Monday, March 12, 2007

NPS hosts First Centennial Listening Session in Gatlinburg Tennessee

Even though the National Park services 100th birthday is 9 years away, the park service is going to receive significant public and private investments in order to strengthen and reinvigorate the national parks across the United States in time for the Centennial.

In the next 3 weeks a series of 14 conferences will be held across the country where Interior Secretary Kempthorne, National Park Service (NPS) Director Mary Bomar and NPS Southeast Regional Director Patricia Hooks will ask for citizens' ideas and visions for the Centennial and the park service. The ultimate goal is to find ways to restore and better protect the national parks natural, cultural and historic resources which are under attack by man and nature and whose programs are presently under funded.

New and improved national park visitor centers, campgrounds, trails and other national park facilities along with more programs led by rangers are being proposed as well as stimulating both greater volunteerism and philanthropy.

This opening session is going to be held this Tuesday, March 13, 2007 from 6 pm to 8 pm at the W L Mills Conference Center located at 234 Historic Nature Trail in Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738.

People who attend this public meeting should focus their questions and comments on the following questions:

  1. Think of your children and grandchildren enjoying national parks in 2016 and beyond. How do you imagine their visit? What are your hopes and expectations?
  2. What role do you think national parks should play in the lives of Americans and visitors from around the world?
  3. What are the signature projects and programs that you think should be highlighted for completion over the next 10 years?

I find it fitting that the who tour starts at the Great Smoky Mountains National park the most popular national park in the National park system.

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