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Contact: Lyn Carranza, (928) 524-6228 ext. 245
Report on the Future of National Parks Unveiled to the President
Petrified Forest — “Yesterday, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne and Director of the National Park Service Mary Bomar delivered The Future of America’s National Parks report to the President of the United States,” stated acting Superintendent Joe Escoto. The report outlines five overarching goals that will guide the National Park Service for the next nine years leading up to its 100th anniversary in 2016. These goals are:
- Lead America in preserving and restoring treasured resources;
- Demonstrate environmental leadership to the nation;
- Offer superior recreational experiences where visitors explore and enjoy nature and the great outdoors, culture and history;
- Foster exceptional learning opportunities connecting people to parks, especially children and seniors; and
- Achieve management and partnership excellence to match the magnificence of the treasures entrusted to its care.
While the report includes some potential on-the-ground actions and examples, they are just that, examples. The report is not meant to be a listing of the specific projects.
In the report, Secretary Kempthorne wrote, “Parks teach and inspire. Parks are America the beautiful…the cultural…the historical.” He explained that the 100th anniversary (of the National Park Service) should be a time to celebrate accomplishments achieved through goals with boldness and vision.
Some of the actions are summarized by the Secretary in the report: “The 21st-century National Park Service will be energized to preserve parks and welcome visitors. Stewardship and science will guide decisions. An inventory of all wildlife in parks will be completed, a vital baseline to monitor change and adjust management. Strategic acquisitions will protect landscapes. Parks will be known as America’s best classrooms. We will work carefully to add new parks to tell America’s stories. Facilities will be in better condition. Hallowed battlefields will be preserved. Majestic species that symbolize this nation, such as bison and bald eagles, will thrive in their native habitats. A new era of private-public partnerships will bring greater excellence to parks.
More volunteers will add value to park experiences. The latest information technology will captivate young people with the national park story. Children will reconnect to the outdoors and lead healthier lives. A new generation of conservationists will convey parks unimpaired to the next generation.”
As proposed in the President’s Fiscal Year 2008 budget, the Centennial Initiative is a potential $3 billion infusion for the national park system. The President has already proposed $1 billion over 10 years, above existing budgets, be spent on park operations. He also called for Americans to donate $1 billion over 10 years to the National Park Service to be matched by up to $1 billion from a special centennial account.
Director Bomar said it will take “an army of supporters” to help reach the centennial goals. “From national organizations like the National Park Foundation, to more than 160 park friends groups and 66 park cooperating associations to 140,000 volunteers, we will rely on them to augment the efforts of the 20,000 men and women of the National Park Service.”
Acting Superintendent Escoto stated, “This is an exciting vision that will preserve National Parks for the enjoyment of generations to come.”
Visit “The Future of America’s National Parks,” for copies of the report.
For more information call (928) 524-6228 weekdays, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time; or write to the Superintendent, Petrified Forest National Park, P.O. Box 2217, Petrified Forest, AZ 86028; or e-mail the park.