• Part of a roofline shows from one building. Trees with fall color leaves on them fill most of the photo. A lamp-post is near center of the photo.

    Harpers Ferry Center

NPS Message Project

The NPS Identity Program was created in response to the NPS Message Project. But what is the Message Project?

In 1999,working in collaboration with the National Park Foundation, the National Park Service sought an answer to the question: "What does the public really know about the NPS?" The answer was somewhat surprising. While the public truly does love national parks, it has a limited understanding—or even awareness—of the depth and breath of the National Park System and the mission of the National Park Service.

Simply put, too many Americans see national parks as only a handful of Western vacation destinations.

To better understand, and then bridge, the gap between the reality and the perception of the national parks, the Message project was born. Its goals were to identify ways to:

  • Increase awareness of the depth and breath of the National Park System and the mission of the National Park Service.
  • Increase awareness that the parks are authentic places that offer unique learning opportunities.
  • Provide useful and compelling information that will help visitors plan a better experience.
  • Invite the public to find relevance in this information, make personal connections to the parks, and join us as partners in stewardship -- both in the parks and in their own communities.

In support of the Message Project, Director Mainella wrote: "The American people love their national parks and are hungry for information about them. Sharing our passion for the parks with our fellow citizens invites them to discover connections and a sense of relevance in the places that they have entrusted to our care. To do that, we must help them learn about the places they own in ways that are compelling for visitors and non-visitors alike. We must ensure that all Americans feel welcome in their national parks, treating them as stakeholders, not simply tourists."

Communicating the NPS Mission binder and cd-romFor More Information

More information about the NPS Message Project is available in a binder titled "Communicating the National Park Service Mission," which is available from the Harpers Ferry Center Office of NPS Identity (304-535 4069, phil_musselwhite@nps.gov). The binder includes a cd-rom which includes digital Arrowhead artwork, approved NPS typefaces, layout grids, and other information on NPS graphic identity.

Browse the Harpers Ferry Center:

Browse the National Park Service: