An invitation-only conference designed to explore the future of the national parks movement in the United States is coming to Washington, D.C., later this month.
Hosted by the National Parks Conservation Association, the National Park Foundation, and the National Park Hospitality Association, the two-day America's Summit on National Parks: Taking Action for a New Century will examine such varied topics as the upcoming centennial of the National Park Service in 2016, connecting youth to the parks, and the "next generation" of national parks.
Among those expected to address the conferees are Interior Secretary Ken Salazar; U.S. Sens. Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat, and Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee; Sally Jewell, the chief executive officer of REI, and; John Podesta, the chair and counselor of the Center for American Progress.
The foundation around which the conference is being molded is the Call to Action laid out by National Park Service Director John Jarvis this past summer. That 24-page document described a more expansive, and inclusive, National Park System, one with a stronger educational outreach, and a revised approach for managing today's natural and cultural resource challenges. The plan is built around four themes: Connecting People to Parks, Advancing the NPS Education Mission, Preserving America's Special Places, and Enhancing Professional and Organizational Excellence.
Invited to attend the sessions January 24-26 are "leaders from conservation, philanthropy, recreation, tourism, education, health and economic development."