Our national parks are about stunning landscapes, well-worn trails and historic moments, but they are also about people.
This was a year to celebrate national parks and the National Park Service’s centennial. But it was also the time to make sure parks are positioned to thrive in their next 100 years. That is why we fought for increased park funding, including support for the Centennial Challenge, a program that encourages private donors to match federal grants. It’s also why a little over a year ago we launched our Find Your Voice initiative to build the next generation of park advocates. Through dozens of centennial events, we reached 35,000 new park enthusiasts. Some planted seedlings that will create a forest of 100,000 trees in Big Thicket National Preserve, some removed trash from our parks’ waterways and others removed fences in the path of Yellowstone’s pronghorn. Yet others discovered a park for the first time. Without the will and commitment of people who pushed for their creation and generations of others who worked to protect them, national parks simply wouldn’t exist.
NPCA celebrated major victories over the past year, from the creation of new parks that make for a more inclusive National Park System to new protections against pollution that will help restore parks’ air and water. These victories, of course, don’t belong to us alone. They belong to you and every person and organization that supported our work.