ARC Takes Part In President's Roundtable on the National Parks Centennial Challenge

Luray, Virginia (February 7, 2007) - President George W. Bush presided over a Roundtable on the National Parks Centennial Initiative held today in the Shenandoah National Park. Attending were Mrs. Bush, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and National Park Director Mary Bomar, as well as representatives of the recreation and conservation communities. ARC’s Derrick Crandall was one of those invited to speak at the almost two-hour meeting.

In his opening remarks, the President said “today we're going to talk about an initiative called the National Parks Centennial Initiative. And I'm looking forward to hearing from our fellow citizens about ways to make sure this initiative fully honors the Park System.” Recognizing the importance of partnerships for the success of the challenge, he remarked that “Dirk and I and others in this administration have come up with what we call the National Parks Centennial Initiative. It's a bold program that calls upon the government to do its part, as well as our citizens to become invested in a campaign to really enhance the parks.”

Speaking informally to the group, Mrs. Bush said “It's very, very important for our country to make sure, as we come upon the centennial in 2016, that our national parks are treated with the respect that we want them to be treated with -- and it also gives us a chance to educate the stewards of our national parks that will come after us.”

In his remarks, Derrick Crandall said the Centennial Challenge provides a perfect opportunity for putting “the outdoors on the radar screen of all Americans, and especially our youth. We need to help families enjoy the outdoors...and to embrace the work of thousands of organizations and agencies across the country working creatively to invite Americans out to play.”

Together with Mr. Crandall, other private sector national park advocates invited to the President’s Roundtable were Vin Cipolla of the National Park Foundation, Gene Sykes of the National Parks Conservation Association, Fred Andreae of the Shenandoah National Park Trust, Gary Kiedaisch, President of The Coleman Company and a member of ARC’s Board of Directors, and Sally Jewell, CEO of REI.

For a picture of the Roundtable, click here.

For a White House summary and transcript of the meeting, click here.

For Derrick Crandall’s prepared comments, click here.

For a Fact Sheet on the National Parks Centennial Initiative, click here.