Press Release Apr 3, 2017

National Parks Group Honors Three Parks Champions at Annual Celebration

Hosts of television show “Rock the Park,” longtime conservationist to receive awards

WASHINGTON – At its 36th annual Salute to the Parks celebration, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) will honor three park champions and visionaries for their extraordinary work on behalf of national parks. The evening reception will be held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. on April 5, 2017.

Hosts of the Emmy® Award-winning “Rock the Park,” Jack Steward and Colton Smith, will receive NPCA’s Robin W. Winks Award for Enhancing Public Understanding of our National Parks. Friends since second grade, Minnesota natives Jack and Colton spent their days exploring the woods and making home movies. They headed west to attend college at the University of Montana in Missoula, and it was there that the two friends found their shared enthusiasm for exploring the parks. Jack and Colton now host the Emmy® Award-winning show Rock the Park, produced by Tremendous! Entertainment and Litton Entertainment, where more than a million people are introduced to and inspired by national parks each weekend on ABC. The series is now in its third season.

Gretchen Long, who has been active in conservation for 25 years, especially on national park issues, will receive the Centennial Award for outstanding contributions toward ensuring our national parks are ready for their second century of service. Gretchen serves as one of 12 members of the National Park System Advisory Board. In that capacity, Gretchen served as chair of the Planning Committee, and more recently, as chair of the Centennial Advisory Committee, which consisted of 28 partners who helped frame the National Park Service Centennial activities of 2016. Gretchen is active as a Trustee Emerita of National Parks Conservation Association, having served on the Board of Trustees for many years, including as past chair. She lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, not far from Grand Teton National Park.

“Protecting our national parks takes all of us, from dedicated conservationists like Gretchen Long, to adventurers like Jack Steward and Colton Smith,” said Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of National Parks Conservation Association. “I’ve been fortunate to join Jack and Colton for adventures in Denali National Park and Mojave National Preserve, and appreciate the fresh perspective and energy they bring to exploring our national parks. And I have been honored to learn from and work alongside Gretchen Long, a tremendous mentor to women in conservation who has helped to shape the park system. We owe a debt of gratitude to Jack, Colton and Gretchen for all they do on behalf of America’s national parks. We at NPCA are so proud to honor them.”

The Robin W. Winks Award is given annually to an individual or organization which has effectively communicated the values of the National Park System to the American public. The award recognizes Dr. Winks’ long association with NPCA and his expertise on the National Park System. The award acknowledges the work of individuals contributing to the public education about national parks through works in the arts, media or academia.

The Centennial Leadership Award was first established by NPCA in 2009. It recognizes a public official or private citizen who has made an outstanding contribution toward ensuring that the national parks are well prepared for their second century of service to the American people. Past winners include former Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne (2009), Senators Howard Baker, Jr. and J. Bennett Johnston (2010), and Senator Rob Portman (2012).


About National Parks Conservation Association Since 1919, the nonpartisan NPCA has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit