The Future of OUR National Parks


by Kass Hardy, Glacier ’03 & ’04, Yosemite ’06
This letter is intended to raise awareness and to encourage YOU to be a part of the future of OUR National Parks.

The National Park Service turns 100 years old in 2016. What a great opportunity we have to rejuvenate and reenergize the service. Many of you know that President Bush has proposed a few good things for the NPS, in light of this celebration.

Most recently he has:

  • Proposed the largest National Park Service budget in history that included the largest ever one year increase in park operation funding
  • Proposed $3 Billion of new public and private investment over 10 years to fund his National Park Centennial Initiative
  • Proposed an additional $2 Billion in matching private and public funds for signature projects and programs

This is all very exciting. If we can get our act together in time to influence the NPS and Washington with what to do with the $.

With that said, over the next few weeks there will be National Park Service Listening Sessions held throughout the United States. Each session will be tasked at gathering information from the public. The Initiative is posing three questions:

  • Imagine you, your children, or future generations enjoying National Parks in 2016 and beyond. What are your hopes and expectations?
  • What role do you think National Parks should play in the lives of Americans and visitors from around the world?
  • What are the signature projects and programs that you think should be highlighted for completion over the next 10 years?

I would encourage everyone to make their comments strong statements: The National Park Service should…, We need more safe, clean trails/facilities in ____ National Park, I would like to see x more picnicking areas in _____ National Park, ____ National Park is over populated- I would like to see a strict (wilderness like) limit in the backcountry, etc.

I highly encourage you to attend the Listening Session in your region. However, if you can not make it, there is another way you can participate. The National Park Service has a system called PEPC, Planning, Environment, and Public Comment. It is very easy to use- and quite convenient. []

Check out this NPS site to get more details! []  You can get to PEPC through this site, too.  In fact, it is MUCH easier to comment on this planning effort through this site)
Steps to commenting:

  • From the 2016 webpage click on “Comment on the Future of your National Parks, Now!”
  • In the left hand column, click on “Open for Public Comment”
  • Click on the link: “Discussion Questions for National Park Centennial Initiative”
  • In the left hand column click on “Comment on Document”
  • Scroll down to the Comment section- and type away!

Comments MUST be in before April 2, 2007.

Rock On and Comment Away!