Stimulus Hitting Home
April 22, 2009
National Parks in Montana Receive Millions in Recovery Act Funds
The National Park Service has announced that it will direct $750 million in federal stimulus money to 800 projects, including more than $17 million for maintenance work in Glacier National Park.
"These projects are an investment in America's future that will create jobs, stimulate the economies of local communities and get our country moving again," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in a news release.
Salazar pledged "unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability" in implementing funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The Glacier projects include $15.6 million for ongoing restoration work at the historic Many Glacier Hotel. And there is $1.9 million to upgrade facilities to meet disabilities requirements, renovate other historic structures and repair backcountry trails and campgrounds.
While trail work might be carried out over a couple of months, complicated rehabilitation work at the Many Glacier Hotel will take longer.
The hotel, built by the Great Northern Railway in 1915, has been undergoing a structural makeover since 2000, but funding has been short to complete remaining interior rehabilitation work.
Yellowstone National Park photo by Dave Reese
Yellowstone National Park will receive $14.7 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This is part of a $750 million investment in nearly 800 projects throughout the National Park Service, which was announced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at an event held April 22, 2009, in Washington, DC.
The money will be used to fund projects designed to address critical park needs, improve experiences for park visitors, and implement sustainable
green technologies, while generating economic activity in the region. The largest of the Yellowstone projects is construction of a new wastewater
treatment plant at Madison Junction. Planning and environmental compliance for the $9 million project was completed in early 2006. It will replace an aging plant built 50 years ago which struggles to handle summer wastewater flows and was never designed to operate during winter months.
Decreasing the park's impact on the environment by reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions is the goal of an innovative project which takes a
new look at an old idea. Nearly a century ago, when the U.S. Army was still running Yellowstone, a Pelton water wheel was installed to generate electricity for Mammoth Hot Springs. While that original unit was taken out of service long ago, the park plans to use $1.65 million to install a new micro hydro system to harness power from drinking water already stored for use. Using this clean power source will reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions by 695 tons and save the park approximately $80,000 in electric bills.
Yellowstone will start work on many of the park's approved Recovery Act projects in just a matter of weeks.
The list of all National Park Service projects funded by the Recovery Act is online at www.doi.gov/recovery/nps.