DE – Delaware State Parks launch Corporate Pass Program to promote workplace wellness

DOVER — DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation is initiating the Corporate Pass Program which will offer participating businesses discounted annual passes for employees and other benefits. The Corporate Pass Program gives employers a way to promote health and wellness in the workplace, while providing employees with a benefit they can feel good about.

Awarded the National Gold Medal Award for the best managed state park system in the country for 2016 and 2017, Delaware State Parks has 16 beautiful parks featuring hundreds of miles of multi-use trails, guarded beaches, water craft rentals, a newly renovated water park, five campgrounds, nature centers, historical monuments and sites with incredible living history programs, summer concert series, Brandywine Zoo, two golf courses, and two equestrian centers.

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NPS – Important Habitat In Grand Teton National Park Preserved

(Newsroom America) — The National Park Service purchased a 640-acre tract of land within Grand Teton National Park from the State of Wyoming.

The purchase was made possible by the successful completion of an eight-month fundraising campaign by Grand Teton National Park Foundation and the National Park Foundation that raised $23 million in private funds. These funds were matched by $23 million from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The newly protected land, called Antelope Flats, preserves critical wildlife habitat, migration routes, and viewsheds, prevents private development within the park boundary, and helps to complete the original vision of the park. The proceeds of the $46 million sale will benefit Wyoming public school children.

“This is a historic achievement—a true win-win—for Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park and the state’s Permanent School Trust Fund,” said Leslie Mattson, president of Grand Teton National Park Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises private funds to support Grand Teton National Park.

“The private fundraising effort was unprecedented. We are in awe of the incredible generosity of thousands of people who stepped forward to help protect Grand Teton National Park and support public education in Wyoming.”

“This is a great victory for the park and all those who love it,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation.

“The acquisition of Antelope Flats accomplishes a longstanding goal of the National Park Service by ensuring that this land will forever provide habitat for antelope, elk, moose, wolves, and grizzly bears as well as preserving the outstanding vistas of the Tetons for future visitors to enjoy.”

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Trump selects Zinke as interior secretary

President-elect Donald Trump has offered the interior secretary position to Montana’s freshman Rep. Ryan Zinke, an ex-Navy Seal commander, according to two transition officials and someone familiar with the offer.

The sources said Zinke has yet to accept and has given no indication as to which way he is leaning. But Zinke is also being discussed by prominent Washington Republicans as a possible 2018 candidate for the Montana Senate seat now held by Democrat Sen. Jon Tester.

Zinke’s office declined to comment, and Trump’s transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Zinke was an early Trump supporter. The Big Sky state Republican threw his weight behind the controversial nominee-turned-commander-in-chief in late May and stuck by him despite numerous Democratic attacks for doing so. He also campaigned with him, and his wife, Lola, is a member of the transition team dealing with veterans issues.

The offer comes just days after multiple news outlets reported that No. 4 House Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) was the favorite to win the position. But multiple top Trump aides weren’t sold on the Washington Republican and encouraged Trump to broaden his search.

She, Zinke and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) all interviewed for the job Monday.

The Trump team called Zinke last Thursday, and asked him to come in for the interview. He was traveling by plane on Tuesday evening, but is expected to accept Trump’s offer when he lands.

12/13/16 06:05 PM EST

Updated 

CT – Malloy Warns Budget Woes Will Hit State Parks

Connecticut’s state park system is going to be impacted by the state’s major fiscal problems, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy warned environmental activists Tuesday.

“Real decisions have to be made about what we can and can’t afford,” Malloy told environmentalists attending a Connecticut League of Conservation Voters conference. “There are going to have to be some compromises.”

But Malloy insisted Connecticut is “not going to lose the crown jewels” of the park system.

Malloy’s administration and the General Assembly are facing a projected $1.4 billion deficit, and activists who were at Tuesday’s conference were clearly worried about what kind of changes that would bring to the state parks.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is already refusing to take camping reservations for the spring and fall at the most popular camping sites, fearful the agency won’t have enough staff because of the budget crisis.

This past summer, the state’s fiscal troubles forced cutbacks in lifeguards at some state park swimming areas and maintenance staff reductions. Malloy said more cuts could be on the way, saying park hours might again be reduced and that some park buildings and facilities might need to be closed.

But the governor insisted that environmental programs are “one of our most protected items” when budget decisions are being made. Malloy said he is proud of his push to expand the park system by designating the former Seaside tuberculosis sanatorium in Waterford as a new shoreline state park.

