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Call To Action

In 2016, we'll celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service—a defining moment that offers an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate our accomplishments as we prepare for a new century of stewardship and engagement.

In our second century, the National Park Service must recommit to exemplary stewardship and public enjoyment of these places. We must promote the contributions that national parks and our community assistance programs make to create jobs, strengthen local economies, and support ecosystem services. We must strategically integrate our mission across parks and programs and use their collective power to leverage resources and expand our contributions to society.

A Call to Action rallies employees and partners to advance a shared vision toward 2016. It describes specific goals and measurable actions that chart a new direction for the National Park Service as it enters its second century. On this page we will highlight the Call To Action goals and actions that apply to Transportation in the National Parks.

A Call To Action #4: In My Back Yard

"Improve urban residents' awareness of and access to outdoor and cultural experiences close to home by promoting national parks in urban areas and ensuring safe and enjoyable physical connection(s) from parks to a variety of sustainable transportation options aligned with urban populations' needs."

The concept that people living in urban areas can get from their homes and schools to a nearby national park is an important one for the NPS to support. Our urban national parks have the ability to promote health and well-being for both children and adults. Many of our urban parks are also significant cultural and historic landmarks. For many urban residents these close-to-home park environments can lead to a life-long bond with nature and a deeper understanding of our cultural heritage.

For the purpose of this action, the definition of "urban" follows the U.S. Census Bureau as a population area of 50,000, with at least 1000 residents per square mile. All national parks located in these areas should adopt this action. Parks located in urban areas not strictly meeting the above definition are encouraged to adopt this action.

A well-promoted physical connection may include:

  • Existing or new sidewalks, bike or multi-use paths, and other accessible routes with signs directing people to and from the park and the nearest bus stop, subway station, or trail. Parks should collaborate with municipal agencies and other stakeholders to implement such a wayfinding plan, including any improvements within the park.
  • Maps and other information that highlight the park and how public transportation or trails can be used to access the park. Parks are encouraged to explore new and innovative ways of promoting the park at any point along a connection.

Partnering for Success: Techniques for Working With Partners to Plan for Alternative Transportation MISS:
The goal of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MISS) Alternative Transportation System (ATS) is to improve access to the Mississippi River and park destinations via improved transportation access and connectivity to MISS without a car. This is being accomplished through the development of an alternative transportation system that improves transit system integration, transportation options (bike-share, kayaking, light rail), data, maps, and communications. The goal is a seamless and recognizable system that builds on existing infrastructure and partnership efforts. Download MISS Study | 3.9mb .pdf
   
Partnering for Transportation Success at Acadia National Park SANN:
The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (SAAN) B-Cycle Bike Share Expansion Project enhances alternative transportation options for park visitors at San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and provides connections to the surrounding community by providing bike share stations along the San Antonio River and at each of the four NPS missions.   Download SAAN Study | 3.9mb .pdf
   
Planning Through Partnerships: Alternative Transportation at Boston Harbor Istlands National Park Area A Call To Action Document
Launched on August 25, 2011, the 95th birthday of the Service, A Call to Action was updated the following year to reflect accomplished work and new actions. In August 2013, with two years of implementation underway, the Service took a fresh look at the plan, fine-tuned the actions and took stock of accomplished work.  Download A Call To Action | 4.8mb .pdf


Map of NPS "In My Back Yard" Projects - Click Here

Find out where the NPS is working to make urban parks more accessible to nearby urban communities!