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New Resources Available to Celebrate the Centennial

June 3, 2016 in 2016

The National Park Service and National Park Foundation have released a suite of new resources and tools that partners can use to celebrate the centennial. The new items include Find Your Park creative graphics as well as promotional materials for the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service Commemorative Coins Series. All of the items are available to download from the Next Century for Parks website. After registering with the site, visit the “Tools” section to access all materials.

The Find Your Park creative materials include full-page and half-page graphics, posters, billboard, and bus shelter signs that can be downloaded, printed, and displayed. New digital banners for websites are also available. The 2016 creative designs invite everyone to join the centennial celebration through depictions of the number “1-0-0” with features from national parks. Additional resources include a birthday video public service announcement and an audio birthday message. Be sure to download the updated “Creative Summary and Guidance” toolkit for detailed guidance on how and where to use the materials.

The new toolkit for the 100th Anniversary of the NPS Commemorative Coins Series includes resources that concessioners and cooperating associations can use to promote and sell the coins, including talking points, essential series facts, ordering information, point-of-sale signs, rack cards, and digital graphics. Concessioners and cooperating associations who are selling the coins in parks are already reporting strong sales and interest from visitors, so be sure to take advantage of this centennial-year-only program. The coin toolkit is also available in the “Tools” section.

If you have any questions about the materials and resources available, please contact the National Park Service Centennial Office at nps_centennial@nps.gov.

A Party for Our Parks

April 2, 2015 in 2016, Connecting People to Parks

The National Park Service turns 100 next year. What will the birthday party be like? Wild, of course! The first gift, though, is from the parks to the people: During the next school year, the Every Kid in a Park initiative will allow all fourth-grade students and their families to visit national parks, national monuments, and all other nationally protected lands for free. But then our national parks have always been giving people something that money can’t buy: The chance to experience some of our planet’s most special and spectacular places.

Of course, the Sierra Club and the National Park Service go way back. In fact, the Park Service’s first director, Stephen Mather, was an active member and honorary vice-president of the Sierra Club. And let’s face it, there wouldn’t be nearly as many parks to service were it not for Sierra Club conservation giants like David Brower and Edgar Wayburn, along with thousands of less famous but equally dedicated volunteers. So we’re ready to help get the party going.

To help celebrate this 100th anniversary, the Sierra Club plans to party down with 100 outings. Here’s the thing, though — we won’t limit ourselves to national parks. National parks are but one part of a national network of natural places that ranges from neighborhood parks to vast wildernesses. We are going to celebrate all of them because all of them have a role to play. And the role of what we call “nearby nature” is actually growing in importance.

With all the talk of growing income inequality in this country, it’s worth noting that there’s also a nature inequality. Just about anyone can appreciate and benefit from being in nature, but not everyone has equal opportunities to do so. Currently, 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas, many with limited opportunities to experience nature. The work that Sierra Club volunteers have been doing for decades to take urban kids on outings has reaffirmed the difference exposure to nature can make a hundred times over. For America’s parks to thrive for the next 100 years, they need to be accessible to all Americans, not just the traditional users of the past century.

One way we can make that happen is by reminding people that there’s more to our park system than iconic destinations like Yosemite and Yellowstone. Many national parks are urban sites such as the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Little Rock Central High School, and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Your nearest national park may be close enough, in fact, to qualify as a local outing. My family loves to camp. We’re packing up tonight, in fact, for a trip to Big Sur with friends. It turns out we have 10 national park destinations less than a two-hour drive from our home. How do I know this? By using the “Find Your Park” web tool that the National Park Service launched today. It’s great because it helps you find parks that are not only nearby but also relevant to your interests and abilities.

Another way to close the nature gap is to grow the network of nearby natural places that people can access easily. That’s why the Sierra Club is investing in trail projects that improve access to nature in urban areas. In Louisiana, for instance, we’re working with the local Vietnamese community and other partners to help create a trail that will connect New Orleans East to Bayou Sauvage, the largest urban wildlife refuge in America.

The importance of parks that people can reach from where they live is also why we were so excited by the designation of San Gabriel Mountains National Monument last October. The San Gabriels, which border Los Angeles, are less than 90 minutes from home for at least 15 million people. Many people worked for years to make that designation possible, but protecting those mountains has the potential to change countless lives.

We’re lucky. Over the past 150 years, we have protected a network of public lands in this country that is the envy of the entire world, and our national parks are the jewels in that crown. Let’s make sure that in the coming decades we both guard this natural legacy and ensure that it is available to all Americans.

 

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Renewing the Call

October 19, 2012 in 2016

Taking stock of the centennial is about much more than observing a single day, or even a full year. It is about recognizing our contributions to conservation, stewardship, recreation, civic dialogue, and quality of life. It is about growing, improving and if needed, shifting that work to meet the needs of the next century. It is about leaning forward into the future, and moving together as a parks community toward shared goals.

The Call to Action provides us a framework of innovative actions, around which we can work collaboratively and strategically. We do, and will, achieve so much more than those discrete actions, but they provide us with a few specific, shared targets around which we can have exponential impact when the resources of the full parks community are leveraged. Check out the Call to Action successes so far.

Flexibility and creativity in implementation are cornerstones of the Call to Action. From the time it was launched in 2011, we recognized the need for the plan to be equally flexible. Over the course of the first year, the need to tweak some actions became evident to NPS staff and our partners, the specific targets within some actions were completed, and the need to add some actions to the mix became apparent. In August of this year, A Call to Action was updated to be responsive to this feedback.

While implementation will continue over time, the targeted goals for these three actions are completed: (12) Follow the Flow, (21) Revisit Leopold, and (35) Welcome Aboard.

Three new actions have been added: Crystal Clear, Enjoy the View, and Lead the Way. Check out the new actions and the updated Call to Action for 2012.

The parks community collectively will chart the future of our work. We will celebrate the centennial together and invite the public to be part of our commemoration. But, it is the underlying work we will do to elevate and collaborate around innovative programs that will shape future visitor experiences, a legacy of stewardship and the role of the National Park Service and the parks community in the next century. What are your ideas about how to create change in the parks community to prepare for the centennial? How will you answer the Call?