National Park Foundation Awards $658,000 To 2012 America's Best Idea Grant Recipients

Wednesday, June 6, 2012
49 Parks Across the Country to Participate In Foundation’s 2012 Program

Media Contact: Marjorie Hall, [email protected] 202.354.6480

(Washington, D.C.) June 6, 2012 – Today, the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, announced $658,000 in grants to be awarded to the 49 parks participating in the 2012 America’s Best Idea program.  Inspired by the critically acclaimed Ken Burns documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, the America’s Best Idea grant program funds park programs designed to connect underserved and under-engaged populations throughout the United States with their national parks in innovative and meaningful ways.

“We are proud to provide the much needed support to create unique opportunities for all Americans to personally connect with their national parks,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “The America’s Best Idea grants are often the catalyst for extraordinary experiences that develop into lifelong relationships with our national parks for the program participants.”

Examples of programs made possible through the 2012 America’s Best Idea grants include:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

High school students will participate in a two-week archeological dig along with archeology students and professors from the University of Tennessee. The students will learn about the process of archeology, how artifacts tell a story through context.

Katmai National Park and Preserve

The descendants of the Alutiiq refugees who fled the largest eruption of the 20th century will journey back to their ancestral home near Novarupta known as the “American Pompeii.” The youth will hike, camp, learn about geology, and study with an anthropologist who will retell the story of their ancestor’s evacuation.

For a full listing of participating parks and program descriptions, please visit the National Park Foundation website.

The National Park Foundation wishes to thank L.L. Bean, DISNEY, the Anschutz Foundation, and the Ahmanson Foundation for their generous support of the America’s Best Idea program.

For more information on the National Park Foundation or how you can support and protect America’s national parks, please visit

About the National Park Foundation. You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites -- all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks.  Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks.  We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow.  Join us in supporting your national parks -- this is your land.