COALITION OF NATIONAL PARK SERVICE RETIREES IS NOW THE “COALITION TO PROTECT AMERICA’S NATIONAL PARKS”
12-Year-Old Coalition of Nearly 1,100 Former NPS Employees With More than 30,000 Years of Combined Experience to Remain Focused on Mission of Protecting and Advancing the Parks and Programs of the NPS.
TUCSON, ARIZONA – May 27, 2015 – The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees is now the “Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks” (CPANP). The CPANP name change announced for the first time today does not reflect a shift in the mission or membership focus of the group of 1,079 former National Park Service (NPS) employees with over 30,000 years of combined experience.
CPANP is available on the web at www.protectnps.org .
The Coalition’s leadership indicated that it was concerned that the reference to “retirees” in the Coalition’s original name left the incorrect impression that current NPS employees or non-retired former NPS employees were unwelcome.
CPANP Chair Maureen Finnerty said: “After extensive discussion among the Executive Council of the Coalition, the board voted to change the name of the organization to the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks – Voices of Experience. The original name, the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, has served us well for over a decade, but did not adequately describe who we are or what we do. This is a name change only. The Coalition is not changing its purpose or membership criteria.”
CPANP co-founder Bill Wade added: “The goals of the Coalition remain intact: to protect and defend the units of the National Park System and the mission of the National Park Service; to instill public understanding and appreciation of the System and the Service; and to develop alliances and engage in collaboration in support of the National Park System and Service.”
Since 2003, the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks has engaged in a wide variety of advocacy efforts:
· In 2013, CPANP led the national dialogue regarding the impacts of the government shutdown on national parks, park employees, the economies of gateway communities and entire states with multiple national park units. Its collective voice was critically important as the NPS was in the shutdown mode and not easily able to provide information to the public and the news media.
· Also in 2013, CPANP exposed the impacts of “budget sequestration” on the National Park System. CPANP again played an important information role with the public, as the NPS was not permitted to speak about the impacts of the sequester cuts.
· In 2005, CPANP exposed an attempted rewrite of NPS Management Policies, essentially changing the Service from a conservation to a recreation agency. The project was abandoned in large measure because of its advocacy work.
· In 2003-2005, the Coalition first emerged to oppose and successfully derail an assault by the Department of the Interior to make major changes in the NPS Management Policies that would have sharply reduced protections to resources of the parks and increased recreation and use. In addition, opposed cuts to the national park budget, particularly proposed slashing of long-delayed maintenance. The Coalition also outlined the possible impact of the cuts in terms of closures, reduced park hours, diminished services for visitors and other harms.
· Over the last 10 years, CPANP has weighed in repeatedly on winter use issues at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Its efforts have contributed to improve environmental and visitor experience standards at these iconic parks reflected in the recent Final Winter Use Rule.
The 1,079 members of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks are all former employees of the National Park Service with a combined 30,000+ years of stewardship of America’s most precious natural and cultural resources. In their personal lives, CPANP members reflect the broad spectrum of skills and expertise that distinguished their National Park Service careers. Coalition members now strive to apply their credibility and integrity as they speak out for national park solutions that uphold law and apply sound science. CNANP counts among its members: former directors, deputy directors, regional directors, superintendents, rangers and other career professionals who devoted an average of nearly 30 years each to protecting and interpreting America’s national parks on behalf of the public. For more information, visit the Coalition’s Web site at: www.protectnps.org.