Thursday, September 11, 2008

National parks leader sees significant challenges

In today's News Tribune is an interview by Jeffrey Mayor with National Parks Conservation Association president Tom Kiernan, in which he addresses volunteerism in National Parks and the leadership role we play in that area at Mount Rainier:

“I think there’s huge potential for volunteer programs. But there is a bit of a challenge within the National Park Service and within communities in how volunteers can help.” Given the success of the coalition that led the recovery effort at Mount Rainier National Park, I asked if he thought it could serve as a role model for other volunteer efforts nationwide? “Yes. The effort here in the Northwest, from the coalition of groups, private companies providing money, the park leading the effort, getting Congress involved, it was the right chemistry of various interests coming together. The (National Cooperative Conservation) award the coalition received speaks volumes to the precedent potential,” he said. “The Northwest needs to be applauded. There seems to be an interwoven culture of the communities and the park service. There is a sense among all the players of the economic interdependency.” The challenge, Kiernan said, is doing a better job nationally to explain how citizens can get involved at a park. “I do hope it doesn’t take devastating things to rally the support, like the flooding out here,” he said.

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