National Parks Conservation Association
|Founded||May 19, 1919|
|Founder(s)||Stephen Mather et al.|
|Area served||United States|
|Focus(es)||Protecting the US National Park System|
|Motto||"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.
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.
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. It publishes a quarterly magazine, National Parks, which is distributed primarily to its members.
Concerns and actions
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.
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.
- Annual Report 2008
- Meet the Staff of the NPCA
- NPCA Who We Are
- Miles, Guardians of the Parks, pp. 4-52.
- NPCA Where We Work
- NPCA Reports
- 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