Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks
Vision statement: The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks is recognized by the public, park partners, Congress, and the National Park Service as the “Voices of Experience.” We are advocates with extensive background, knowledge, and commitment regarding the mission and goals of the National Park Service and System. We are a stalwart voice that will help to meet the challenge and issues of our national parks in the 21st century by ensuring the continued protection of our irreplaceable resources and the preservation of our cultural and natural heritage.
Mission statement: To meet the challenges of the 21st Century, our mission is to build public awareness 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.
Goal: Park Protection, Biodiversity, and Climate Change
General statement: Support laws, policies, and management decisions that protect the parks. Advocate for budgets and programs that assess the vulnerability of park resources to a changing climate, and help to mitigate climate change effects, create adaptation strategies, and/or implement projects to build resilience to climate change.
- Continue to respond to proposed changes in laws, regulations, policies, and management decisions that are precedent setting, service wide in their impact, or would create substantial adverse impact to parks.
- Advocate for and support the Operation of the National Park System (ONPS) budget request for $6 million to address climate change impacts that affect almost all park areas.
- Support our partners, create public awareness, and campaign for the protection of 30% of land and ocean resources by 2030. Promote the highest protection for lands, coastal, and ocean areas under this program to achieve the 30% goals and assure habitat connectivity.
- Support partners that are recommending new national monuments and other public lands for biodiversity and cultural heritage protection and wildlife corridors, and work with the private sector to achieve these goals when applicable.
- Support science-based solutions and actions to inform decision makers and the public on resource adaptation strategies, following the 2021 NPS Report Planning for a Changing Climate: Climate-Smart Planning and Management in the National Park Service.
Goal: Protection/Expansion of Existing National Park Units to Assure the Integrity of Their Resources
General statement: Continue to serve as an active and passionate defender of the integrity of designated park areas. Develop a significant track record supporting necessary additions to the National Park System and oppose proposed reductions in the size or composition of, and inappropriate uses of, any park area.
- Support the Biden Administration’s efforts to restore the size and integrity of Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments.
- Take action to oppose any proposed reductions in size or composition of any park unit that would threaten the integrity or protection of the resource values for which it was created.
- Speak out against public uses of National Park Service areas that are inconsistent with, or damaging to, the values for which those areas were set aside, including partisan political activities that cannot conform to the proposed park area’s First Amendment location and rules.
General statement: Continue to be a strong voice that advocates for adequate budgets and staffing for the National Park System to ensure the National Park Service meets the challenges of the 21st Century.
- Aggressively campaign the Biden Administration and Congress for a $250 million increase in the National Park Service budget to pay for 500 new Full-Time Equivalent staff (FTE) in each of the next five fiscal years, which will support the restoration of 3,477 employees lost since 2009 and add employees to properly staff newer acquisitions, partnership programs and expanding operational requirements.
- Support the equitable and fair distribution of funds authorized in the Great American Outdoors Act. Advocate to ensure funding is prioritized for the highest and most critical needs in land acquisition and facility maintenance needs.
- Advocate for and educate the public and Congress about the Coalition’s recommended $122 million Natural Resource Challenge 2.0, emphasizing the critical importance of monitoring the vital signs and health of resources; addressing climate change; protecting our land, coastal, and ocean resources; combating invasive species; and enhancing collaboration and biodiversity in order to keep our precious resources healthy.
- Voice support for adequate funding for the $100 million Cultural Resources Challenge which includes funding for the maintenance, preservation, and protection of cultural resources; providing parks and partners access to cultural resource expertise; and providing parks and partners the information needed to make fully informed management decisions.
- Engage with appropriate federal officials, allied partners, and congressional offices to pursue and advocate for budget requests. Partner on advocacy campaigns, mobilizing members, and enhanced public relations.
- Advocate for and educate the public and Congress about the importance of partnership programs including Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance, Historic Preservation Fund, Heritage Areas and Stateside Land and Water Conservation Fund, both for their direct benefits to the public and the economy and for the ways in which they support the National Park System.
Goal: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
General statement: Proactively seek out opportunities to advocate for new park units and resource types that more fully reflect the breadth, diversity, and richness of the cultures and histories of Americans and immigrants of all backgrounds.
- Speak out in support of special resource studies and other initiatives undertaken by the National Park Service to expand interpretive and preservation activities that honor and illuminate stories and heritages representing the full range of American diversity.
- Encourage Executive Council members and the general Coalition membership to identify new types of park units or special resource study opportunities that might explore or illuminate previously un- or under-told American stories, and forward those recommendations to the NPS for consideration.
Goal: Economic and Other Benefits
General statement: Underscore the benefits of national parks, partnership programs and the National Park System to the country, including human health, ecosystem services, economic opportunities, and the role of stewardship in community engagement.
- Connect, promote, and disseminate information prepared by well-respected organizations and scientists to educate the public on the economic, human health, 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 and ecosystem services.
- Promote national parks to educators as places where faculty and students can study human health and nature, ecosystem services and protected areas, and the value of nature and culture.
- Partner with the Park Institute of America to identify trends, issues and solutions that will strengthen community engagement and the understanding of stewardship.
GOAL: Coalition Development
General statement: Build upon the Coalition’s accomplishments in expanding the organization’s membership and fundraising by focusing attention on diversity, strategy, and capacity. Strive for the membership of the Coalition and the Executive Council to generally reflect the full range of our country’s ethnicities, cultures, sexual orientations, religious affiliations, and other types of diversity.
Broaden the expertise of Coalition and Executive Council members on cultural, natural, and historic resources, political relationships, and media and communication skills, making it possible for them to effectively advocate for any unit in the system.
- Steward, expand, and diversify the Coalition’s annual fundraising through member donations, grants, and individual contributions from HNWI supporters.
- Grow the membership by an average of 7% annually through social media, word of mouth, and reputation building.
- Increase the Coalition’s capacity to respond and manage existing priority areas of interest and new issues as they emerge through effective hiring, member engagement and partnerships.
- Reach out to National Park Service employees to encourage membership and to scan for opportunities to recruit to strengthen the Executive Council when the timing is right.
- Require each Executive Council (EC) member to suggest at least one new potential EC member per year that will improve the council’s diversity and increase its capacity to advocate effectively for any national park unit in the system.
- Provide regular and ongoing opportunities for our membership to engage in our work through activities including social media promotion, sign-on letters, LTEs, op-eds, and more.
- Cultivate partnerships with organizations that reflect a full range of demographics and experiences to expand our impact and reach.
List of Strategies (as opposed to outcomes)
- Provide resources and activate our membership to engage on issues on behalf of the organization and in support of our areas of interest.
- Conduct research to analyze information and formalize positions on issues of interest.
- Communicate to our membership through print and digital media.
- Partner on advocacy campaigns, member engagement, and public relations.
- Engage with appropriate federal officials and congressional offices to pursue our mission and goals.
- Promote legislation focused on preservation and protection of the parks and programs of the National Park System.
- Take or join legal action in cases where national park values are threatened.
Finalized by Executive Council Vote – 5/25/2021