For Immediate Release
National Park Service Unveils New Action Plan to Protect America’s Parks
WASHINGTON - As the National Park Service (NPS) commemorates its 95th anniversary this month, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today voices strong support for the Park Service to implement their action plan to prepare national parks for their second century of service. The plan, A Call to Action: Preparing for a Second Century of Stewardship and Engagement, identifies 36 specific action areas for the Park Service to better connect people to parks, advance educational opportunities, preserve America’s special places, and enhance organizational excellence.
“As we approach the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016, this is a very strong and important step towards ensuring our spectacular national park landscapes, wildlife, and American history and heritage are better protected for future generations,” said NPCA President Tom Kiernan.
Nearing its 100th anniversary, NPS report recommendations include developing a comprehensive National Park System plan; analyzing the total economic value of all NPS programs; engaging youth and education partners; completing 50 individual “State of the Park” reports; addressing the impacts of climate change; launching a national parks endowment; and enhancing cultural diversity throughout the park system and its visitorship.
In addition to implementing report recommendations, NPCA calls on Congress and the Administration to confront the full array of park challenges and opportunities, as recommended in the National Parks Second Century Commission report. While many of these challenges and opportunities are addressed in the Call to Action, many others will require additional efforts by the Administration, Congress, conservation groups, concessionaires, friends groups, philanthropists, adjacent land owners and the business community. Such work includes improving air and water quality, managing invasive species, reintroducing native wildlife, improving cultural resource conditions, and addressing chronic funding shortfalls.
In June, NPCA also released a 10 year comprehensive study about the state of our national parks, which found that pollution, invasive species, climate change, energy development and adjacent land development are threatening parks nationwide. Funding shortfalls have also impacted the care and repair of historic structures, as national parks suffer from an annual operations shortfall of more than $600 million.
The State of America’s National Parks study provides an assessment of the current health of the parks, the National Parks Second Century Commission provides a compelling vision for the parks, and now the Call to Action is a strong effort by the Park Service to focus on those elements of the vision it is best positioned to impact using existing resources.
“We now need strong leadership from Congress and the Administration to implement the full range of recommendations from these additional efforts and engage American’s across the country who care deeply about our national parks,” said Kiernan. “With the coming 2016 Centennial, now is the time for America to rally behind our beloved national parks and programs.”
To view the full NPS report, please visit: www.nps.gov/calltoaction.
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice of the American people in the fight to safeguard our National Park System. NPCA, its members, and partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for our children and grandchildren.
NPCA is a non-profit, private organization dedicated to protecting, preserving, and enhancing the U.S. National Park System.