New conservation plan helps preserve and connect Americans to our national heritage
Washington, DC – The nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today voices strong support for the Administration’s America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative. The plan identifies new opportunities to connect Americans to our shared heritage and recognizes the important role that national parks play in protecting America’s Great Outdoors.
“The Administration should embrace this great opportunity to craft a robust national centennial parks agenda to ensure they are better protected and preserved for their second century starting in 2016,” said Tom Kiernan, president of the National Parks Conservation Association.
The AGO plan recommends strengthening protections for our national heritage, including opportunities to better connect urban communities to parks and recreation areas and encourages Congress to provide consistent, reliable funding for long-term conservation initiatives, including Teacher to Ranger to Teacher programs and the Land and Water Conservation Fund for critical land protection and recreation needs. The Administration is also committed to preserving our national treasures by creating new parks sites and protected areas.
As reflected in the release of the President’s budget earlier this week, NPCA believes Congress and the Administration must be prepared to put meaningful funding behind programs to protect our national heritage. This includes additional funding for park operations to put park rangers on the ground to serve school groups and for programs that provide technical assistance to communities, like NPS’ Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program.
“This is a great first step towards ensuring our national parks, wildlife, and American heritage is better protected for future generations. For America’s Great Outdoors to succeed, now the Administration must work to make this vision a reality,” said Kiernan.
The National Park Service will celebrate its 95th anniversary in August—only five years from its Centennial celebration in 2016. Through the AGO initiative, NPCA encourages the Administration to create an ambitious plan for advancing the national park idea, as recommended by the National Parks Second Century Commission.
The AGO process began last April when it was launched by President Obama to shape a new conservation agenda. The Administration reached out to local communities and their citizens to learn what’s working now through innovative grassroots efforts and to hear from the American people their best ideas for future initiatives. 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, many of which indicated strong support for national parks in AGO.
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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