Amtrak And Student Conservation Association Partner To Preserve Yosemite National Park

Press Release
Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Half Dome
Half Dome, Yosemite

Amtrak’s partnership this summer with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) is enabling high school and college age students from around the country to gain real, hands-on experience preserving Yosemite National Park, one of Amtrak’s most popular destinations.

“Amtrak is a great way to travel to help preserve the environment and it is important to us to support efforts like SCA to help keep Yosemite National Park in top condition,” said Carol Shannon, Amtrak Director of West Marketing, adding each year thousands of visitors take the Amtrak San Joaquin trains to Yosemite via connecting motor coach service from the Merced, Calif., train station.

Amtrak and SCA are sponsoring 24 high school and college student as part of a wilderness restoration crew to contribute to the preservation of Yosemite and also gain valuable new skills and career experiences. The students have been working non-stop since June undertaking a variety of projects alongside seasoned National Park Service professionals including: tracking black bears; removing unwanted campsites and invasive plants; monitoring water quality; updating museum archives; and enhancing the visitor’s experience. The program runs through the end of September.

“SCA is thrilled to partner with Amtrak and the National Park Service to build the next generation of conservation leaders and continue the tradition of young people caring for their environment,” said Jay Watson, Western Regional Director for the Student Conservation Association. “We’re so pleased to be able to offer these valuable opportunities to America’s emerging stewards,” he said, noting this year’s students come from Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.

This partnership with SCA furthers Amtrak’s commitment to be a transportation leader on environmental issues and reinforces its other green programs such as offering passengers the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets for their rail travel and direct those funds to such areas as certified sustainable reforestation and alternative energy projects.

Approximately 3.4 million people visit Yosemite National Park each year. For more than 30 years, SCA has sent crews and interns to Yosemite to work in a wide variety of disciplines. Many graduates of the program go on to careers in the National Park Service.

Additional funding for the program comes from the Yosemite Fund and Delaware North.

About the Student Conservation Association

SCA is a nationwide conservation force of college and high school students who protect and restore America’s parks, forests, refuges, seashores and communities. For more than 50 years, SCA’s active, hands-on practice of conservation service has helped to develop a new generation of conservation leaders, inspire lifelong stewardship, and save the planet. SCA is a non-profit headquartered in Charlestown, New Hampshire with regional offices in Washington D.C., Oakland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Seattle. For further information, visit www.thesca.org.

About Amtrak

Amtrak has posted six consecutive years of growth in ridership and revenue, carrying more than 28.7 million passengers in the last fiscal year. Amtrak provides intercity passenger rail service to more than 500 destinations in 46 states on a 21,000-mile route system. For schedules, fares and information, passengers may call 800-USA-RAIL or visit Amtrak.com.