The National Park Service works with partners to accomplish its mission -- in fact, partners are in our mission statement.
The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.
In Alaska, we're carrying out that partnership mission in a variety of ways.
The Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program has been involved with communities across Alaska, lending technical expertise on a variety of projects including singletrack bicycle trails, all-terrain vehicle trails, and designing sustainable hiking routes. Communities interested in RTCA assistance apply annually to the NPS, describing the type of assistance that is sought. Community involvement is a big part of most RTCA projects, whether on-the-ground volunteers wielding shovels or participation in community discussions about a project's goals.
Alaska Geographic is a cooperating association which works closely with the National Park Service in Alaska to extend our education mission to a broader audience. Alaska Geographic also works in a similar capacity with other public land managers across the state. You'll find them operating bookstores within several NPS visitor centers, as well as carrying out field based education programs in parks and elsewhere. A portion of the funds earned by Alaska Geographic are returned to the NPS each year to further the Service's ability to provide programs for visitors.
A third partnership is a relatively recent addition in the Alaska Region. The Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm Community Corridor Association is the local coordinating entity for the Kenai Mountains-Turnagain Arm National Recreation Area. That's a mouthful of words, but in practice the association's board of directors plans projects with other partners to help conserve historic resources in a large area between Anchorage and Seward. Heritage areas began on the East Coast, and now there are 49 of them across the country working in partnership with the NPS, with the Alaska area established in 2009. Each heritage area is designated by Congress as a place where natural, cultural and historic resources form a cohesive, nationally important landscape. The NPS is working with the association in Alaska to complete a management plan and make technical assistance available in the development of projects.