June 2, 2014
Dear Representatives Huffman and Lummis, Secretary Jewell and Director Jarvis:
We appreciate and applaud the leadership of the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service and the U.S. Congress in embracing and promoting a new era of partnerships to support America’s national park system. As we approach the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016, the spirit of philanthropy and partnership that has long been part of our national parks can be reinforced and strengthened. We are grateful for your commitment to that objective.
We strongly support the call by Congress last June to work with the Administration to formulate and execute a bipartisan, dynamic and effective initiative to commemorate the national park centennial and prepare our national parks for their second century of service to the American people. We believe that H.R. 4614, the Park Partner Enhancement Act, is a key piece of what we hope will be a larger legislative initiative to invest in America’s national parks. Through the leadership of Representatives Huffman and Lummis, this bill will enhance the ability of the NPS to responsibly expand partnerships with nonprofit organizations and educational institutions to spur greater park philanthropy, volunteerism and interpretive and learning opportunities. We thank you for introducing this important legislation, and we strongly support its passage.
The Administration has equally embarked on a series of initiatives that recognize the value of partnerships to the future of the national parks. The Department of Interior’s next generation engagement strategy and the NPS A Call to Action are thoughtful roadmaps to strengthen public-nonprofit partnerships around clear, powerful goals that transcend our parks and public lands. Likewise, new National Park System Advisory Board committees are harnessing private sector expertise to offer counsel on centennial planning and to revisit NPS policies on donations and fundraising. These actions led by Secretary Jewell and Director Jarvis have had a profound and powerful impact on longstanding park partners who actively help to restore park resources, educate the next generation and encourage public lands service. We value the openness to collaboration and partnership inherent in these Administration initiatives.
National parks have benefited from philanthropy and partnerships with nonprofit organizations since before the National Park Service was established. From the donations of land that became Acadia and Grand Teton National Parks to the founding of cooperating associations and friends groups over 90 years ago, today’s national park system simply would not exist had it not been for the passion, commitment and support of private citizens. Last year alone, nonprofit park partners contributed over $150 million in funds and in-kind services along with 6.4 million hours of volunteer time to our parks. Because of your support of these enhancements and initiatives, our community will have new tools to achieve much more for the benefit of the National Park Service mission.
Serving our parks is a contribution to the nation that our board members, staff and volunteers treasure. It is an honor to work hand-in-hand with the outstanding members of the green and gray, and to know we have champions for our efforts in the hall of Congress. Thank you for your collective and collaborative leadership on behalf of America’s national parks.
Accokeek Foundation ♦ Alaska Geographic ♦ American Littoral Society ♦ Association of Partners for Public Lands ♦ Badlands Natural History Association ♦ Big Bend Natural History Association ♦ Boston Harbor Island Alliance ♦ Bryce Canyon Natural History Association ♦ Buffalo National River Partners ♦ Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park ♦ Crater Lake Natural History Association ♦ Craters of the Moon Natural History Association ♦ Death Valley Natural History Association ♦ Denali Education Center ♦ Discover Your Northwest ♦ Eastern National ♦ Florida National Parks Association ♦ Friends of Acadia ♦ Friends of Big Bend National Park ♦ Friends of Cape Cod National Seashore ♦ Friends of Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park ♦ Friends of Great Smoky Mountain National Park ♦ Friends of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park ♦ Friends of Kennicott ♦ Friends of Minute Man National Park ♦ Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park ♦ Friends of Port Chicago National Memorial ♦
Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes ♦ Friends of the National Park for Green Spring ♦ Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau ♦ Friends of Virgin Islands National Park ♦ Gettysburg Foundation ♦ Glacier National Park Conservancy ♦ Glen Canyon Natural History Association ♦
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy ♦ Grand Canyon Association ♦ Grand Teton National Park Foundation ♦ Great Smoky Mountains Association ♦ Harpers Ferry Historical Association Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association ♦ Isle Royale & Keweenaw Parks Association ♦ Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy ♦ Jefferson National Parks Association ♦ Joshua Tree National Park Association ♦ Lewis & Clark National Park Association ♦ Mesa Verde Foundation ♦ Mesa Verde Museum Association ♦ Mississippi River Fund ♦ Mount Rushmore Society ♦ National Association for Interpretation ♦ National Park Trust ♦ NatureBridge ♦ North Cascades Institute ♦ Outside Las Vegas Foundation ♦ Overmountain Victory Trail Association ♦ Pacific Historic Parks ♦ Point Reyes National Seashore Association ♦ Rocky Mountain Conservancy ♦ Santa Monica Mountains Fund ♦ Sequoia Natural History Association ♦ Shenandoah National Park Association ♦ Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation ♦ Student Conservation Association ♦ Teton Science Schools ♦ Timucuan Trail Parks Foundation ♦ Trust for the National Mall ♦ Voyageurs National Park Association ♦ Washington’s National Park Fund ♦ Western National Parks Association ♦ Yellowstone Association ♦ Yosemite Conservancy ♦ Zion Natural History Association