Protecting the Places You Love
For more than 100 years, national parks have connected Americans with the great outdoors and our country's rich heritage. Perhaps this explains why most Americans think first of national parks when they hear the phrase "America's Great Outdoors."
President Obama announced the America’s Great Outdoors initiative in April 2010 to address the challenges, opportunities, and innovations surrounding modern-day land conservation and the importance of reconnecting Americans to the outdoors.
America’s Great Outdoors seeks to bring a more effective approach to land management, to encourage collaboration among government agencies and private citizens to protect our outdoor legacy, to fund programs that protect land, provide assistance to communities, and improve opportunities to get young people outdoors. Nearly 200,000 Americans participated in this historic conversation – either online or in-person at one of the more than 50 official, youth or homegrown listening sessions held across the country last summer and early fall, all of which indicated strong support for national parks in AGO. Now with the release of the official report, we applaud the Administration for recognizing the important role that national parks play in protecting and preserving America’s Great Outdoors.
National parks provide some of the best means of connecting Americans, young and old, to America's Great Outdoors, and should have a prominent place in the Administration's initiative. And for good reason:
- A recent study found that every federal dollar invested in national parks generates at least four dollars of economic value to the public.
- National parks support $13.3 billion of local private-sector economic activity and 267,000 private-sector jobs.
- In 2009, national park visitation increased on average by nearly 4 percent, demonstrating the enhanced value of our national parks in difficult economic times.
NPCA's recent report National Parks Belong at the Heart of America's Great Outdoors (PDF, 519 KB) builds on public comments gathered at nearly two dozen regional listening sessions held across the country in 2010 and on the combined policy expertise of the organization to highlight key recommendations for our national parks within the administration's America's Great Outdoors initiative.
- Connecting Americans to healthy outdoor recreation;
- Providing educational opportunities for young people; and
- Promoting beyond-borders management of national parks and adjacent lands.
NPCA activists, members, and park supporters also told the Obama Administration that protecting and enhancing our national parks must be a central part of America's Great Outdoors. More than 11,000 NPCA members sent letters to President Obama asking him to make our national parks a centerpiece of the initiative. NPCA’s 11 national park "ideas" received the support of more than 13,500 voters on the America's Great Outdoors IdeaJam website, a site launched to collect public input on the initiative.
Now that the report is complete, we call on the Administration to act, working with local and diverse communities, to implement this comprehensive vision to better protect our national parks, our lands and water, wildlife, and our health and history for generations to come.
NPCA's Press Releases