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Yellowstone awarded funds for two Centennial Challenge projects

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The National Park Service’s Centennial Challenge recently awarded Yellowstone National Park $1 million for two significant partnership projects. The appropriation was matched with money from the Yellowstone Park Foundation, the park’s partner fundraising organization.

An appropriation of $500,000 in Centennial Challenge funds will go directly to the Gardiner Gateway Project, adding 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 North Entrance in Gardiner, the park’s only year-round entrance, which includes the park’s iconic Roosevelt Arch. The project will improve the road, parking, walkways, signage and pedestrian areas to meet modern road and accessibility standards.

The second Centennial Challenge project will help preserve the native Yellowstone cutthroat trout and rehabilitate the natural function of the ecosystem. The $500,000 appropriation will be added to YPF’s $1 million annual commitment to the fish-restoration project.

Native cutthroat trout are thought to be among the most ecologically important fish in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Several factors – non-native species and disease among them – are threatening the persistence of these fish. Since 1994, ongoing efforts to restore habitat and reduce the numbers of non-native species are proving successful. The prevalence of both healthy adult and juvenile cutthroat trout in the park have increased for the past two years, while the numbers of non-native 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.”

Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk said YPF’s financial support of the park is making a big difference.

“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,” Wenk said.

Nationwide, 106 projects in more than 100 parks in 31 states and the District of Columbia were funded with a $10 million Congressional appropriation for the Centennial Challenge. That money was matched with $15.9 million from more than 90 partner organizations.

More than 20,000 NPS employees care for 407 national parks in the U.S., and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.

The Yellowstone Park Foundation has more than 20,000 individuals, corporations and foundations that donate to YPF each year, and has served as Yellowstone’s official fundraising partner since 1996. YPF has raised more than $85 million, and funded more than 300 important projects and initiatives since its inception including wildlife research, cutthroat trout restoration, trail maintenance and youth education.

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