The Conference of National Park Cooperating Associations is comprised of 68 groups with the common goal of helping preserve and interpret our national and cultural heritage for all Americans, for visitors from other nations and for future generations. These not-for-profit cooperating associations are recognized by Congress to make interpretive materials available to park visitors and to the general public.
One of the 68 associations, Eastern National, serves the National Park Service and other governmental agencies in the Eastern United States. It was founded in 1947 to aid and promote the historical, scientific and educational activities of the National Park Service. Just as an acorn grows into a tree, Eastern National has grown into a consortium of 130 agencies in 30 states, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.
Two major goals drive the work of the association. The first is to provide quality educational materials at fair prices. The materials sold at Eastern National outlets include books, posters, audio and video tapes, historic games and toys, patches and maps.
The second goal is to aid the National Park Service with proceeds from the sales of these materials. That aid has come in many forms: purchasing key tracts of land needed in a specific park, providing funds for park libraries and the development of new materials, underwriting the production of audiovisual aids, and supporting research and innovative interpretive programs. Millions of dollars have been donated to achieve this second goal.