WASHINGTON, May 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, has awarded 37 grants totaling $458,438 to national parks selected to participate in the 2015 Active Trails program. Now in its seventh year, the Active Trails program supports healthy living by getting people out and active in national parks through projects that help restore, protect, and/or create land and water trails across the country. These projects include improving trails frequented by disabled and wounded veterans, expanding sensory trails for the blind, introducing local Latino communities to hiking, hosting fitness activities like Zumba and yoga, and providing service-learning experiences for underserved students.
"Through our Active Trails program, people are discovering that parks are great places to have fun, give back, and exercise," said Susan Newton, senior vice president of grants & programs at the National Park Foundation. "As we move into the second century of the National Park Service and look to connect all people to America's treasured places through our Find Your Park movement, programs like Active Trails are engaging people across the country and helping them find their own unique connections to parks."
Since 2008, the National Park Foundation has granted more than $2.8 million through its Active Trails program. As of 2014, Active Trails has engaged more than 11,000 volunteers and 579 project partners who combined have contributed more than 60,000 hours to help promote, refurbish or build national park trails.
"Trails are literal pathways to better health," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "These National Park Foundation grants will help protect, restore, and create trails in national parks, both urban and rural, that are essential to our physical and mental health as places of recreation, inspiration, and reflection."
Projects made possible through the 2015 Active Trails program include:
- Improving Tanalian Trail at Lake Clark National Park and Preserve (Alaska)Lake Clark National Park and Preserve will partner with local and regional organizations to make trail tread improvements and install rest benches to help ensure that the trails provide enjoyment and accessibility to all visitors, including local residents, disabled and wounded veterans, and Alaska Native and non-native rural youth.
- Introducing the local Latino community to hiking at Lassen Volcanic National Park (California)In partnership with Latino Outreach of Tehama County (LOTC) and Latino Outdoors, Lassen Volcanic National Park will invite the local Latino community to participate in their Reach Higher Trail Challenge, which encourages visitors to hike a greater number and variety of the park's more than 150 miles of trails, develop an awareness of the health benefits of hiking, and connect fitness with food choices.
- Hosting healthy living events at Rock Creek Park (Washington, DC) Rock Creek Park and Rock Creek Park Conservancy will work with several partner organizations to offer a series of events that will give people the opportunity to experience a full spectrum of activities at the park including trash cleanups, train maintenance, yoga, bird watching, biking, dog walks, Zumba, tree planting and more.
The entire list of the 2015 Active Trails recipients can be found here.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America's national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org
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SOURCE National Park Foundation