Although the National Park Service didn't receive as many stimulus dollars as it could put to work, that doesn't mean that the $750 million or so won't go to good use across the park system.
For instance, at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado, the funds could help pay for reclamation of abandoned sand and gravel pits. Or it could be put to use on restoration and refinishing of wood structures built under the Work Progress Administration in the 1930s, or to replace a 30-year-old liquid petroleum gas system with a modern system.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, no doubt to gain some favorable PR for the Obama administration, headed to Great Sand Dunes on Sunday to point out the possibilities that the stimulus funds could turn into realities.
“Here, in my native San Luis Valley," said Secretary Salazar, "there is an urgent need to deploy President Obama's recovery plan so that we can help turn our economy around. The president's plan will not only help people get back to work, but it will restore the luster of some of our nation's crown jewels, like Great Sand Dunes National Park and the San Luis Valley's national wildlife refuges. These proud places will benefit greatly from these investments.”
According to Interior Department officials, the department's various agencies -- such as the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -- will create about 100,000 jobs over the next two years thanks to the stimulus funding.
Possible projects include investments in conservation projects, water infrastructure, roads, Native American schools, and other ready-to-go projects related to the department’s work.
Wildlife could benefit, too, as the reclamation of the abandoned sand and gravel pits at Great Sand Dunes will help in the effort to restore native trout to Sand Creek.