WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America's national parks, awarded $250,000 in grants to five national parks across the country through its Transportation Scholars program. Now in its 13th year, this program selects emerging transportation professionals to work side-by-side with National Park Service staff to find solutions that address the growing and unique transportation issues in America's national parks, including visitor safety, traffic, pollution, and congestion.
"Our Transportation Scholars' contributions to America's national parks are invaluable. Their research and ideas help enhance visitor safety and accessibility, while simultaneously protecting America's national treasures," said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. "We are grateful to all of our partners who recognize that addressing these transportation needs is vital to the future of our national parks."
"The work of the Transportation Scholars program is helping to improve the visitor experience and provide for the protection of the natural and cultural resources in our national parks," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "Having creative solutions to transportation issues in our parks will become increasingly important as the National Park Service prepares to begin its second century of stewardship."
The 2014 Transportation Scholars national park recipients include:
- Bandelier National Monument (New Mexico)
Scholar project: Implement a wayfinding and signage plan, and move forward with efforts to create the Bandelier Bike Loop, a multi-use path in the Bandelier region.
- Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (Georgia)
Scholar project: Kick off a three-year planning effort to develop a park-wide trail plan that will provide sustainable and accessible trails that connect regional and transit trails in the area.
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)
Scholar project: Carry out a multimodal access pilot study in a low-income neighborhood in Cleveland, scope an international transportation plan for the park, conduct an on-site shuttle feasibility study, and develop an access site plan for the northern gateway of the park.
- Devils Tower National Monument (Wyoming)
Scholar project: Collect data, research alternative transportation options, and formulate strategic solutions that will be used to improve visitor safety, traffic circulation, and overall visitor experience, with a focus on the visitor center.
- Natchez Trace Parkway (Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee)
Scholar project: Inform a planned bicycle safety campaign by providing usage data for areas of high cyclist use, identifying priority target areas of concern, and making recommendations for appropriate signage highlighting bicycle safety.
The Transportation Scholars program model has proven so successful that the Transit in Parks Technical Assistance Center (TRIPTAC) launched a complementary program in 2011, expanding the program to other public lands. This extension, the TRIPTAC Public Lands Transportation Scholars Program, is based on the NPF program model and matches Transportation Scholars with other federal land management agencies. The two programs work together to train and mentor scholars with the shared goal of preserving our nation's valuable natural, cultural, and historic resources and enhancing the visitor experience by implementing sustainable, alternative transportation in national parks and public lands.
Previous scholars' work has resulted in fourteen million dollars in private and public funding to put the Transportation Scholars' plans into action. Past scholars have gone on to careers with the National Park Service, the Federal Highway Administration, the Department of Transportation, and many private consulting agencies.
The National Park Foundation's Transportation Scholars program is made possible, in part, through the support of CSX Transportation, Eno Center for Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Motorola Solutions Foundation, the National Park Service, and the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Technical Assistance Center.
For more information on the National Park Foundation and how you can support and protect America's national parks, please visit www.nationalparks.org. For more information about the National Park Service, please visit www.nps.gov.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and on YouTube at www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, raises private funds that directly aid, support, and enrich America's more than 400 national parks and their programs. Chartered by Congress as the nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation plays a critical role in conservation and preservation efforts, establishing national parks as powerful learning environments, and giving all audiences an equal and abundant opportunity to experience, enjoy, and support America's treasured places.
SOURCE National Park Foundation