RELEASE: National Park Service prepares to celebrate 100 years

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

April 2, 2015

Contact: Jackie Ostfeld; jackie.ostfeld@sierraclub.org; 202-548-6584

National Park Service prepares to celebrate 100 years

OAK praises “Find Your Park” campaign to get kids and youth outdoors

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation launched the “Find Your Park” campaign to connect with and create the next generation of visitors, supporters, and advocates for our public lands. In 2016, the National Park Service will turn 100 years old. The Outdoors Alliance for Kids supports the nationwide effort to increase opportunities for kids and families to experience and enjoy our National Parks, public lands and waters.

In response to the campaign launch, members of the Outdoors Alliance for Kids issued the following statements:

“REI began in the national parks. Seventy-six years ago our founders and their friends searched for an ice axe to climb Mount Rainier, and the co-op was born,” said Jerry Stritzke, REI president and CEO. “Spending time in these treasured places often creates a deep and lasting connection with the outdoors. We’re incredibly lucky to have access to them, and part of REI’s job is to invest our resources into the places that inspire our members, and people everywhere, to enjoy their lives outside.”

“Over the past 100 years America’s national parks have provided valuable opportunities for people to spend time in nature,” said Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director. “We’re excited to help celebrate this proud conservation legacy. Over the next 100 years we look forward to connecting even more people with protected public lands that increasingly reflect the full diversity of the American story.”

“Whether you find your park in the wilderness or in your own neighborhood, our public lands give us places to learn, grow, and connect with our heritage and with each other,” said Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society. “We’re celebrating the National Park Service’s 100th birthday by helping get more youth and their families outdoors exploring wild places.”

“We are excited that President Obama and his administration continue to be such strong advocates for connecting children and young people to nature and their parks. The benefits of developing new generations of Americans who connect to the great outdoors and steward our public lands are profound and will only make our country stronger,” said Mary Ellen Sprenkel, President & CEO of The Corps Network.

“We applaud the President’s action and welcome his support in getting kids and their families to parks. NRPA’s members are already connecting millions of kids to nature and the outdoors every year. The President’s initiative provides us an opportunity to show the nation that all parks in our country are ready to welcome children of every age and every background with opportunities to explore, get healthy and connect with nature,” said Barbara Tulipane, President and CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association.

“Our nation’s public lands and waters are not just some of the best wildlife habitat in the nation—they also offer countless opportunities for Americans of all ages to experience nature and wildlife. This initiative will help ensure that children, youth, and families have the kind of direct experiences that create a lifelong passion for outdoor recreation and conservation,” said Kevin Coyle, Vice President of Education & Training at the National Wildlife Federation.

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Learn more about the Find Your Park campaign at www.findyourpark.com. Follow along with #FindYourPark

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About the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK): OAK is a national strategic partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with a common interest in connecting children, youth and families with the outdoors. The members of OAK are brought together by the belief that the wellness of current and future generations, the health of our planet and communities and the economy of the future depend on humans having a personal, direct and life-long relationship with nature and the outdoors. OAK brings together more than seventy businesses and organizations including the American Heart Association, Children & Nature Network, Izaak Walton League of America, National Recreation and Park Association, National Wildlife Federation, The North Face, Public Lands Service Coalition (a program of The Corps Network), REI, Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society and the YMCA of the USA to address the growing divide between children, youth and the natural world. For more information: www.outdoorsallianceforkids.org