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“Find Your Park” a Potential Game-Changer for NPS Second Century

April 7, 2015Patrick NunnallyProgram & Announcements, RiversComments Off on “Find Your Park” a Potential Game-Changer for NPS Second Century

The National Park Service will mark the centennial of its founding next year, in 1916.  Pundits and scholars (and some pundit-scholars!) will extol what has remained constant over the century and what has changed.  There is a Director’s “Call to Action” that urges the component units of the National Park system, essentially, to join the 21st century.  That’s a complicated task for people whose job is largely seen as conserving natural and cultural heritage.

The most public part of the centennial celebration is the national Find Your Park program.  Like all big deals these days, this is glitzy and has prominent corporate sponsors and an extensive social media campaign.  The campaign rolled out last week; one representative story is here.

Here at home, our friends and partners at the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area are going to be doing a lot with the national campaign.  You’ll be hearing more from us, of course, as well.  For now though, I just want to offer a couple of points:

  • the campaign offers the folks here a tremendous opportunity to focus on greater inclusion in this urban river park.  “Find YOUR Park” efforts targeted at American Indians, Africans and African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, all have the potential to have park users more clearly resemble the urban community around the river.
  • For everyone, there is the opportunity to find your particular special place within this 72 mile long park.  Maybe the monumental history and roaring waters of St. Anthony Falls don’t really do it for you.  Perhaps “park” for you means some place like the Bdote confluence, where you can get lost in a floodplain forest.  The Mississippi offers both types of experience, plus many more!

Find Your Park. When the celebration ends in 2017, millions more will have, and the new users will, we hope, change the world of the NPS.

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