History – The Start of the Coalition

In May 2003, at a news conference in Washington, DC, three former senior National Park Service (NPS) employees spoke out against actions being taken by political leaders that were having detrimental effects on the National Park System. At the same time, a letter voicing similar concerns and signed by twenty NPS retirees was sent to President Bush and Interior Secretary Norton.

Since that time, nearly 1,400 retired, current, and former NPS employees, many of whom were senior managers in the agency, have joined the Coalition to support the mission of the National Park Service and the employees who carry it out. We have developed this website as a way to connect to retired, current, and former NPS employees, to voice our collective concerns about legislative and policy decisions that we feel diminish the values and purposes for which the National Park System was established, and to help inform the American public about those values and purposes.

Who We Are – The Voices of Experience

Experienced – Effective – Credible

Today the Coalition includes over 1,500 retired, current, and former NPS employees and volunteers representing all levels and job disciplines of the agency, including many of its most senior managers. We understand the inner workings of park and agency management, and the ramifications law and policy have on park protection, operations, visitors, and communities. The Coalition prides itself as the non-partisan “Voices of Experience” for park-related matters. No other advocacy group has a better understanding of the National Park System and Service, and the issues confronting it.The Coalition is a registered 501 c 3 non-profit organization. We depend on our members and supporters to enable our work through their donations.


The Coalition focuses on threats, issues, and events with potential for National Park System-wide effects and precedence. Politically non-partisan, we advocate forcefully for parks and park programs, park visitors, and NPS employees. Some of our noteworthy contributions:

  • In 2005, the Coalition 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 our advocacy work.
  • The Coalition remained actively engaged in winter use issues at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Our efforts have contributed to improved environmental and visitor experience standards at these iconic parks reflected in the recent Final Winter Use Rule.
  • In February-March 2013, the Coalition exposed the impacts of “budget sequestration” on the National Park System.  Information from news media releases appeared in over 200 news platforms resulting in numerous interviews of coalition members explaining its impacts. Our voice was especially important as the NPS was not permitted to speak about the impacts of the sequester cuts.
  • Coalition members testify before congressional committees on issues ranging from park sustainability, mineral extraction, privatization and other topics.
  • In October 2013, the Coalition led national dialogue regarding the impacts of the government shutdown on parks, park employees and the economies of gateway communities and entire states with multiple national park units.The Coalition news release work resulted in more than 300 stories in all news platform types. Our voice was critically important as the NPS was in the shutdown mode and not easily able to provide information to the news media.
  • Upcoming:The Coalition plans to be a strong voice in the coming debates about the federal budget and what funding will be needed to support the NPS in the coming years.

Our Goals

  • Protect and defend units of the National Park System.
  • Support the work of National Park Service employees.
  • Instill public understanding and appreciation of the origins, purpose, and ideals of the National Park Service and the National Park System.
  • 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.
  • Develop alliances and engage in collaboration in support of the National Park Service and National Park System.
  • Underscore the economic benefits of the National Park System for the country.

Read the Bylaws of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks