VALLEJO, Calif., Nov. 17, 2010 - Federal agencies, conservation groups and partners came together this month near Palm Springs to celebrate a year of major accomplishments along the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCNST). The event also marked the 10th anniversary of the Bureau of Land Management's National Landscape Conservation System. The PCNST became a part of the system in 2000.
Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) was used to employ nearly 60 young adults with the Student Conservation Association to maintain, reconstruct and rehabilitate more than 200 miles of the 2,650-mile trail in the first year of a two-year project.
Representatives from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA), the Student Conservation Association (SCA), the Friends of the Desert Mountains, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and The Wildlands Conservancy took part in the gathering Nov. 5.
"Developing and nurturing sustainable partnerships is essential to increasing capacity for trail maintenance, as well as developing citizen stewards," Beth Boyst, U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Crest Trail Program Manager, told a group gathered in the San Gorgonio Wilderness.
"Partnerships like this are critical to the success of the National Landscape Conservation System, now 10 years old," said BLM-California's Acting State Director Jim Abbott.
"This project is a great example of what can be accomplished working alongside our partners," said Liz Bergeron, PCTA executive director. "We are proud to be part of such a successful team effort."
Through the Recovery Act, the USFS and BLM received a total of about $4 million for projects on the PCNST. The project trains and employs youth crews and young professionals in trail resource management, construction and maintenance work. Thanks to this funding, more than 34,000 hours of corps crew and volunteer time was devoted to the PCNST in 2010, and 58 young adults were employed by the Student Conservation Association under a cooperative agreement with the BLM and Forest Service.
Under the Recovery Act, Interior is making an investment in conserving America's timeless treasures - our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage - while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.
"With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.
Secretary Salazar pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department's economic recovery projects. The public has been able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery. Secretary Salazar appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force to work closely with Interior's Inspector General and ensure the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency set by President Obama.