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The National Park System Welcomes the 21st Century

The National Park Service is evolving its role to keep pace with a changing world.
August 4, 2016, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park.

Aaron King was present to hear National Park Service (NPS) director Jonathan Jarvis at a recent appearance at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The National Park Service is ramping up to its centennial anniversary on August 25, and Jarvis took the occasion of his speech to discuss his goals for expanding the park system's relevance to a new generation of visitors.

"During Jarvis’ tenure, the NPS has taken into its stewardship 22 new sites, including several that speak to the contributions of minorities to America and America’s history of slavery and oppression," according to King. "The latest place to be designated a national monument is The Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, New York City, considered the birthplace of the gay liberation movement."

Meanwhile, the national park system is facing dueling challenges of increasing popularity (and the congestion and crowding that follows) as well as increasingly unsupportive congressional leadership. According to King, "2015 saw 312 million people visiting the park system. That is more than the visitors to Disney, the NFL, MLB, NBA, MLS, and NASCAR combined, according to Jarvis." A recent article by Jim Carlton [paywall for some readers] and an article by Andrew Flowers from May confirm the popularity of the National Park System in its 100th year.

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Published on Wednesday, August 3, 2016 in ASLA The Dirt
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