Since the arrival last month of Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne's report to the president on the National Park Centennial Initiative, there haven't been a lot of concrete proposals floated to help commemorate the Park Service's 100th birthday in 2016.
One idea that is making the rounds, though, is that a Museum of the National Park Service be constructed to chronicle the history and impact of the agency. According to Art Allen, a member of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, such a museum would:
1. Give recognition to the international impact the National Park Service has had on the establishment and management of national parks in more than 100 different countries.
2. Recognize the outstanding achievements and public service of many notable NPS employees who have labored in the field of natural and cultural resource preservation and park management for these past 100 years.
3. Give the public an "inside view" of all the diverse professions working in the parks to preserve the "best" examples of natural and cultural history. Such information could help attract applicants for jobs in the parks.
4. Recognize the employees of the NPS who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect others through rescue operations or accidents.
5. Provide a permanent home for the amazing trove of organizational artifacts and papers relating to the Park Service. The collection has been growing in volume and importance for years, and requires a "safe haven" for its continued existence.
The plan (Download museum_of_the_national_park_service.doc)
provides much more detail and storyline for the exhibits, but
currently is only a concept plan, says Mr. Allen. However, even in this
early conceptual phase, private benefactors have expressed interest in
supporting this idea to the tune of more than $10 million in matching
"The National Park Service and Department of Interior currently is preparing a list of "Signature Projects" for the Centennial. We hope that the public will begin to speak out on behalf of this project - The Museum of the National Park Service," says Mr. Allen. "We urge you to write to the director of the National Park Service, your congressional representative, or the Secretary of the Interior in support of this project."