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National Park Foundation Honors National Park Leaders


WASHINGTON – Will Shafroth, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation, the official nonprofit partner to the National Park Service, issued the following statement recognizing the inaugural recipients of the Foundation’s Hero Award:

“The National Park Foundation works to inspire a growing community of dedicated park champions, and each of these recipients truly embody that spirit—not only a passion for our parks and public lands, but a commitment to spreading the wonder of these places to a new and growing audience. I am honored, on behalf of the Foundation and its Board of Directors, to present the inaugural National Park Foundation Hero Awards to:

Senator Lamar Alexander from Tennessee, Senator Angus King from Maine, Senator Rob Portman from Ohio, Senator Mark Warner from Virginia, and National Park Foundation Board member Mr. John L. Nau III. Each of these distinguished leaders has demonstrated extraordinary service and commitment to the betterment of our national parks.

As champions for parks and public lands in their home states and beyond, Senators Alexander, King, Portman, and Warner have worked tirelessly to ensure a bright future for the National Park System. Most recently, their bipartisan collaboration and unwavering support helped shape, shepherd and ultimately enact the Great American Outdoors Act. By ensuring permanent, mandatory funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and providing up to $6.5 billion to tackle national park deferred maintenance, this historic law is a triumph for America’s public lands and all who cherish them. In addition to this landmark achievement, the Foundation is delighted to recognize Senators Alexander, King, Portman, and Warner for their leadership in bolstering the National Park Foundation’s mission to enrich national parks through private, philanthropic support.

The Foundation is also delighted to honor Mr. Nau for his transformational support of national parks. As a member of the National Park Foundation’s Board of Directors since 2008, John embodies the spirit and commitment of a true champion for our parks by advancing critical legislation such as the Great American Outdoors Act, the 2016 National Park Service Centennial Act, and legislation authorizing the 2016 National Park Service Commemorative Coin program. John has also distinguished himself through his long-time commitment to the preservation and restoration of battlefields throughout the country.

The Foundation looks forward to recognizing each Hero Award honoree during upcoming ceremonies. The Foundation encourages its community of national park champions and the public at large to join in celebrating these exemplary individuals and all they do to protect and preserve our most treasured places.”

The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help protect more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts and connect all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at