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October 26, 2011

From the (e)Mailbox: U.S. report to recognize Bear River bird refuge, Jordan parkway

Congrats to USEE Partner The Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and the Jordan River Parkway! USEE held it's Annual Conference at the Refuge in 2008, and everyone there loved it! USEE has also been working in the West Side Salt Lake City Communities, so we love to see the Jordan River Parkway highlighted. Link

Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge manager Bob Barrett loves nothing more than to watch thousands of fourth­graders discover the wonders of birds and wetlands.

His goal is to wear out the refuge's 28,000 square- foot environmental education cen­­ter before he retires. He wants to get youngsters away from electronic gadgets that dom­­inate their time and into the outdoors.

' Americans want to be in touch with these natural re­­sources,' he said. 'They are in our makeup and our tradition. Living in Utah, we are fortu­nate to see these things first­­hand.' Barrett's efforts and work done on the Jordan River Park­­way that connects Utah Lake with the Great Salt Lake are getting national recognition.

Those two facilities will rep­­resent Utah this week when Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar issues the latest Amer­­ica's Great Outdoors Report. They are among 100 projects nationwide - two in every state - that will be highlight­­ed as part of the initiative start­­ed in 2010 by President Barack Obama. They represent what states believe are among the nation's best investments to support a healthy, active population, conserve wildlife and working lands, and crate trav­el, tourism and outdoor recre­ation jobs across the country.

Barrett served as a facilita­tor last summer when Obama. They represent what states believe are among the nation's best investments to support a healthy active pop­­ulation, conserve wildlife and working lands, and crate trav­el, tourism and outdoor recre­­ation jobs across the country.

Barrett served as a facilita­­tor last summer when Sala­zar held a 'listening session' during the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market conference in Salt Lake City. The stand­ing- room-only crowd of more than 500 people inspired him. 'People are interested in what is going on with our nat­­ural resources and how we can get youth involved,' Bar­­rett said. 'It was inspirational for me as a federal employee to see these people so inter­­ested in what we do and why.' The Bear River refuge west of Brigham City, one of the na­­tion's oldest, was recognized for hosting more than 10,000 northern Utah fourth- grad­ers every year and offering nu­­merous educational programs. It hosts about 200,000 visi­­tors a year, including citizens of 31 countries last year. The National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation as­sistance Program is support­­ing West Jordan City and its partners to focus on planning for the Jordan River Parkway Trail. That project includes a project to enhance the en­­vironment that will involve the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Utah Reclama­­tion and Mitigation Conser­­vation Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The parkway is a contin­­uous, nonmotorized paved trail system next to the river, which flows more than 50 miles from Utah Lake to the Great Salt Lake crossing three counties. To complete the parkway, four gaps in the system must be filled. They include a total of 3.5 miles of trail in Salt Lake City, West Jordan and Bluffdale to com­plete the 66-mile corridor.

'It's fantastic to be recog­­nized,' said Laura Hansen, executive director of the Jor­­dan River Commission. 'We have such a bright future. We can preserve more open space and complete more sections of trail. 'We have a long ways to go. As much as has already been accomplished, there are so many more things we can do to enhance it.'


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