Malloy also defended his support for bringing more natural gas and natural gas-fired power plants into Connecticut. His administration is now struggling to come up with a revised energy strategy in the wake of decisions in Massachusetts and New Hampshire that blocked financing for multibillion-dollar natural gas pipeline projects.

The governor dismissed a recent report by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey that New England doesn’t need access to more natural gas to solve its energy problems. Healey’s study concluded that the region’s energy issues can be solved through conservation and renewable energy sources like solar and wind power.

Malloy said he respects Healey, but, “She happens to be wrong.” He said the report didn’t adequately account for the loss of generating capacity in the region as older power plants are shut down.

The governor also said he wants Connecticut and New England to have more access to hydropower from Canada.

A proposal to build a major transmission line from Canada through the White Mountains of New Hampshire has triggered massive opposition in that state.

SD – SD GF&P presents state park idea to Lawrence County Commission

SD GF&P presents state park idea to Lawrence County Commission

 
     

It’s creating quite the buzz around the Black Hills, turning Spearfish Canyon into a state park.

South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks presented their proposal to the Lawrence County Commission Tuesday morning, showcasing some of the improvements they’ve made on the Roughlock Falls area earlier this year.
They say their next step is a series of master plan meetings, getting the public’s input on what they would like to see come of the proposed Spearfish Canyon State Park.

Katie Cerroll, Parks and Recreation Division Director at South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, says, “It’s so important to share the history of the canyon with the general public. Share who we are as the division of parks and recreation, and in turn, a dialogue to what’s the responsible management, stewardship, and what are the opportunities?”

But there is still work to be done to make the dream of Spearfish Canyon State Park come true. At a federal level, Congress must pass the land transfer bill, exchanging state land with federal land, where the state would then acquire popular tourist spots, Spearfish Canyon and Bismarck Lake.
The U.S. Forest Service has previously come out against the bill, saying they believe the way they take care of the land works great already.
At a state level to make the park happen, the state legislature would have to pass a $2.5 million dollar funding bill, and designate the park.

MO – Katy Trail trail now links Kansas City area with St. Louis

Stoughton native’s early adventures lead to Massparks director

By Michelle C.D. Roberts
“A lot of people don’t have the adventures that I had when I was a kid,” explained Priscilla Geigis.

Geigis, 51, and her sister, Deb, grew up in Stoughton, and spent every summer travelling with their parents across the country to state and national parks. Their father, a minister at the First Congregational Church in Stoughton for 25 years, and their mother, a first-grade teacher at the Hanson Elementary School for 24 years, would hitch up their tent trailer every summer and take their daughters on an adventure. One summer, the family drove all the way from Stoughton to Alaska. By the time Geigis was 13, she already had gone to several parks, including Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon.

Geigis’ parents grew up in Boston, and had not been exposed to camping, but wanted to give their daughters an adventure. To pass the time in the car as they travelled every summer, the two sisters would write in their travel journals about their experiences. They also would put on a radio show using a tape recorder where Deb pretended to be the show’s host and Priscilla pretended to be a park ranger.

It was that travel experience that led Geigis, now a Watertown resident, to a career working for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) as the director of Massparks. The Massachusetts DCR’s park system encompasses 350,000 acres that Geigis and her team manage, which includes beaches and mountaintops, campgrounds and trails. Having served for 12 years, she is responsible for enhancing the visitor experience, which involves ensuring that visitors learn about the natural and cultural resources of the parks, partake in recreational activities, and foster a sense of shared stewardship. In addition to her regular duties, Geigis also was president of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD) for three years, and continues to serve as a board member.

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KS – Kansas Parks Director Lanterman Receives High Honor  Copy

 Kansas Parks Director Lanterman Receives High Honor

PRATT – Linda Lanterman, director of the Parks Division for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), was recently inducted into the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration at the Academy’s annual meeting during the National Recreation and Park Association Conference in St. Louis, Mo. Lanterman has worked for KDWPT for 24 years has been Parks Division director since 2010.

Lanterman oversees a staff of 120, 26 Kansas state parks and an annual budget of $12 million. She began her service with the department in the Human Resources Section, then served as the assistant chief of the Licensing Section and assistant director of the Parks Division. She graduated from Wichita State University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Administration degree in Accounting. The Kansas Recreation and Park Association named her a distinguished fellow in January 2015. She also currently serves as vice-president of the National Association of State Park Directors.

“I feel privileged to become a member of the Academy,” Lanterman said. “It’s a very prestigious honor in our profession. I am especially interested in recruiting and mentoring young professionals in parks and recreation management to help ensure a sustainable future for our industry.”

Lanterman was nominated by Fran Mainella, a long-time member of the Academy and former director of the National Park Service.

