The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Andrea Keller Helsel, NPCA

National Parks Conservation Association Launches New Public Service Ad Campaign

Calls on New Congress, Administration for National Park Funding, Protections


The nation's leading voice for the national parks, the
nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today
announced the launch of its 2008 "Our National Parks" public service advertising campaign,
which features actors Amy Madigan and Sam Waterston, and calls on the
American public for help in encouraging greater federal funding for
national park upkeep and protection.

"Our national parks: the Washington Monument, Petrified Forest,
Yosemite, Mesa Verde, and many others, are national treasures," said
NPCA President Tom Kiernan. "We need action to protect them for our
children and grandchildren."

The new print and radio public service advertisements, developed by
the PlowShare Group, Inc., will be distributed to magazines,
newspapers, and radio stations nationwide. The radio spots include two
generously recorded by actors Amy Madigan and Sam Waterston, both of
whom also provided voice-over talent for filmmaker Ken Burns' new
documentary about America's national parks, planned for release in fall

In NPCA's public service ads, the public is encouraged to visit to sign a petition to Congress and the incoming Administration
to seek their support for restoring our national parks in time for the
park system's 2016 centennial. The petition will be delivered in

In a 2008 nationwide survey
conducted by Peter Hart Research Associates, 83 percent of respondents
indicated that it was extremely or quite important for the federal
government to protect and support national parks such as Yellowstone,
the Grand Canyon, and the Everglades.

Yet, as NPCA's new public service campaign points out, chronic
federal funding shortfalls have put national parks nationwide at risk.
While Congress has provided some increased funding, parks such as the
National Mall continue to suffer from inadequate investment. At the
Mall, $350 million is needed for maintenance and preservation of the
monuments, historic buildings, and parkland, and for visitor services
and signage. Nationwide, national parks struggle with a cumulative
backlog of maintenance needs of nearly $9 billion.

NPCA's campaign also features Petrified Forest National Park in
Arizona, which is at risk of residential and commercial development
within its boundaries because the National Park Service doesn't have
the needed funds to acquire land from willing sellers. Landowner Mike
Fitzgerald has been holding out for the Park Service to buy his
"scientifically valuable" land for years; he warned the Christian Science Monitor newspaper in July that he may be forced to sell to a developer.

According to NPCA's recent report, America's Heritage: For Sale,
the Park Service needs nearly $2 billion to acquire 1.8 million acres
of priority lands within the boundaries of national parks nationwide,
including Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in Southern
California, Valley Forge National Historical Park in Pennsylvania,
Virgin Islands National Park in the U.S.V.I, and New River Gorge
National River in West Virginia.

"Americans expect the federal government to take care of our
national parks," said Kiernan. "We'll be looking to the new
Administration and Congress to fulfill that promise."

Next week, NPCA is convening the first meeting of the National Parks Second Century Commission,
a body of distinguished private citizens that is conducting a broadly
inclusive dialogue over the next 18 months about national parks, their
values, and role in society. The meeting will be held at Santa Monica
Mountains National Recreation Area, on August 24-27.

NPCA is a non-profit, private organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System.