating Facility into Visitor Center – Planning and Design 720,000 800,000 South Florida National Park Trust, Everglades Association
Federal Hall NMem NY Restore and Illuminate the Wall Street Facade at Federal Hall 189,280 300,000 National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy
Gettysburg NMP PA Install a Multi-Use Trail to Connect the George Spangler Farm with the Museum and Visitor Center 394,271 459,837 Gettysburg Foundation
Glacier NP MT Prevent Aquatic Invasive Species Infestations through Inspections 60,000 60,000 Glacier National Park Conservancy
Golden Gate NRA CA Reduce Deferred Maintenance at Fort Cronkhite 628,912 644,635 NatureBridge
Grand Teton NP WY Reduce Deferred Maintenance in South Jenny Lake Visitor Use Area 757,356 1,267,202 Grand Teton National Park Foundation
Great Smoky Mountains NP NC, TN Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Rainbow Falls Trails and Historic Structures 124,945 312,711 Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains NP NC, TN Conduct Natural Resource Projects including Native Species Re-introductions and Forest Pest Control 72,000 169,182 Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Great Smoky Mountains Association
Great Smoky Mountains NP NC, TN Reduce Deferred Maintenance on the Palmer House Museum and Replace Exhibits 38,470 38,470 Great Smoky Mountains Association
Great Smoky Mountains NP NC, TN Conduct Research and Natural Resource Projects on Wildlife Such as Elk, Black Bears, and Exotic Wild Hogs 18,600 55,744 Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Great Smoky Mountains Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Hawaii Volcanoes NP HI Reduce Deferred Maintenance on and Kilauea Hale 15,600 15,600 Friends of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
Kalaupapa NHP HI Reduce Deferred Maintenance at the Bayview Complex and Pali Trail Overlook 52,173 52,425 Pacific Historic Parks
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP VT Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Park Trails and Replace Park Signage 45,448 53,617 Woodstock Foundation
Mount Rainier NP WA Reduce Deferred Maintenance on multiple park trails 24,878 24,878 Washington’s National Park Fund
Mount Rainier NP WA Reduce Deferred Maintenance on the Wonderland Trail 89,427 89,427 National Park Foundation
Multiple Multiple Complete Deferred Maintenance Projects at Multiple Parks 850,000 850,000 National Park Foundation
National Capital Parks-East DC Reduce Deferred Maintenance at Carter G Woodson Home National Historic Site – Planning and Design 425,000 425,000 National Park Foundation and other donors
National Mall & Memorial Parks DC Reduce Deferred Maintenance at Lincoln Memorial and Redesign the Unused Spaces Beneath the Memorial into a Multi-Use Service Area 4,840,000 16,000,000 National Park Foundation
National Mall & Memorial Parks DC Reduce Deferred Maintenance at Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument 650,000 650,000 National Park Foundation
National Mall & Memorial Parks DC Reduce Deferred Maintenance at West Potomac Park 15,000 16,224 Trust for the National Mall
National Mall & Memorial Parks DC Reduce Deferred Maintenance Near Mt. Vernon Triangle 10,000 10,816 Downtown Business Improvement District
Ocmulgee NM SC Reduce Deferred Maintenance on the River Trail and Improve Accessibility 75,000 75,000 NewTown Macon, Georgia Department of Transportation
Padre Island NS TX Protect Sea Turtle Population through Beach Patrols and Nest Recovery 30,000 30,000 Multiple Donors
Pullman NM IL Document and Archive Oral History Recordings 3,750 3,750 National Park Foundation
Pullman NM IL Develop Junior Ranger Program 15,850 15,850 National Park Foundation
Rock Creek Park DC Construct Regenerative Stormwater Conveyance 320,000 320,000 Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy
Rock Creek Park DC Restore Woodland Area along Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway 17,846 71,240 Rock Creek Conservancy
Rock Creek Park DC Reduce Deferred Maintenance in Chevy Chase Circle 16,368 17,705 Friends of Chevy Chase Circle
Rocky Mountain NP CO Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Alluvial Fan Trail 200,000 200,000 Rocky Mountain Conservancy
Saguaro NP AZ Create Accessible Outdoor Classroom Space 107,323 108,300 Friends of Saguaro National Park, Western National Park Association, G. Arthur Jansson
Sleeping Bear Dunes NL MI Construct Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail 561,000 561,000 Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trails, Inc. and Michigan Department of Transportation
Tallgrass Prairie NPres KS Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Multiple Park Trails 121,935 135,223 National Park Foundation
Thomas Edison NHP NJ Repair Historic Line Shafts in the Heavy Machine Shop 9,999 9,999 Friends of Thomas Edison NHP
Thomas Edison NHP NJ Improve Accessibility, Preservation and Educational Use of Edison Archives 1926-1931 49,999 56,746 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Tule Lake Unit CA Support Programming for Students to Participate in the Tule Lake Pilgrimage 62,556 130,000 Tule Lake Committee
War in the Pacific NHP GU Implement Reef Ranger Summer Camp 7,500 7,500 Pacific Historic Parks
Whiskeytown NRA CA Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Multiple Park Trails 15,260 15,260 Friends of Whiskeytown
Yellowstone NP ID, MT, WY Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Trails, Retaining Walls, and Overlooks 2,416,320 2,416,300 Yellowstone Forever
Yellowstone NP ID, MT, WY Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Stephens Creek Bison Facility 150,342 154,669 Yellowstone Forever
Yosemite NP CA Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Lower and Multiple Backcountry Trails 264,002 294,065 Yosemite Conservancy, California Conservation Corp
Zion NP UT Reduce Deferred Maintenance on Lower and Middle Emerald Pools Trails 346,337 348,240 National Park Foundation, Zion National Park Foundation

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  • Caveat_Emptor July 25, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Not to be too skeptical, but it is unclear how these grants were prioritized.
    These grants fall into the category of “drop in the bucket” of the total deferred maintenance list of projects.
    It seems like we have to deal with a deteriorating NPS infrastructure, across all parks and monuments.
    Perhaps it is time to raise user fees for each park, with the requirement that the incremental funds must be spent exclusively at that facility, to handle deferred maintenance. Over time the public would help prioritize where the NPS needs to focus its attention, as a result of their direct financial support.
    We may have too many facilities to maintain, nationwide, and it might be time to start challenging the current list.

  • utahdiablo July 25, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Maybe the Park can buy human feces bags , like doggie poop bags, to put on the trails as the tourists are starting to poop on the side on the trails at Zion….real class acts coming to our little slice of heaven nowadays…

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