National Park Service Releases 2016 Centennial Action Plan

Washington, D.C. - The National Park Service (NPS) unveiled A Call to Action today identifying four key themes and 36 actions to ready the agency for its 100th anniversary in 2016. The plan commits the agency to connecting people to parks, strengthening local economies and encouraging organizational innovation within the NPS. The release came on Founder’s Day – August 25 – on the 95th anniversary of the creation of the agency.

The four key themes of A Call to Action are: (1) “Connecting People to Parks”; (2) “Advancing the Education Mission”; (3) “Preserving America’s Special Places”; and (4) “Enhancing Professional and Organizational Excellence.” NPS Director Jon Jarvis outlined the plan and a new emphasis on communications internally and with the agency’s key partners at a national town hall held in the historic Ford’s Theater in downtown Washington, D.C. The town hall was broadcast nationwide to NPS employees and partners. Joining Director Jarvis on stage were the President of the National Park Foundation, Neil Mulholland, and three agency employees: Corita Waters, Outdoor Recreation Planner with the Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program; Lizette Richardson, Chief of Maintenance, Lake Mead National Recreation Area; and Dave Moore, Assistant Regional Director for the Northeast Region. In his opening remarks, Director Jarvis told the employees and partners that the mission of the agency is both unique and centered on the core documents of the nation: the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. He stressed the mission to provide the American public with enjoyment of special places that are the nation’s natural and historic best places. And he also noted the agency’s major economic importance to the nation, reminding the group that visitors to parks create more than $12 billion in economic activity annually and that other agency programs, including historic preservation, also contribute significantly to local and national economies.

The Director emphasized that A Call to Action does not depend upon new funding or new authorities. Instead, he told the group, the plan is based on flexibility, creativity and partnerships.

Commenting on the report and its release, American Recreation Coalition President Derrick Crandall said, “The focus and the themes of A Call to Action are appropriate and strategic. And many of the action steps are exciting – the focus on parks as a contributor to health, the call to expand access for water-based recreation, the link to sustainable economic activity in gateways and more. And Director Jarvis has made clear that the action steps can be modified and new steps added through partner input. I saw a roomful of younger NPS employees become energized – and that is what the agency needs today more than anything: passionate, on-the-ground staff who want to be in contact with park visitors.”

Crandall added that America’s recreation community looks forward to working closely with the National Park Service and park partners on action steps. One key opportunity for cooperative action will come January 24-26 at the first-ever America’s Summit on National Parks. More than 300 NPS officials and partners will gather to coordinate efforts linked to the 2016 centennial of the agency.

For more information on A Call to Action and the upcoming Summit, visit www.nps.gov/calltoaction. For more information on participation in the America’s Summit on National Parks, email jmitchell@funoutdoors.com.