DATE: 10/10/08


For Immediate Release

Contact: Jennifer Mummart, (360) 569-2211, ext. 2307, [email protected]

Frank Quimby, (202) 208-6416
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(PARADISE, Wash.) Park visitors, with wide eyes raised to the soaring rafters of the great hall, were the first to experience the new Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center today. The $21.2 million facility is designed to be environmentally responsible and is eligible for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. < /p>

Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne welcomed those gathered by sharing his passion for national parks and for environmentally responsible design. He emphasized the need to prepare national parks for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS) in 2016, and promoted a centennial funding initiative. Congressman Norm Dicks (WA-6th), a stalwart supporter of national parks, particularly Mount Rainier, offered his congratulations and shared his memories of Senator Henry M. Scoop Jackson, for whom the building is named. < /p>

Secretary Kempthorne spoke of the earlier visitor center that also was dedicated to Senator Jackson. He asked the audience to remember the Mission 66 program begun in 1956 to honor the 50-year anniversary of the National Park Service. He said, Senator Jackson, President Eisenhower and other visionaries lit a fire back in 1956. It is up to all of us to bring that flame to life again for the Centennial in 2016. < /p>

It was Chairman Dicks who stood on the steps of the Capitol with me and other Congressional members in April to announce the first 110 Centennial projects we will undertake in partnership with the American people. We are leveraging $24.6 million appropriated by Congress with almost $27 million in private contributions. These projects would not have been possible without the steadfast support of Norm Dicks.
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Superintendent Dave Uberuaga shared his pride and appreciation for the NPS staff, the contractors, the park partners and many volunteers.
I am humbled by the support we receive from our community and partners, and when we stand today, in a great space like this, the true benefits of these relationships are evident.
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Superintendent Uberuaga said that the goal of the building’s design is to be true to the past and environmentally responsible for the future. We wanted to build a building that would both complement and withstand its environment. As you walk around the Paradise National Historic Landmark District, you will notice that this building blends very well, he said. < /p>

Superintendent Uberuaga also shared just a few of the many environmentally sustainable features of the building, including:< /p>

  • Using chilled water from snow melt to cool the auditorium. < /li>
  • Relying on no mechanical air conditioning an outside air economizer measures comfort level and circulates outside air accordingly.< /li>
  • Controlling heat gain and loss through the windows with low emissivity glazing.< /li>
  • Taking advantage of high solar and natural light gain through the windows to light the building.< /li>
  • Treating storm water runoff before discharging it to prevent soil contamination from oil and other residue on the parking lots.< /li>
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    Nisqually Tribal Elder Zelma McCloud offered a traditional blessing for the building. NPS Pacific West Regional Director Jon Jarvis, formerly superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park, participated in the ceremony, as did Peter Jackson, member of the board of Governors of the Henry M. Jackson Foundation and son of the late senator. < /p>

    The visitor center is open this Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. 6:00 p.m. and on Columbus Day from 10:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. Hours through December 31, 2008 are Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m. For the latest information about visiting Mount Rainier National Park, check out the website at www.nps.gov /mora.< /p>

    -NPS-< /p>