2009-04-24 / Community

National Park Week Ends Sunday

National Park Week, an annual week for celebration and recognition of our nation's National Parks, will run from April 18-26, 2009. Visitation to America's National Parks is on the rise, and last year Gateway National Recreation Area had the largest visitor increase of any park in the nation. Visitation at Gateway, America's the third most visited National Park, increased by 618,000, bringing the total to 9,500,000 visitors.

This year's National Park Week celebration is a chance for everyone in New York to explore what millions of people already know: Gateway has something for everyone. Gateway encompasses some 26,000 acres stretching from the estuaries of Jamaica Bay, New York to the shorelines of Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Although there is no shortage of events and activities, there's always a place of quiet refuge to be found as well.

"Parks can provide recreational experiences, opportunities to learn and grow, and places of quiet refuge," said Gateway's General Superintendent Barry Sullivan. "If you are looking for outdoor activities that are close to home during National Park Week, Gateway is the place to be." Below are some ideas illustrating how visitors can take a moment, an hour, or a day to enjoy

Gateway National Recreation Area during National Park Week. Visitors should call for program reservations. A complete list of all activities can be found at: www.nps.gov/gate.

April 25 at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge NYC Audubon Spring

Migration Walk 10 a.m.

Learn about the mysteries of bird migration while observing warblers and other spring migrants. Call 718- 318-4340.

April 26 at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Planting with Sprouts 1 p.m. Young sprouts (4 years and up), with their families, will wrap up the National Park Week celebration during this volunteer planting project and exploration of plant parts from roots to blooms. Call 718-318-4340.

"We're also excited about some new opportunities for our visitors beyond National Park Week as well," said Sullivan. "As an example, Tiffany & Company, the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy, Statue Cruises and the National Park Service are collaborating on development of 'Eco Cruises,' an ecology boating tour for Jamaica Bay and the greater New

York Harbor." Educational programs will be presented onboard by rangers.

Gateway NRA also recently received a $50,000 Coca Cola Kayaking Grant from the National Park Foundation. The park is undertaking the development of a new kayaking program and the coordination of the Jamaica Bay Water Trail.

The grant will enable development of a designated water trail, classroom kayak instruction and actual deployment of trained students in kayaks on Jamaica Bay. Gateway NRA is also home to many special events throughout the year.

For a complete listing of activities year round visit the park website at www.nps.gov/gate.

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