National Parks Conservation Association Programs
NPCA plays a crucial role in ensuring that these magnificent lands and landmarks are protected in perpetuity:
- We advocate for the national parks and the National Park Service;
- we educate decision makers and the public about the importance of preserving the parks;
- we help to convince members of Congress to uphold the laws that protect the parks and to support new legislation to address threats to the parks;
- we fight attempts to weaken these laws in the courts;
- we connect traditional and non-traditional park users to parks;
and we assess the health of the parks and park management to better inform our advocacy work.
Americans expect our national parks to have clean air and healthy wildlife, and that our nation's historical treasures will be well-cared for. But years of underfunding and external threats such as air pollution and climate change are taking their toll. National Parks Conservation Association is working on these key initiatives to restore America's national parks by the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016:
The National Park Service has a chronic funding issue. For the last decade, NPS has been operating with a $600 million deficit each year. This means less rangers on the ground, fewer programs and deferred maintainance of historic structures.
A study recently commissioned by NPCA found that every federal dollar invested in our national parks generates at least four dollars in benefits to state and local economies.
Including the national park provision in the economic stimulus package clearly shows that our elected officials recognize the importance of national parks to our economy, our quality of life, and our future.
As valued as the national parks are, they still need our help. With the National Park System’s centennial approaching in 2016, we should unleash the parks’ full educational, economic, environmental, recreational and civic potential. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to see that our national parks are fully ready for their second century of service to the American people. NPCA is advocating congress to reduce the deficit by 2016.
Park Protection - National parks support a stunningly diverse abundance of fish and wildlife. But to remain healthy, wildlife need access to forests, streams, and other lands that lie outside protected park boundaries, and these areas are increasingly under stress from urbanization, resource development, climate change and other harms.
- Launched in 2010, NPCA’s Landscape Conservation Campaign harnesses the iconic power of national parks, their broad public and political support, and their capacity to engage and educate, to protect and improve the health of the land and waterscapes within which national parks reside.
- In the North Cascades, NPCA is convening a task force, with representation from the park, adjacent national forests and other, to create a strategy for improving and repairing roads and trails, enhance visitor experience and maintain healthy wildlife.
Connecting People to Parks
NPCA is creating a passionate and educated public that actively supports the National Park Service’s mission to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System. NPCA works to bring people to the parks through volunteer work parties and member hikes as well as to bring parks to the people through community speaker series, public events and our signature, National Parks Family Day. These activities are developed in order to inspire the public to become invested park stewards and take action on important issues that they care about.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Last Dam Summer on the Elwha
Olympic National Park, with support from NPCA, completed all 42 preliminary projects (including water treatment plant construction, fish hatchery construction, levee improvements, etc.) required before removal of 2 dams on the Elwha River could begin. NPCA built public and congressional support for this project over the past decade resulting in the final appropriations needed to complete the project and move it one year ahead of the projected completion date. Starting on Sept. 17th, 2011, the dam removal process will begin followed by restoration of the river and the return of historic salmon runs.
North Cascades Landscape Campaign
As the only national parks advocacy organization working in the region, NPCA is initiating a larger role in supporting a vision for the North Cascades region that connects people to the park while sustaining an unparalleled ecosystem. Over the next three years, NPCA will lay the ground work to develop a vibrant, healthy park system that connects visitors to the park and adjacent public lands, foster a local community that embraces the park for economic strength, and facilitate a cooperative land management system.