Poll Shows Broad Support for America’s Great Outdoors Initiative and National Parks

Date:   July 1, 2010
Contact:   Sean Smith, Policy Director, Northwest Regional Office (Seattle)
National Parks Conservation Association
Phone: 206.903.1444 Cell: 206.818.4041

Poll Shows Broad Support for America’s Great Outdoors Initiative and National Parks

SEATTLE—As local resident’s prepare to share their thoughts about the administration’s “America’s Great Outdoors” initiative at a public “Listening Session” at Seattle’s Franklin High School this evening, a poll released today reveals overwhelming support among American voters for our national parks and the conservation initiative. According to the poll, 84 percent of those surveyed support the initiative and 77 percent of voters say national parks should play a highly prominent role in the effort.

“This poll makes it clear that the American public recognizes the importance of protecting our great outdoors and the central role national parks can play in preserving them,” said Craig Obey, National Parks Conservation Association senior vice president of government affairs.

The poll found significant support for our national parks across party lines, with most voters believing national parks are vital to this new initiative. Findings also indicate that the majority of voters feel national parks can help children and families lead healthier lives and better connect them to the outdoors. And 77 percent of voters support efforts to grow the National Park System to more fully represent the history and culture of our diversifying nation.

“From the popular vista across Picture Lake toward Mount Shuksan in North Cascades to smaller, newer historic units like the memorial at Bainbridge Island, our national parks provide some of the best means of connecting Americans to America’s great outdoors,” said Sean Smith, policy director, for the Northwest Regional Office of the National Parks Conservation Association based in Seattle.

The poll, commissioned by the nation’s leading voice for our national parks, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) asked voters questions related to “America’s Great Outdoors” and their support for addressing the challenges facing our public lands, wildlife, and national heritage. Importantly, trends show an increase in support for fully funding and restoring our national parks in time for their centennial in 2016. Since previous polls conducted in 2008 and 2009, results indicate the highest number of support thus far.

Other poll findings include:

  • 81 percent are concerned that our seashores, rivers, lakes, and streams are becoming polluted.
  • 80 percent agreed that Americans, especially children, are spending less time outdoors.
  • 69 percent indicated it is extremely important for the federal government to protect and support national parks like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and America’s Everglades—despite the current economic situation and concerns about the federal budget.
  • 81 percent believe the $17 billion that has accumulated during the past several decades in the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) should be spent as originally promised to protect parks, seashores, forests, and waterways across the country.

Voters also believe elements of the “America’s Great Outdoor’s” initiative are important, including:

  • 71 percent believe that communities are uniting to protect the places they love
  • 79 percent believe there is a need to reconnect Americans, especially children, to the great outdoors.
  • 71 percent support existing programs and projects that educate and engage Americans in our history and culture.

NPCA park advocates and Seattle area residents will gather this evening to share their vision for the future of our national parks that protects our past.

The poll was conducted by Hart Research Associates from June 2-5, 2010.  A total of 803 registered voters were interviewed for the nationwide study conducted by telephone.  To view the poll, visit:  www.npca.org/americasgreatoutdoors.

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) is calling on the Administration to give our national parks a prominent place in any forward-thinking initiative surrounding conservation in our nation. There are 13 National Park sites in Washington State. These parks are physical chapters of the continuing American story and they tell both happy and sad tales, but the story is not complete. To learn more, visit: www.npca.org/americasgreatoutdoors.



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