Statement by NPCA President Tom Kiernan
“We congratulate the Obama Administration for launching a dialogue to prioritize the protection of America’s Great Outdoors for present and future generations. It will take strong leadership and commitment to cement a legacy for the Administration as a strong protector of our national parks and the many other places Americans cherish and enjoy.
“Our national parks play a central and critical role in the conservation of our land, our water, our heritage, and our wildlife. They also can help America’s youth and families lead healthier lives and better connect to the natural world. Our national parks like the Great Smoky Mountains, Santa Monica Mountains, San Antonio Missions, Yellowstone and the Appalachian Trail can inspire kids to get active and lead healthy lives, connect with the outdoors, and learn about America’s heritage in the process.
“Given the reality that more than a million acres of land, equivalent to the size of Yellowstone, are developed each year and no longer available to preserve for the public to enjoy, the Administration should use this opportunity to evaluate areas that deserve more protection and promote better policies to ensure that future generations can breathe clean air, hear the sounds of nature, and enjoy scenic views for years to come.
“As recommended by the National Parks Second Century Commission, America’s Great Outdoors can help preserve large areas of public lands and waters to secure the health of our ecosystems, ensure wildlife conservation, maintain public access to parks and open spaces, and protect our cultural heritage. Working collaboratively with other federal, regional, state, and local agencies, as well as private landowners, can be a key to providing better protection for these special lands. The Administration should learn from, replicate, and expand such efforts.
“For America’s Great Outdoors to succeed, the Administration must be prepared to put meaningful funding behind programs that protect land, provide assistance to communities, put park rangers on the ground to serve school and youth groups, and foster public-private conservation partnerships. They can also do much to remove barriers that hinder meaningful partnerships intended to protect our outdoor legacy.
“We look forward to working with the Administration as it formulates an initiative to ensure our American treasures and cultural heritage are preserved for future generations, and better used today to connect America’s families to the great outdoors.”
About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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