“Linda is a high-energy, visionary individual whose influence is increasingly being felt in our profession,” Mainella said. “She is making a difference not only in our field of parks but in the world.”

The Academy is a group of distinguished practitioners and educators who are leaders in the field of park and recreation. They must have served for at least 15 years in a high level of administration in a park and recreation agency or as a recognized educator in parks and recreation administration or they must manage a park and recreation department for an agency serving a population of more than 500,000. They also must have demonstrated outstanding ability in administration, management or education in the profession; displayed broad interest with a direct service benefit to the advancement of public parks and recreation or assumed leadership with a keen desire to contribute to the advancement of the field. The Academy is limited to 125 active members.

VT – Stone Hut on Mt. Mansfield Set to Re-open December 1, 2016

OCT 19, 2016

Lottery, with some changes, to be held November 16th

Near the top of Mount Mansfield, reconstruction of the historic Stone Hut is nearing completion. Barring any last minute construction issues, the Hut will be open to overnight guests again starting December 1, 2016.

The hut was closed to visitors after a fire on Christmas Eve, 2015, destroyed most of the building.

Through the efforts of the Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation (FPR), and funding received through Vermont Parks Forever, the non-profit foundation supporting the parks, rebuilding the Stone Hut was fast-tracked so that visitors would be able to return this season.

“We are so grateful for the incredible outpouring of support,” said Michael Snyder, the commissioner of FPR. “Everywhere I went people would tell me about their special Stone Hut experiences. Then they would offer to help in any way they could, either by donating supplies or labor, or offering financial support. It was amazing – and a testament to its importance in peoples’ lives.”

Construction began on the new Stone Hut mid-summer and is expected to be completed by November 1. “The structure wasn’t a total loss. The original stones were salvaged and used in the new building. We worked closely with historic preservation and our architect to re-create the hut as close to the original as possible, while incorporating new upgrades to meet new code and safety standards,” said Susan Bulmer, Parks Regional Manager.

Reservations for the Stone Hut are assigned by lottery and reservation requests are being accepted now through November 14. There will be two rounds of lottery:  the first for only those individuals who had confirmed reservations for last season but were unable to use them due to the fire. After those have been processed, then the regular lottery will be held. New this year, is that there will no longer be preference given to those requesting the longest stays. All requests will be considered equally and selected at random. After the second-round lottery, any remaining nights can be reserved on a first-come/first-served basis via telephone.

More information about the Stone Hut, including detailed reservation procedures can be found at www.vtstateparks.com

NY – Campsites, Cabins and Cottages Across New York State Occupied for More Than 633,000 Nights

Campsites, Cabins and Cottages Across New York State Occupied for More Than 633,000 Nights

Complements Governor’s $900 Million NY Parks 2020 Initiative

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that State Park campgrounds set a new record for attendance for the fifth consecutive year. Through Columbus Day, campsites, cabins and cottages across the state were occupied for more than 633,000 nights, surpassing 2015’s record of 623,891 nights.

“More and more visitors are discovering the unparalleled natural beauty and outdoor recreation offered by our state parks,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our commitment to preserving parks and campgrounds across New York attracts new visitors and revenue to support jobs and create economic activity across the state.”

State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said, “Governor Cuomo is driving the renewal of our State Parks and campgrounds. State Parks offer fun things to do all year long, and I encourage people to plan a getaway at one of our incredible destinations.”

State Park camping occupancy has climbed nearly 17 percent since Governor Cuomo took office, rising every year from almost 542,000 overnight stays in 2011 to 633,000 so far this year.

Attendance Records by Year:

2011 541,771
2012 578,428
2013 583,016
2014 594,441
2015 623,891

Overnight Stays in 2016 by Region: 

Western New York – 109,241

Finger Lakes – 95,492

Southern Tier – 79,921

Central New York – 170,685

Mohawk Valley – 30,400

North Country – 148,870

Capital Region – 34,578

Mid-Hudson – 29,551

Long Island – 44,173

Late season camping remains available at a few select campgrounds. Camping reservations are available through ReserveAmerica, which provides online and phone reservations for campsites throughout New York. Reservations are accepted for campsites and cabins, from one day to nine months in advance of the planned arrival date. Visit the website or call toll free 1-800-456-CAMP.

Governor Cuomo is committed to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation. The Governor’s NY Parks 2020 plan is a multi-year commitment to leverage a broad range of private and public funding to invest approximately $900 million in State Parks from 2011 to 2020. The 2016-17 State Budget includes $90 million toward this initiative.
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com, connecting on Facebook, or following us on Twitter.