Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sleeping Bear Wakes Up to Increased Funding

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore budget was facing serious shortfalls, but the final 2008 federal budget has increased funding for National Parks by nearly 14 percent.

Assistant superintendent at Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, Tom Ulrich, said that the funding will increase from $3.6 million to $4.1 million in fiscal 2008, which actually began in October 2007. Since 2002 the budget had increased by only 5%, leaving the park searching for funds to continue operations. Grants have kept programs going and the buildings clean, but base funding was becoming a serious problem.

The increased funding is part of a National Centennial Initiative in anticipation of the National Park Service’s 100th birthday.

The new funds at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will be disbursed:
  • $244,000 for personnel, including deputized park rangers, and biology technicians who will help control invasive species and protect the piping plover.
  • $176,000 for ten seasonal positions in a wide range of fields.
  • A new Volunteer in the Parks (VIP) coordinator will be hired. 30,000 volunteer hours were recorded in 2007. "That's a substantial amount compared to other parks," said Ulrich.
  • Several parking lots will be repaved, roofs replaced, and the clearing of brush in several areas will be ongoing projects.

from Leelanau Enterprise, "Lakeshore official hails big increase in budget", Feb 9, 2008
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