Two big Yellowstone National Park projects received significant funding from the National Park Service Centennial Challenge: the Gardiner Gateway Project and native cutthroat trout restoration, totaling $1 million.
The two awards were more than matched by the Yellowstone Park Foundation (YPF).
An appropriation of $500,000 in Centennial Challenge funds will go to the Gardiner Gateway Project to be added to nearly $16 million already allocated to the project through YPF, local partners and additional federal and state funding sources. The project will restore and enhance the park’s only year-round entrance, the North Entrance from Gardiner, Mont., which includes the park’s iconic Roosevelt Arch. The project will improve the road, parking, walks, signage and pedestrian areas to meet modern road and accessibility standards.
The second Centennial Challenge Project funded in Yellowstone National Park will help preserve the native Yellowstone cutthroat trout and return the natural function of the ecosystem. The appropriation of $500,000 will be added to the $1 million Yellowstone Park Foundation annual commitment to the fish restoration project. Native cutthroat trout are thought to be among the most ecologically important fish of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Several factors, nonnative species and disease among them, are threatening the persistence of these fish. Ongoing efforts since 1994 to restore habitat and reduce the numbers of nonnative species are proving successful as the numbers of both healthy adult and juvenile cutthroat trout have been increasing for the past two years, while the numbers of nonnative species are showing a decline.
“We are very gratified that our support has contributed to the progress that the park is making to restore the Yellowstone cutthroat trout, an essential species that plays such a vital role in Yellowstone Lake’s ecosystem,” said Yellowstone Park Foundation President Karen Bates Kress. “Our many individual, corporate, and foundation donors have helped make it happen.”
“As the National Park Service approaches its Centennial in 2016, the Yellowstone Park Foundation is making a big difference,” said Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk. “The Yellowstone Park Foundation is raising private funds to match federal appropriations for projects, which greatly increases the investments we can make to improve the facilities and programs in Yellowstone.”
Nationwide, 106 projects in more than 100 parks in 31 states and the District of Columbia were funded with a $10 million Congressional appropriation that was matched with $15.9 million from more than 90 partner organizations.