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Can you spare a chain saw? A bale of hay? Give to a needy park

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IF you've ever enjoyed the beauty and serenity of a national park -- walked its paths, scaled its rock faces, or fished its rivers -- there's a way to give a little something back. Many parks are now issuing their own wish lists, of sorts.

The Grand Canyon National Park's ``Grand Gifts'' catalog, for example, contains 24 pages of items needed by the park, everything from nickel-and-dime items to hay for patrol horses at $125 a ton and repair of the park's 24-year-old workhorse bulldozer for $25,000 (or $250,000 to replace it).

Gifts have ranged from a $1 anonymous donation to the standby availability of a Cessna 182. Other recent gifts to the park include four pairs of cross-country skis, three chain saws, a log splitter, an electric generator, and two string trimmers.

So far, the donations have added up to a savings of about $84,000, according to management assistant William K. Dickinson.

Although contributions to parks are nothing new, Leo Wilmette of the National Park Service says that in recent years parks have begun issuing these catalogs to itemize their needs and make it easier for people who want to contribute.

``Most people do not realize what it costs to run a national park,'' says Richard Marks, superintendent of Grand Canyon park. ``They are unaware of the parks' unmet needs.

``Although Grand Canyon National Park has been fortunate over the years to receive a great deal of public and congressional support,'' he adds, ``appropriations are never enough to meet all the park's needs.''

Glacier National Park, in northwest Montana, has also had good results with its ``Giving Guide,'' says Alan O'Neill, the park's assistant superintendent. Glacier has received about $4,000 in cash, some small equipment such as tents, and a life-insurance policy valued at $50,000 from a couple that has ``fallen in love with the park,'' says Mr. O'Neill.


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