National Parks & The Next Generation of Conservationists
One of America’s Greatest Treasures
National parks, perhaps more than anything else in the American landscape, are beloved for the nostalgic place they hold in the hearts of the hundreds of millions of visitors who have made memories in them since their inception. They seem resolute, timeless, and promised in a time when so much of the world is fraught with confusion and uncertainty—visiting a park, in many ways, is like standing on solid ground.
The Need to Protect the Parks Persists
In spite of this perceived certainty, national parks and other public lands are frequently subject to changes in policies that affect their lands and animals—just take a look at headlines in the past months and learn how gray wolves have lost their federally protected status or how lands set aside for protection in Bears Ears in 2016 were opened for energy development in 2019.
While they may seem static, cuts to funding and changes in environmental policy both literally and figuratively impact the landscape of our national parks each and every year.
The future of preserving these lands relies on the advocacy and work being done by organizations committed to the conservation of lands, and the voices of individuals rallying collectively to protect national parks, monuments, forests, and other sites for future generations.
What’s Being Done?
The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) is chief among those responsible for leading the charge; with more than 1.4 million members and supporters, the organization acts as the voice of national parks in Washington, D.C. NPCA’s crowning achievement is its Next Generation Council, a diverse board comprised of young leaders tasked with finding effective methods of engaging younger generations in national park advocacy and protection.
These voices are vital in the fight to ensure our parklands continue to be a source of life for rare animal and plant species as well as a delight for visitors around the world.