Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Joshua Tree National Park prepares for more funding

What will be new at the Joshua Tree National Park this year? Thirty new seasonal employees for one thing. A full-time volunteer coordinator for another.

Chief of Interpretation Joe Zarki recently took some time to talk about these changes, wrought by approval of funding for the park’s Centennial Initiative, and other changes coming to the national park in the new year.

“The president’s Centennial Initiative for parks was passed in the current budget,” Zarki said. “It calls for substantial funding increases, funding to hire a lot of new seasonal rangers, park interpreters and maintenance employees.”

The initiative was designed to provide national parks with extra funding as the centennial of the national park service approaches.

“We had lost some positions over the years,” Zarki said. “We will try to restore, build up and improve our services.”

Visitors, he said, should see more interpretive rangers, more park staff members, improved ranger patrols and improved cleanup services at park facilities.
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