Above photo: B. Monginoux /Landscape-Photo.net (Creative Commons license)

An ambitious project to rehabilitate and restore the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias in Yosemite National Park is among 106 initiatives, representing an investment of $26 million, announced by the National Park Service to help parks prepare for centennial visitors.

The NPS, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Aug. 25, 2016, received a $10 million Congressional appropriation that required matching funds for qualifying projects. Ninety partner organizations came through with $15.9 millions for projects in more than 100 parks in 31 states and the District of Columbia.

Seven of the projects, led by the nearly $5.2 million Mariposa Grove restoration, are funded for at least $1 million. The Yosemite Conservancy pitched in $4 million for the Giant Sequoias project that aims to reverse more than 146 years of development by balancing visitor needs with ecological protection. The Mariposa Grove, along with Yosemite Valley, was the first federally protected scenic area in the country (1864).

The other projects range from trail repairs, new wayside interpretive panels, road and bridge repairs and improving connections to younger visitors and people of color.

Among the projects funded with these grants, Yellowstone National Park and the Yellowstone Park Foundation will improve the connection from Gardiner, Montana, with the park’s iconic Roosevelt Arch entry. The $2 million project, with $1.5 million from the Yellowstone Park Foundation and $500,000 of federal funds, will improve the road, parking, walks, signage and pedestrian areas to meet modern road and accessibility standards.

The T.A. Moulton Barn, considered the most widely photographed in America, will receive deferred maintenance, along with the Reed Moulton Barn, courtesy of a $23,000 funding match by the Grand Teton National Park Foundation.

The third-largest partner contribution, $963,000 from Friends of Big Bend National Park aids a $1.263 million plan to complete a Fossil Discovery Exhibit at the current Fossil Bone Exhibit along Highway 385, the main road into the national park in Texas. Big Bend National Park has produced more than 35 Cretaceous dinosaur species, the most of any national park in the country.

For a complete list of centennial challenge projects and partners: Click Here