A first-in-a-generation effort to examine the national parks today, and chart a vision for their second century of service to the nation
In 2008, NPCA convened an independent commission charged with developing a twenty-first century vision for the National Park Service, and for the magnificent collection of unique places it holds in trust for the American people. The National Parks Second Century Commission consisted of a diverse group of nearly 30 national leaders and experts with a broad range of experience, including scientists, historians, conservationists, academics, business leaders, policy experts, and retired National Park Service executives. It met five times, and heard from conservation and preservation experts, teachers, volunteers, and a range of park advocates and stakeholders. At three additional public meetings, Commissioners solicited ideas and priorities from concerned citizens.
The Commission functioned through eight committees, examining particular issues in depth. Commissioners served on committees according to their interest and expertise, and consulted a broad range of subject-matter experts. Those committees are as follows: Science and Natural Resource, Cultural Resource and Historic Preservation, Education and Learning, Connecting People and Parks, Future Shape of the National Park System, Funding and Budget, Governance, and Capacity.
Summary reports of each committee were presented to the Commission and resulted in lively debates among the commissioners. Some of the recommendations in the individual committee reports were unanimously accepted by the Commission; others were identified as ideas worthy of further discussion and consideration for future actions. The Commission's final report, available here is concise and inspirational, rather than encyclopedic. Consequently, the individual committee reports provide greater detail that is intended to answer questions and identify new ones, and promote discussions and actions to support our national parks and the National Park Service in its second century.
Commission Recommends Sweeping Expansion of the National Park “Idea”--September 24, 2009
Baker Center Webcast
Click here to view the video archive of the Baker Center conference about the Commission report and future of our national parks.