Since the National Park Service was established, the demographics of the U.S. have changed dramatically. In 1916, the nation was 50% urbanized compared to today at over 80%. These demographic changes affect how parks are valued, how they are visited, what kinds of development are appropriate, and who will support the parks. Much of the success of the National Park Service in coming years will depend on its ability to diversify and prove its relevancy to new populations. Strengthening the agency’s external relationships, diversifying its workforce, and aligning with community-driven agendas that relate to the NPS mission are among the many strategies required to help NPS create relationships with new audiences.
Activating the Full Portfolio of Park Service Resources
The National Park Service has 54 community assistance programs including the Certified Local Government Program and the National Historic Landmarks program. The diverse system of national park units and the extensive portfolio of NPS community, cultural, and public lands assistance programs add value to cities and towns across the country. This suite of programs matched with the power of urban parks can be an incredible force for collective good, helping communities address local needs.
Learn more about these community assistance programs.