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The Future of America’s National Parks

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Date: August 25, 2006
Contact: Nash, (307) 344-2010
Contact: Shane Wolfe, 202-208-6416

Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. —In a special message and a memorandum issued today, President George W. Bush directed Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to establish specific performance goals to help prepare the national parks for another century of conservation, preservation and enjoyment. In honor of the 90th Anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS), and with an eye on the upcoming centennial in 2016, President Bush called on the NPS to continue the cooperation necessary for the national parks to flourish for the next 100 years and beyond.

In addition, the President’s special memorandum directed the Secretary to identify signature projects and programs that are consistent with these goals and that continue the NPS legacy of leveraging philanthropic, partnership, and government investments for the benefit of the national parks and their visitors.

Secretary Kempthorne shared the President’s vision at Yellowstone National Park at the 90th Anniversary celebration and the opening of the new Canyon Visitor Education Center at the Park. 

“At Yellowstone and Yosemite, Denali and Dinosaur, Grand Canyon and Grand Teton, Shiloh, Shenandoah and other parks, the National Park Service each year welcomes 270 million visitors as they discover America the beautiful, the historical, the cultural,” Kempthorne said. “America’s national parks were the first in the world to set aside large-scale landscapes.”

Kempthorne continued, “National parks preserve majestic natural wonders. They keep watch over battlefields hallowed by red badges of courage. They keep culture alive at sites dedicated to the performing arts, poetry and music. Parks offer recreation and discovery through spectacular backcountry hiking and climbing.  They honor great leaders like Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Chief Joseph, John Muir, Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr.  As havens of enjoyment, recreation, learning and personal renewal, national parks must endure.” 

In his message, the President wrote:

“Americans take great pride in our country’s natural and historic treasures, and the National Park Service plays an important role in ensuring our rich heritage is preserved and enjoyed for generations to come.”

Did You Know?

Summer Crowd at Old Faithful.

At peak summer levels, 3,500 employees work for Yellowstone National Park concessioners and about 800 work for the National Park Service.