National Parks Conservation Association

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National Parks Conservation Association
Npca logo 350.jpg
Founded May 19, 1919
Founder Stephen Mather et al.
Focus Protecting the US National Park System
Area served United States
Members Over 340,000[1]
Revenue $61,107,237 USD[2]
Employees Approximately 170[3]
Slogan "Protecting our national parks for future generations"

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) is the only independent, membership organization devoted exclusively to advocacy on behalf of the National Parks System. Its mission is "to protect and enhance America's National Park System for present and future generations."


Founded in 1919 as the National Parks Association, the organization was designed to be a citizen's watchdog for the National Park Service (NPS) created in 1916. Among the founders of NPA was Stephen Mather, the first director of the National Park Service. Robert Sterling Yard was NPA's first employee. Although Yard received personal financial support from Mather, the two often differed on development issues in the parks. Taking a strong preservationist position, Yard objected to such commercialization of the parks as the jazz bands and bear shows at Yosemite National Park.[4]

The association continued to resist commercial efforts to build dams and promote mining, logging and hunting in the national parks. In 1970, the organization changed its name to the National Parks and Conservation Association, in response to the national attention to a new range of emerging environmental issues, including air and water pollution. This was shortened to National Parks Conservation Association in 2000.

NPCA today[edit]

Led by Tom Kiernan, the nonpartisan NPCA works on the ground, in and around national parks, conducting research, and working hand-in-hand with National Park Service staff, community leaders, park advocates, and state and federal legislators to ensure that our parks are welcoming and well funded, well managed, and well protected for present and future generations.

Today, NPCA has grown to 22 regional and field offices around the country.[5] It publishes a quarterly magazine, National Parks, which is distributed primarily to its members.

Concerns and actions[edit]

The NPCA routinely issues reports on the state of various parks along with issue specific reports.

Protect the Air We Breathe: An Agenda for Clean Air, It’s Time to Act on Air Pollution is a review of the impact of air pollution on the nations parks. They found that 150 of the 391 parks in the National Park System, have air that fails to meet national health standards. Dirty air can reduce visibility as at Blue Ridge Parkway and Acadia National Park, where the natural visibility is estimated at 110 miles, but on most days is only 33 miles. Air pollution is a risk to the health of plants, animals and visitors. It can damage buildings and cultural resources.[6]

Climate Change and National Park Wildlife, A Survival Guide for a Warming World is a summary of and five steps towards reducing the impact of climate change on the nations parks. Native trees and animals are at risk as changing temperatures and weather patterns alter the basic necessities of life, food, water, and shelter. Changes are occurring faster than the animals' ability to adapt.[6]



The North Fork Watershed Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 2259; 113th Congress) is a bill that would withdraw 430,000 acres of federal lands in Montana from programs to develop geothermal and mineral resources.[7][8] The law would forbid mountaintop removal mining and other natural resource development.[8] The affected lands lie adjacent to Glacier National Park and already have some protections.[7] The bill follows up on an agreement between Canada and the United States on how to protect the trans-border area from the effects of mining.[9] In the 2010 agreement, Canada agreed not to do any additional mining on the British Columbian Flathead with the expectation that Montana would do the same thing to its land.[9] The NPCA supported the bill, saying the bill "protects both our outdoor heritage and our economic future for generations to come."[10]


The NPCA opposed the Water Rights Protection Act (H.R. 3189; 113th Congress), a bill that would prevent federal agencies from requiring certain entities to relinquish their water rights to the United States in order to use public lands.[11][12] According to opponents, the bill is too broad.[12][13] They believe the bill "could also block federal fisheries agencies like the United States Fish and Wildlife Service from requiring flows that help salmon find fish ladders and safely pass over dams."[12]

Charity Ratings and Financials[edit]

The NPCA currently has an overall 2 star (out of 4) rating from Charity Guide. It receives 1 star for Financial.[14]

Fiscal Year 2012 Tax Filings (Form 990) shows that staff salaries were equal to 55.7% of revenues. [15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NPCA Who We Are
  2. ^ Annual Report 2008
  3. ^ Meet the Staff of the NPCA
  4. ^ Miles, Guardians of the Parks, pp. 4-52.
  5. ^ NPCA Where We Work
  6. ^ a b NPCA Reports
  7. ^ a b "CBO - H.R. 2259". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 2 March 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Scott, Tristan (30 March 2013). "Daines to introduce legislation protecting North Fork Flathead". Missoulian. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Frye, Katrin (31 January 2014). "A major step towards protection of the North Fork Flathead River". Montana Public Radio. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "North Fork Watershed Protection Act Would Protect Beauty and Viability of the Greater Crown of the Continent Without Infringing on Private Property Rights". National Parks Conservation Association. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 
  11. ^ "H.R. 3189 - CBO". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c Nathan Fey; Matt Rice (20 December 2013). "'Water Rights Protection Act' puts rivers at risk". Post Independent. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  13. ^ Fey, Nathan (12 November 2013). "The Water Rights Protection Act is Bad For Rivers - Take Action!". American Whitewater. Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  14. ^
  15. ^


  • John C. Miles, Guardians of the Parks: A History of the National Parks and Conservation Association (Washington, DC: Taylor & Francis, 1995). ISBN 1-56032-446-5

External links[edit]