The Centennial of the National Park Service - 2016 - is much more than a day to celebrate. Across the country, our Centennial goal is to connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates. That truly transformational effort in how we do business is already under way.
The Director's Call to Action started us on this path in 2011, focusing on three key areas: connecting people and parks; advancing our education mission; and preserving America's special places. Within those themes, we've undertaken several specific actions in Alaska that make sense in this unique place.
This year, our Centennial activities are much more public with the launch of the Find Your Park Campaign (LINK). This is a privately funded public awareness campaign that directly invites people to find their park - a word we're redefining to include the broad sweep of federal, state and local parks and public lands. The campaign continues through 2016, using new and traditional media, celebrity spokespeople, in-park displays, and a strong focus on digital content and social media.
We're asking people to share experiences at www.FindYourPark.com under "Share Your Story" as one component of the campaign. Your story can be anything - a photo or video, a poem, a song, or a painting - get creative! Include the hashtag #FindYourPark on your own social media to join the conversation.
In Alaska, we're planning several events and programs to highlight the Centennial. A few examples:
- The Fairbanks Symphony will host a concert featuring compositions done by "artists in the park," composers who spent inspirational time in Gates of the Arctic and Denali.
- We'll dedicate and open the new Tribal House in Glacier Bay National Park, an important landmark for the Huna Tlingit and an opportunity for visitors to learn more about Tlingit history and culture.
- Partners like the Student Conservation Association are helping us place Alaska college-age interns in parks to learn the skills needed to be our next generation of managers.
- We're making www.nps.gov more mobile-friendly, and reorganizing and adding new content.
- Our work with schools across Alaska will expand, with a focus on getting 4th Graders to visit parks or public lands.
We'll also host and participate in open houses and other events to hear what Alaskans are thinking about their parks, and to provide information about our operations. I encourage you to continue this conversation with us by email, or by attending one of the future face-to-face gatherings. And, of course, we invite you to visit one of your national parks and learn about the work we do. You can start your exploration here (www.nps.gov/alaska)
NPS-Alaska Regional Director