Press Release Apr 13, 2015

National Parks Conservation Association Encourages People to Speak Up for America's Favorite Places with National Find Your Voice Initiative

#FindYourVoice Kicks Off During National Park Week with East and West Coast Events

WASHINGTON – On Saturday, April 18th, the start of National Park Week, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) will kick off its Find Your Voice initiative. Through hands-on service projects, recreational activities and civic engagement opportunities, NPCA is working to inspire the next generation of park advocates to speak up for America’s favorite places—an especially timely goal as the centennial of the creation of the National Park System approaches.

“Our national parks represent who we are as a nation. So as a nation, it’s up to all of us to protect them. Our Find Your Voice initiative will help educate, engage and empower people to not only be national park visitors but also national park advocates,” said Clark Bunting, President and Chief Executive Officer of NPCA.

On launch day, the non-profit group will host the first of several events in and near national parks across the country this year.

Just minutes from Miami, people taking part in the East Coast kick-off event can hop on the free national parks trolley in the gateway city of Homestead to experience the best of what South Florida’s parks have to offer. As the state legislature considers creating a Lancelot Jones Day to honor the legendary African American fishing guide and farmer that helped create Biscayne National Park, boat rides into Biscayne Bay will be available for people to learn more about his impact on the park and the state. Visitors can also join students from Mahogany Youth for fishing and kayaking lessons along Biscayne Bay or visit Everglades National Park’s Anhinga Trail where they can watch native wildlife while learning about efforts to restore this area.

Near Los Angeles, West Coast kick-off event volunteers will help plant native species in the Rim of the Valley Corridor, an important area of natural beauty and cultural significance. NPCA is among the many organizations and individuals supporting a park service study of the region and pushing for it to be included in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. More than 17 million people live in the greater Los Angeles region, providing an incredible opportunity to connect people to wide-open spaces, waterways and sites that tell of the story of Los Angeles’s past.

Other activities will follow throughout the spring and summer, leading up to the start of the National Park System’s centennial year on August 25. These will include advocacy training in the proposed Lone Star Coastal National Recreation area in Texas, removing fences to allow Yellowstone Pronghorn greater room to roam outside park boundaries, a paddling tour of Jamaica Bay at New York’s Gateway National Recreation Area, beach clean-up in Olympic National Park, trail maintenance at C&O Canal National Historic Park in Washington, D.C. and clean-up efforts at Pullman National Monument in Chicago—America’s newest national park site. NPCA will also provide online opportunities to take part in Find Your Voice through action alerts and on social media using the hashtag #FindYourVoice.

“After nearly a century, our National Park System has grown to include more than 400 of our country’s most important historical and cultural sites and most iconic landscapes,” said Theresa Pierno, Chief Operating Officer of NPCA. “Participating in our Find Your Voice initiative, whether by getting your hands dirty in a park or by making your voice heard on social media, will help ensure our national parks thrive well into their second century.”

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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.