Gift to the Nation
In a ceremony in Windber, Pennsylvania, U.S. Congressman John Murtha joined The Conservation Fund and PBS Coals to announce the donation and permanent protection of 29 acres of land at the Flight 93 crash sitea gift to the nation, according to Congressman Murtha.
The Conservation Fund has been working with the National Park Service to preserve land for the Flight 93 National Memorial. This is the third donation of landsPittsburgh-based CONSOL Energy and a private landowner have also contributedand the Fund is working to reach agreements with local landowners. The PBS parcel is particularly important because it is at the core of the proposed memorial area.
"We're grateful to PBS Coals for their generous donation. This is some of the land at the very core of the crash site, the land we most need to protect as a lasting tribute to the heroism of the passengers and crew of Flight 93. On behalf of our nation, let me say thank you," said Murtha, who was instrumental in passing legislation to create the national memorial.
The National Park Service will assist a federal advisory commission in designing a memorial to be placed at the crash site. President Bush has ordered that the design be completed and delivered to the Interior Department and Congress by 2005.
"Preserving the hallowed ground of Flight 93 is of profound national importance. This memorial provides a meaningful way to honor those who sacrificed their lives on September 11 and give a respectful setting for family members and other visitors to commemorate this critical moment in American history," said Fran Mainella, director of the National Park Service.
The designation of Neu's Point WMA was a joint effort by the American Foundation for Wildlife, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department, the North Dakota Natural Resources Trust, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and The Conservation Fund.
Initial funding for the project was provided by a grant from NRCS's Wetland Reserve Program, which offers landowners the opportunity to voluntarily protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property. The purchase was also part of The Conservation Fund's Lewis and Clark Land Conservation Initiative, an effort to raise money to protect habitat and historic lands along river corridors traveled by the expedition.
"The North Dakota Game and Fish Department and the general public benefit tremendously from the collaboration and leveraging of resources associated with this project," said Ken Sambor, the department's state coordinator for the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.
In Pennsylvania, The Conservation Fund accepted the donation of the Flight 93 lands on behalf of the Families of Flight 93, the Flight 93 Advisory Commission, the Flight 93 Memorial Task Force, and the local community.
"If we are to create a lasting tribute worthy of these fallen heroes, we must all come together as they did more than two years ago," said to Patrick F. Noonan, chairman emeritus of The Conservation Fund.
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