Yesterday, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation announced a new initiative called Find Your Park. This new campaign is designed to help raise awareness with the public about the importance of America’s national parks even as we draw near to the 100th anniversary of the Park Service in 2016.
The goal behind the Find Your Park campaign is to connect people to the parks in many different ways. For a lot of us, the parks aren’t just a place, but a connection with friends and family as well. They illicit emotional responses on many different levels ranging from awe and wonder, to joy and contentment. The goal is to help others discover their connections with the parks as well, particularly young people who are visiting those places in fewer numbers.
First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush are co-chariing the Find Your Park effort. They are heavily focusing on finding ways of inspiring the younger generation to explore the parks more fully, and come to appreciate their value in new ways. There hope is that this campaign will help that process.
For me personally, the U.S. national parks represent some of the best outdoor landscapes found anywhere on the planet. They are spectacular settings that often have to be seen to be believed. Find Your Park is all about discovering those places that speak directly to you as well, whether they are in Yellowstone or Yosemite National Parks, or at the White House or places like Gettysburg. These are places that are natural, cultural, or historical wonders, and we should appreciate and protect them more. As the Park Service is about to enter its second century, that is exactly the goal.