Washington, D.C. (June 6, 2013) – The National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks, awarded $250,000 in grants to five national parks across the country through its Transportation Scholars program. Now in its 12th year, this program selects emerging transportation professionals to work side-by-side with National Park Service staff to research sustainable alternative solutions to address the growing and unique transportation issues in America’s national parks, including traffic, pollution and congestion.
“By working closely with national park staff, surrounding communities, private consultants, contractors, and park visitors, the Transportation Scholars are able to gather incredibly useful research and develop sustainable ideas that will help ensure the future of America’s national parks,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “To date, this program has positively impacted more than 45 sites across the country.”
“The Transportation Scholars Program is a unique partnership that is helping us create comprehensive transportation plans for national parks,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “The research and solutions developed by these scholars not only aid us in improving the visitor experience, but also provide for improved protection of the natural and cultural resources in our parks.”
The 2013 Transportation Scholars national park recipients include:
Bandelier National Monument (New Mexico)
The scholar will help develop a thoughtful wayfinding/signage plan and establish partnerships with local communities and agencies to collectively address the need for a Bandelier bike loop and regional bicycle trail.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio)
The scholar will develop a plan for alternative transportation that will help connect underserved communities with the natural, historic, educational and recreational aspects of the national park.
Lowell National Historical Park (Massachusetts)
The scholar will help manage improvements to and expansion of the existing visitor trolley system, in addition to providing technical assistance in contract management, addressing FTA program requirements and facilitating collaboration among community partners.
National Mall and Memorial Parks (Washington, D.C.)
The scholar will develop strategic recommendations for multimodal transportation options that provide more efficient visitor mobility, safe walking/biking environments, and less traffic congestion.
Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana and Idaho)
The scholar will continue working on the “Gardiner Gateway Project,” which was started in 2012. The scholar will focus on improving the current traffic congestion, parking overflow, and pedestrian/bicycle safely concerns at the park’s historic north entrance.
The Transportation Scholars program model has proven so successful that the Transit in Parks Technical Assistance Center (TRIPTAC) launched a complementary program last year, expanding the program to all public lands. This new extension, the TRIPTAC Public Lands Transportation Scholars Program, is based on the NPF program model and matches Transportation Scholars with one of three other federal land management agencies. The two programs will work together to train and mentor scholars with the shared goal of preserving our nation’s valuable natural, cultural, and historic resources and enhancing the visitor experience by implementing sustainable, alternative transportation in national parks and public lands.
Previous scholars’ work has resulted in nearly four million dollars in private and public funding to put the Transportation Scholars’ plans into action. Past scholars have gone on to careers with the National Park Service, the Federal Highway Administration, the Department of Transportation and many private consulting agencies.
The National Park Foundation’s Transportation Scholars program is made possible, in part, through the support of the National Park Service, Eno Transportation Foundation, Federal Highway Administration, Motorola Solutions Foundation, and the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks Technical Assistance Center.
For more information on the National Park Foundation or how you can support and protect America’s national parks, please visit www.nationalparks.org. For more information about the National Park Service, please visit www.nps.gov.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 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, the official charity of America’s national parks, raises private funds that directly aid, support and enrich America’s more than 400 national parks and their programs. Chartered by Congress as the nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation plays a critical role in conservation and preservation efforts, establishing national parks as powerful learning environments, and giving all audiences an equal and abundant opportunity to experience, enjoy and support America’s treasured places. www.nationalparks.org.