Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Big Bend National Parks Benefit From Donations

In the last week, more than $3 million in donations and grants have been announced to help Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, and Big Bend national parks with a wide range of projects, from habitat restoration to trails work.

The biggest sum, $3 million, was given by a Denver couple to the Rocky Mountain Nature Association, which exists to help Rocky Mountain meet its various needs. The gift, from the estate of Edith and John London, will go into the association's Next Generation Endowment Fund for education programs.

The Yellowstone Park Foundation today announced that contributions totaling $500,000 will help maintain some of the park's more than 1,000 miles of hiking trails. The foundation recently received $100,000 from the National Park Foundation to support the rehabilitation of hiking trails in Yellowstone. The gift is the second installment of a $500,000 grant made possible as part of the National Park Foundation’s Proud Partner relationship with The Coca-Cola Company.

The nonprofit Yellowstone Park Foundation launched the Yellowstone Trails Fund Initiative in 2006 with the goal of raising $2 million to restore the park’s most heavily used trails by 2016. With this support from Coca-Cola, through NPF, combined with donations from other corporations, foundations, and individuals, the foundation successfully reached this $2 million goal in 2007.

During the summers of 2006 and 2007, 16 of Yellowstone’s most beloved trails were restored through the Foundation’s Yellowstone Trails Fund, including the Lamar River, South Rim, and Norris Geyser Basin trails. To date, more than 70 miles of beautiful backcountry and front country trails have been rehabilitated. This summer, Yellowstone trail crews are working on improving four more trails while taking additional measures to mitigate future erosion.

The National Park Foundation, the congressionally chartered partner of the National Park Service, is disbursing the half-million dollar grant to the Yellowstone Park Foundation at $100,000 per year over five years, from 2007 through 2011.

Down at Big Bend National Park, the Friends of Big Bend National Park say they've received two grants for the park's Rio Grande Village Wetlands Restoration project. The grants, $10,000 from Tourism Cares Worldwide Grant Program and $6,500 from the Trull Foundation, will go toward restoring habitat for birds and other wildlife in Big Bend.

“We are extremely grateful to these two foundations for their support,” said Friends of Big Bend President Jack Lamkin. “Combined with our previous gift from the Brown Foundation, the park will be able to take a big step toward restoring habitat in the park.”

Friends of Big Bend National Park is one of only six organizations worldwide to receive a grant from the Tourism Cares program for Summer 2008. The mission of Tourism Cares is to preserve the travel experience for future generations.

The Trull Foundation provides grants that improve the coastal Texas environment, including farming, ranching, aquiculture and birds. This particular area of the park provides critical wetland habitat for birds, as well as a buffer zone for the adjacent habitat of the federally endangered Big Bend mosquitofish. Restoring this disturbed site would bring welcome habitat for many birds and animals, as well as spectacular wildlife viewing for park visitors.

Friends of Big Bend National Park is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support, promote and raise funds for Big Bend National Park in partnership with the National Park Services and other supporters who value the unique qualities of this national resource along the Rio Grande.