- Service & Advocacy
National Parks Foundation — Introduction
Planning the centennial celebration of the US national park system
In 2010, I was appointed to the board of the US National Parks Foundation (www.nationalparks.org). The appointment reflects my lifelong interest in visiting and protecting special places of scenic beauty, discovery and cultural heritage. An important job after college graduation reflected a similar interest. I served in the executive department of the State of Maine with planning and budgeting responsibilities for conservation, forestry, parks, marine resources and agriculture. During those times I worked with Maine’s newly established Bureau of Public Lands to gain useable public ownership of more than 600,000 acres of public lands from a complex system of shared ownership established in the state’s unorganized townships.
Supporting the US national park system through NPF is very rewarding work. The system, established in 1916, includes more than 400 national parks and many more monuments. These range from well known iconic parks such as Yellowstone and Yosemite, to amazing seascapes, urban parks and highly diverse cultural monuments. The system attracts several hundred million visits per year, reflecting the importance of parks in people’s lives.
NPF has three interdependent areas of focus:
- PROTECTING America’s national parks through critical conservation & preservation efforts;
- CONNECTING Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and
- INSPIRING lifelong engagement with the next generation of park stewards.
I have served as chair of the NPF media committee and as a member of governance and communications committees. An important current focus is on the upcoming centennial celebration for the park system in 2016. The theme of the centennial campaign is “find your park”, with a focus on sharing user expressions of park experiences.
Park experiences have been very meaningful in my life and I have shared some of these experiences with others through photographs, writing and films. An important current perspective on national parks was provided by Secretary Sally Jewell at a recent speech to the National Press Club: