Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Conservancy Funnels Millions Into National Parks

Giant Sequoia Grove. Wikipedia Commons Photo
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — In an otherworldly grove of cinnamon-colored giant sequoias, workers in June will jackhammer an old mistake: a road and parking lot that impinge on the hallowed forest.
The $36 million project, which includes dismantling a gift shop, removing a tourist tram and adding elevated walkways in the grove, will improve visitors’ experiences while better protecting some of the oldest, largest and most beautiful organisms on earth, said Dean Shenk, a supervisory ranger at Yosemite National Park.
The National Park Service will contribute about $8 million to the project, and the Federal Highway Administration will spend another $8 million for an improved road to the grove and an expanded parking lot at Yosemite’s southern entrance. The bulk of the cost, $20 million, will be covered by the Yosemite Conservancy, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco.

Philanthropic organizations known for lending a helping hand are funneling millions of dollars into the nation’s major national parks, making infrastructure improvements, building trails and providing volunteers who sometimes perform jobs previously done by park rangers.

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