Sunday, June 28, 2015

Local summer youth projects benefit from National Park Service increased funding

Kendra from Dollar Bay paints a window for the Carnegie Museum in Houghton. Her work is a summer youth project supported by Keweenaw National Historical Park. (Photo courtesy Keweenaw National Historical Park)

WASHINGTON -- From trail repairs to new wayside interpretive panels, road and bridge repairs and restoring the most photographed barn in America, the National Park Service announced $26 million for more than 100 initiatives that will help parks prepare for centennial visitors.

The National Park Service received a $10 million Congressional appropriation that was matched with $15.9 million from more than 90 partner organizations. The 106 projects, located at more than 100 parks in 31 states and the District of Columbia, are designed to improve visitor services, support outreach to new audiences, and leverage partnerships to reinvigorate national parks while forging connections with communities.

"As the National Park Service approaches its Centennial in 2016, the National Park Foundation and local park friends groups have pledged to raise private funds to improve the facilities, accessibility, and programs of our national parks, matching the federal appropriation and resulting in a $26 million investment in the parks," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

Keweenaw National Historical Park (Keweenaw NHP), with $20,000 of federal funds and $20,000 from the Keweenaw NHP Advisory Commission, National Parks of Lake Superior Foundation, and Isle Royale and Keweenaw Parks Association, will establish a Youth Stewardship Work Crew to Assist Heritage Sites and Partners.

"We are very grateful that some of our outstanding park partners have stepped in to help make this program a reality," said Keweenaw NHP Superintendent Mike Pflaum. 

Local youth will be employed during the summer to work on a variety of projects throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula while also learning about the area’s copper mining history. For this project, the Park is also partnering with SEEDS Youth Conservation Corps, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering youth to create change. Everyone involved is excited about this upcoming season and the chance to work with historic properties and engage with park visitors.

"We will be able to accomplish important work for the park and partner sites and provide meaningful employment for young people in our community," stated Superintendent Pflaum.

Follow the Keweenaw NHP Facebook page for project updates and photos of the youth working throughout the summer. Click here for a complete list of centennial challenge projects and partners.

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