Celebrating Our Victories: How You Made a Difference

The beginning of each new year is a time to pause and reflect on the past 12 months and all that we've accomplished together for national parks. Our parks saw many inspiring victories in 2012--victories that you helped make possible. Through your generosity, we even exceeded the goal of our Renewing Our Promise campaign for the second century of America’s national parks. From all of us at NPCA, thank you!

Because of supporters like you, we can look back on another successful year for national parks. From the broad vistas of the Great Smoky Mountains to the windswept Channel Islands to the vast skies that stretch across this land, our national parks are better protected than they were just a year ago.

Join us in looking back on our greatest national park victories of 2012:

  • Safeguarding the Grand Canyon. Thanks to thousands of voices like yours, we stopped new uranium mining claims near Grand Canyon National Park. Following a two-year campaign by NPCA, the U.S. Department of the Interior released its record of decision on January 9, 2012,  announcing a 20-year ban on new mining claims on 1 million acres surrounding the Grand Canyon.
  • Keeping the Tetons Grand. In a down-to-the-wire victory, the federal government procured $16 million primarily from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) late in December 2012 to make the first critical payment to the State of Wyoming to preserve state-owned lands within Grand Teton National Park. The land, located along the Snake River and attractive to developers, is now on its way to being protected for both wildlife and the American people.
  • Defending National Parks from Hunting. Although the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation in the spring that would open much of our National Park System, including historic sites, to hunting and recreational shooting, NPCA worked hard to have similar provisions successfully pulled from Senate legislation. For now, national parks are protected, but we expect this bill to be introduced next Congress. NPCA will continue to work closely with the new Congress to ensure that park wildlife and visitors are protected.
  • Fighting for Cleaner Air. NPCA helped achieve a major victory for clean air in June when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed tighter regulations on one of the most dangerous air pollutants we breathe every day: soot. The new regulations will reduce hazy air in national parks, benefit human health, and help prevent premature deaths.
  • Protecting the Sounds of Nature. On February 14, 2012, President Obama signed into law the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill, which will protect the natural sounds and overall park experience for visitors to Crater Lake National Park. NPCA supported this effort for several years, as it protects the park from disruptive sight-seeing helicopter air tours.
  • Honoring a Civil Rights Hero. After a decade-long campaign by NPCA, President Obama designated the César E. Chávez National Monument in California as the 398th unit of the National Park System in October, and the first to honor a contemporary Latino American.
  • Cutting Through the Haze. NPCA helped achieve another major victory for air quality in April. The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. approved and signed a consent decree setting deadlines for the EPA to finalize regional haze implementation plans for 37 states, plus the District of Columbia and Virgin Islands. This means cleaner air for national parks and visitors across the nation.
  • Strengthening Parks through LWCF and Private Funds. Last year saw two other victories for protecting threatened lands inside national parks. The 120-acre Doody Ranch, a privately-held parcel inside Glacier National Park, was officially added to the national park through LWCF. At Zion National Park, an anonymous philantrhopist donated $825,000 so threatened land near Tabernacle Dome could be purchased and given to the park.
  • Protecting Critical Habitat from Misuse. Our largest national park--Wrangell-St.Elias in Alaska--received a win-win-win for the park's fragile habitats, its trails, and local and visitor access alike with release of the final Nabesna Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan. After more than four years of pressure from NPCA and others, the National Park Service immediately began implementing this sustainable trail plan and fixing damaged trails. At Big Cypress National Preserve just north of the Everglades, a federal court rejected a National Park Service decision to open more off-road vehicle trails in key wetlands and critically endangered Florida panther habitat. NPCA has been working for more than a decade to protect this area from severely damaging ORV use.
  • Restoring Channel Islands to the Public. After years of advocacy led by NPCA, Santa Rosa Island, part of Channel Islands National Park, became fully accessible to the public on January 1, 2012. Guided trophy hunting and cattle grazing operations were allowed on Santa Rosa Island by its previous owner, preventing public access and scientific research during nearly half of the year. Our victory at Channel Islands National Park allows for natural diversity to flourish and be fully realized at the site, and provides the public with long-awaited, unhindered access to this beautifully isolated place.
  • Raising Voices to Protect Vital Habitat. Thanks to transboundary conservation collaboration and more than 70,000 NPCA-generated comments to Canadian decision makers, the Castle Special Place--important grizzly bear habitat just north of Glacier National Park in the province of Alberta--was protected from aggressive logging plans.
  • Putting a Damper on Big Coal. NPCA successfully won a settlement to retire 1,667 megawatts at North Carolina's Cliffside coal plant which lacked modern pollution controls, and near Hampton Roads, Virginia, we helped halt construction of an unnecessary coal-fired power plant. As a result, the air around these and other national parks will be subjected to less haze from airborne emissions, and people in nearby communities will be able to breathe easier, too.
  • Fulfilling a Promise of Protection. In late November, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced his decision to ensure that Drakes Estero in Point Reyes National Seashore would become the West Coast's first marine wilderness area--more than three decades after its designation by Congress. His decision came after years of opposition from a private oyster company whose fixed-term operating permit had expired. Drakes Estero now will be protected as wilderness for future generations.

Even with all of these outstanding achievements, our work is never complete. We hope you'll continue to stand with us as we work to ensure the national parks receive the funding and protections they need to continue to tell the stories of our rich natural and cultural history. Thanks for everything you do for our national parks!

Visit the Action Center to start making a difference now!


Want to learn more about the  ?

The   can be seen in the wild in America’s national parks. Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect parks in   & other states

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect   and other National Parks

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Please leave this field empty
Yes, please sign me up for NPCA’s newsletter and other emails about protecting our national parks!

National Parks Conservation Association
National Parks Conservation Association

Log In

Or log in with your connected Facebook or Twitter account:


Welcome to our growing community of park advocates. Thanks for signing up!

Sign Up:

Or sign up by connecting your Facebook or Twitter account: