Washington, D.C. (December 18, 2012) – Today, the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, celebrates 45 years of support for our nation’s most sacred places. On December 18th, 1967 the United States Congress recognized the critical need for an official organization tasked with ensuring private support for America’s treasured places. Since then, the National Park Foundation has provided critical assistance and direct support to our national parks and their many programs. In honor of this birthday milestone, the National Park Foundation has created the “45 Days of Giving” campaign aimed at raising $450,000 in vital support for the parks at www.nationalparks.org/Give45.
America’s national park system was the first in the world. It was created more than a century ago through the determination of dedicated private citizens, intent on protecting and preserving our nation’s sacred places. The National Park Foundation was born of that same spirit and necessity, and has proudly carried on that legacy.
“Supported by the donations of countless people and organizations, the National Park Foundation has worked hand in hand with the National Park Service for the past 45 years to conserve and celebrate our nation’s natural, historic and cultural treasures and to tell the story of America to millions of visitors from around the world,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “As a result of the legacy of cooperation and philanthropy, we have the finest system of national parks in the world and the promise of an even greater future for “America’s Best Idea.”
“This time of year, we remember all the things we are thankful for, and at the top of the National Park Service’s list is the National Park Foundation,” said NPS Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “For 45 years the Foundation’s Board of prominent citizen philanthropists and incredible professional staff have been our steadfast partners, providing a means by which individuals, foundations, and businesses can show their support for America’s national parks. And the results are tangible, from raising more than $30 million to build the Flight 93 memorial to helping America’s children experience their national parks, the Foundation is always willing to answer the call. “
“From the Grand Canyon to Gettysburg and Yellowstone to Yosemite, these places have special meaning to all of us. As we celebrate today, we know our national parks face new and frightening challenges in the years ahead, from a changing climate to daunting budget cuts,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. “The National Park Foundation stands with citizens across this nation to meet the challenges our parks face today, for the next 45 years and beyond, so that our children, and their children, can experience what it is like to stand on the rocky shores of Acadia, witness the towering heights of our Rocky Mountains, and understand the history and pride that comes from seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time.”
Through the years, the National Park Foundation has worked to meld to the unique and changing needs of the parks including acquiring new park lands, recovering valuable artifacts, pioneering programs that create the next generation of scientists and scholars, building and advancing local park charities, restoring America’s iconic symbols and raising vital funds for parks devastated by fires, floods and even oil spills.
In more recent years, that work continues as the National Park Foundation has raised more than $30 million to build the Flight 93 National Memorial; restored and improved 250 miles of waterways and trails, connecting parks to communities and promoting healthy lifestyles through the Active Trails program; introduced more than 30,000 students to national parks this year through its Ticket to Ride program; worked with teachers in all 50 states to embrace national parks as classrooms and centers for active learning; honored our country’s diverse history and culture through its American Latino Heritage Fund and the African American Experience Fund, which provide vital support to national park sites from César E. Chávez National Monument to Little Rock Central High School.
For more information on how to support America’s 398 national parks, visit www.nationalparks.org.
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. www.nationalparks.org.