Center for Park Management: What We Do

About Us | What We Do | Who We Are | Our Advisory Council

We help the people of the Park Service perform their best.

Now more than ever, the Park Service needs effective, well-trained, engaged staff who are able to overcome the many internal and external challenges threatening the protection of our national parks. From withstanding budget cuts to remaining relevant to a constantly evolving public – the challenges have never been tougher for the NPS and their commitment to mission has never been stronger. Working side-by-side with leaders across NPS in this ground-breaking partnership, we are helping the NPS overcome these challenges by becoming an even more effective and resilient organization. To reach this goal, we are building a force of dynamic leaders, developing innovative tools, diversifying the workforce, building new park constituents and helping the NPS become more relevant to all Americans.

Check Out Some of Our Projects

  • Innovation Toolkit

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    Innovation Toolkit

    With the help of IDEO, one of the world’s leading design firms, we developed a toolkit to help the Park Service better engage diverse communities. This toolkit is the result of a full-day workshop, captured in this video.

    During the workshop, park partners envisioned new possibilities for a 21st century “welcome portal” that will be located in the main parade ground at the Presidio of San Francisco.
    Get the Toolkit

  • Urban Parks Caucus

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    Urban Parks Caucus

    Urban National Parks are oftentimes the first national park experience for many Americans, with more than 80% now living in urban areas. Tapping into urban parks’ incredible opportunity to engage new park supporters, we’re working with a dynamic group of urban park leaders (the Urban Parks Caucus) to build the capacity of urban national parks across the country.
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    Key CPM Activities

    • Equip urban national park leaders with innovative tools and skills to be their most effective
    • Develop a series of demonstration projects in targeted metropolitan areas
    • Launch a training program for urban park leaders
  • Healthy Parks, Healthy People Portfolio

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    Healthy Parks, Healthy People Portfolio

    We believe that our national parks can and should play a key role in improving everyone’s health. That’s why we’re supporting NPS’ Healthy Parks, Healthy People initiative, which connects diverse groups of people to our parks through recreation and healthy outdoor experiences.
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    Key CPM Activities

    • Creating innovative tools that help park managers build successful Healthy Parks Healthy People programs
    • Building an engaged stakeholder group of NPS champions and external organizations to support the initiative
  • Santa Monica Rebrand

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    Santa Monica Rebrand

    The Santa Monica Mountains are one of Hollywood’s most visible backdrops. Yet despite all the screen time the Santa Monica Mountains have gotten, many L.A. residents are unaware that the country’s biggest urban park unit is in their backyard—part of a network of parks managed by the Park Service and a moisaic of other state, local and nonprofit land management organizations. To attract LA’s diverse urban audience, CPM led a comprehensive rebranding campaign for the Santa Monica Mountains - which included the development of a logo, a marketing strategy, collateral materials, a branding toolkit and outreach events.

  • Partnership Research Paper

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    Partnership Research Paper

    In a time of lean budgets and changing demographics, the need for strong and effective partnerships has never been greater for the Park Service. Recognizing this important trend, CPM and NPCA’s Northeast Regional Office are developing a report profiling best practices for building and maintaining effective partnerships in an Urban National Park Setting. The paper, which examines partnerships across the public, private and nonprofit sector, is based on in-depth interviews with urban national park leaders and prominent partners across the country.

  • GOAL Program

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    GOAL Program

    The Generating Organizational Advancement and Leadership (GOAL) Academy is the premier midlevel leadership training program for the NPS. GOAL cultivates comprehensive management, collaboration and innovative decision-making skills to prepare the next generation of NPS leaders. CPM was an early supporter of the GOAL program, contributing to program strategy and providing tools around performance assessment. We also developed this promotional video for the program to attract new applicants.

  • Fundamentals Redesign

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    Fundamentals Redesign

    Fundamentals is the foundational training program for all NPS employees. Given the program’s incredible reach and ability to impact all levels of staff, CPM signed on to help the Service redesign this critical program. As part of the redesign, we’re embedding new learning techniques, modern curriculum and cutting-edge digital components to ensure that NPS employees are equipped with the knowledge they need to be their most effective.

How We're Helping NPS

GETTING BACK IN TOUCH

Our parks need a strong, diversified base of supporters to remain relevant and well-funded. We’re helping to build new constituents through our work with Urban National Park leaders and NPS’ Healthy Parks Healthy People programs. These initiatives focus on engaging diverse urban communities in new and innovative ways to increase their visitation and support of parks.

CPM’s work focuses on the changes that need to happen inside the agency in order for it to become and remain more relevant, diverse and inclusive. So we’re helping to embed cultural competencies among existing staff so that new and diverse hires want to stay and are able to thrive. We’re also developing trainings that help NPS staff better engage and collaborate with all its diverse stakeholders, from underserved youth communities, to potential business partners, other land management agencies and beyond.

DOING MORE WITH LESS

Through our training programs, we’re teaching leaders how to develop creative solutions that save money, time and resources. Programs like Fundamentals – the core training for all NPS employees, with a current reach of nearly 800 full-time employees per year. CPM’s is helping to redesign this flagship program to embed the competencies required of a strong and effective workforce.

We develop and promote tools that help park leaders and employees leverage resources, knowledge and staff to do more with less. Like the online communities of practice we’re building to better connect leaders, experts and practitioners in targeted fields.  

BUILDING LEADERS FOR TODAY & TOMORROW

Through the programs we’ve helped design and support, we have reached over 11,000 NPS employees – equipping them with the skills and tools they need to become more effective leaders. From our redesign of the Fundamentals program, to catalyzing the development of entirely new initiatives like NPS’ New Employee Orientation, we’ve trained leaders at all levels across the Service.

Good leaders need good tools. To help managers communicate and collaborate in real time, we helped to completely redesign NPS’ employee intranet system to make it more effective and dynamic. Soon leaders across the Service will be able to gain critical information quickly and easily anywhere with an internet connection and collaborate with their staff across the country in a time where limited travel budgets make this tool even more valuable.

Take a look at how we started, what we’ve done and who we are now:

  • 1998

    Business Plan Initiative Launches

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    Business Plan Initiative Launches

    NPCA teams up with NPS to design and launch the National Parks Business Plan Initiative (BPI), pairing MBA students with park managers and to develop business plans to improve the management of financial resources within each park. This successful program was later spun-off and is now operated solely by the Park Service.

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  • 2002

    CPM is Established

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    CPM is Established

    Building on the knowledge and insight gained through the BPI program, NPCA formally establishes the Center for Park Management.

  • 2008

    Expanding Our Role

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    Expanding Our Role

    NPS and NPCA sign an agency-level partnership agreement, allowing us help the Service address a series of large-scale management challenges, such as strengthening the organization’s leadership development and workforce enrichment programs.

  • 2013

    A New Focus on Relevancy

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    A New Focus on Relevancy

    CPM focuses its efforts around helping NPS meet one of its greatest challenges: ensuring that our national parks remain relevant to and are supported by the American people. To meet this objective, CPM pursues programs that provide NPS employees with the knowledge and skills to build a more relevant and diverse NPS.

About Us | What We Do | Who We Are | Our Advisory Council

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