Thursday, August 23, 2007

Welcoming greater diversity in our National Parks

“While Americans of all races and ethnic backgrounds regard the U.S. National Parks as a very important part of their heritage, ‘diverse’ is not the term that best describes the visitors to our parks and the backpackers and climbers in the backcountry,” according to Dunham Gooding, AAI President.

Dunham, who serves as president of the Board of Directors of the North Cascades Institute, one of this nation’s premier environmental education centers, announced today that seven proposals in North Cascades National Park are among the 201 totaling $370 million selected to celebrate the coming NPS centennial.

Dunham noted that, “The NCI programs will introduce many youth minorities to the beauties and rewards of the wilderness environment and with little doubt make them part of a constituency for protecting the environment for the rest of their lives.” He said, “Many of the simple experiences that we climbers take for granted, change lives. Camping in an old growth forest, walking near a magnificent, creaking glacier, seeing wildlife in its native habitat for the first time, are all experiences that move people deeply and make them curious about and protective of that beauty for life.”

One of the programs will be a three-day Mountain School for 5th through 8th grade classes operating out of the NCI Environmental Learning Center on Diablo Lake. The other will be ten-day Ross Lake, canoe based backcountry program called North Cascades Wild that will include adventure, science education, and service projects.

In a news conference today, National Park Service Director Mary Bomar said, “There is a huge wave of excitement among National Park Service professionals and our partners about these programs." Chip Jenkins, Superintendent of North Cascades National Park added that the Centennial proposals that have been chosen will “turn students to stewards, help families become fans of the parks, and provide science for sound management.”

-For info on the North Cascades Institute, visit

-To comment on this post, contact Dunham Gooding at or by calling 800-424-2249.

-To read the announcement of 2008 NPS record-level budget (by the Sec. of Interior Dick Kempthorne), visit

No comments: