COALITION TO PROTECT AMERICA’S NATIONAL PARKS
The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks (Coalition) was established in 2003. It is an advocacy organization comprised of over 1400 retired, former and current employees of the National Park Service (NPS). It uses its 35,000 years of “voices of experience” to protect and defend parks, build a stronger understanding of the Service and the system, develop alliances, and sustain the Coalition as a viable organization.
The National Park Service turned 100 years old in 2016. National parks remain what American author Wallace Stegner once called America’s Best Idea. Our parks enjoy bi-partisan support and are a model for park systems around the globe. By any measure, the idea is a success. But, as the Service enters its second century, it is timely to ask this question: will the system continue to serve its intended purpose in a new century? Will it remain effective and popular? We are a different people than we were in 1916, 1966, or 2000. We communicate differently, use technology differently, learn differently, travel and recreate differently, and our economy has changed in fundamental ways.
National parks are enjoyed by over 300 million visitors annually; they are proven economic engines generating $16.9 billion annually in visitor spending, and $32 billion in impact on the national economy. Yet, today parks are challenged by insufficient budget and staffing. They are facing numerous issues and challenges daily: climate change, invasive species, pollution and other long-term environmental threats, pressures on lands and resources from development, an ever increasing variety of recreational uses, mineral extraction, and the need for large landscape conservation, among others. Additionally, the country is becoming more diversified and divided. The NPS must focus on communicating with new audiences, bridging the gaps between communities and building a common desire to protect and preserve our public lands. All of this is occurring at a time when resources to manage these special places are shrinking and pressures on the lands and workforce are growing.
Recognized as the voices of experience, the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks is a knowledgeable, professional and effective advocate for the mission and goals of the National Park System and Service.
Our mission is to educate, speak and advocate for the preservation and protection of the parks, places, and programs of the National Park Service. As an active and respectful partner, we support the National Park Service and work with other organizations to strengthen the long-term foundation of our National Park System and the ideals for which it stands.
1. Protect and defend the parks, places and programs of the National Park Service;
2. Build a stronger understanding and appreciation of the origins, purpose and ideals of the National Park System and Service;
3. Initiate or engage in activities that will contribute to, or educate others about, the significant role of the National Park System in a healthy planet and in representing the best of American ideals;
4. Underscore the benefits, including economic benefits, of the National Park System to the nation;
5. Develop alliances and engage in collaboration in support of the National Park System and Service;
6. Sustain the Coalition as an organization capable of achieving its vision, mission, and strategic goals.
Strategic Objectives (2018-2020)
Goal 1: Protect and defend the parks, places, programs and statutory protections of the National Park Service
Continue to identify and speak out on issues/threats that are precedent setting or impact the system as a whole (pressures on public lands, mineral extraction, inappropriate recreational uses, development pressures, loss of habitat, wildlife, and biodiversity, climate change, degradation to cultural resources, commercialization, threats to clean air and water);
Aggressively oppose continued attacks on the national monuments created under the Antiquities Act and fight to resist the reduction in size of designated monuments and proposals for inappropriate uses within their boundaries;
Continue to be a strong voice advocating for adequate budgets and staffing for the National Park Service;
Support a long-term solution to fund the NPS maintenance backlog and to ensure adequate funding for the continued maintenance of both new and rehabilitated facilities;
Be a strong voice for adequate funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the Historic Preservation Fund, and National Heritage Areas;
Engage with appropriate federal officials and congressional offices to pursue our mission and goals;
Partner on advocacy campaigns, mobilizing members, and enhanced public relations;
Promote environmental legislation focused on preservation and protection of the parks and programs of the NPS, i.e. the Antiquities Act, the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Wilderness Act, among others;
Take or join legal action in cases where park values are threatened.
Goal 2: Build a stronger understanding and appreciation of the origins, purpose and ideals of the National Park System and Service
Expand the ability of the Coalition to engage more broadly with the public using all methods of communication (web site, Facebook, Instagram, etc.);
Increase visibility in main stream media and improve the number and quality of all communications;
Aggressively promote the Coalition’s unique brand as “voices of experience” representing 35,000 years of work for the National Park Service, including how we differ from, but complement, other environmental groups;
Partner with public relations experts to ensure the Coalition’s message is reaching the widest possible audience;
Provide assistance to current NPS employees through training, mentoring and other means of support;
Continue to share our voices of experience through the centennial biographies and recognition of NPS leadership and service past and present.
Goal 3: Contribute to and educate others about the significant role of the National Park System in ensuring a healthy planet and representing and conveying the best of American ideals
Utilize, promote and disseminate information prepared by well-respected groups to educate the public about the value of parks in ensuring a healthy planet and representing and conveying American ideals and democratic values;
Partner with the Park Institute of America to identify trends, issues and solutions to promote this objective;
Partner with other organizations and groups who are promoting a healthy lifestyle, American ideals and democracy.
Goal 4: Underscore the benefits, including economic benefits, of the National Park System to the nation
Utilize, promote and disseminate information prepared by well-respected groups to educate the public on the economic and other benefits of parks;
Strengthen the ability of the Coalition to empower and train its members to work with gateway communities to increase their understanding of the positive value of parks to their economy;
Partner with the Park Institute of America to identify trends, issues and solutions that will strengthen community engagement.
Goal 5: Develop alliances and engage in collaboration in support of the National Park System and Service
Broaden the Coalition’s network of public and private partners interested in the preservation and protection of parks: Members of Congress, friends groups, volunteers, conservation groups, educational institutions, recreational groups, think tanks/research institutions, corporations, national, state and local organizations, and tribes;
Seek areas of common overlap in reaching out and partnering with numerous groups.
Goal 6: Sustain the Coalition as an organization capable of achieving its vision, mission and strategic goals
Increase the membership of the Coalition to 3000 by 2020;
Aggressively pursue and secure adequate annual funding to increase the Coalition’s capacity in communication, membership growth and fund raising;
Build additional support for the Coalition through the development and promotion of a strong base of supporters;
Continue to pursue grants and identify revenue streams that will support the funding of the Coalition and its work.