Advisory Board Report Offers Strategies to Strengthen 21st-Century National Park Service

Strategies to strengthen the work of the National Park Service as it prepares for its centennial in 2016 are included in a report released today by the National Park System Advisory Board (NPSAB). The report, Engaging Independent Perspectives for a 21st-Century National Park System, summarizes the board’s recommendations to National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis for the future in four areas: stewardship, education, relevancy and the National Park Service workforce.

The NPSAB consulted with National Park Service employees and more than 100 outside subject matter experts, including scholarly and professional organizations, and private sector representatives. Their report focuses on 10 separate tasks designed to:

  • Plan for a future National Park System.
  • Recommend national historic landmarks that represent a broader, richer representation of America’s story.
  • Propose national natural landmarks that increase awareness of America’s diverse natural history and explore new opportunities for public and private support.
  • Support the economic valuation of National Park Service parks and programs, including cooperative programs outside the National Park System.
  • Revisit the “Leopold Report,” a 1963 report that influenced the philosophy, policies and people of the National Park Service, and prepare a contemporary version to help the National Park Service confront modern challenges in resource management.
  • Expand collaboration in education to broaden contacts with educational institutions and incorporate National Park Service parks and programs into educational media.
  • Explore American Latino Heritage by developing a theme study to identify American Latino related places for inclusion in new national historic landmarks and national parks, as well as existing National Park Service sites.
  • Support the National Park Service centennial by providing advice for a centennial public awareness initiative.
  • Build community relationships to explore new approaches for broader relevancy and public engagement.
    Support leadership development by providing advice on National Park Service leadership, workforce, organizational development, and more effectively advancing innovation.

Established under the Historic Sites Act of 1935, the NPSAB is a congressionally chartered body of 12 private citizens appointed by the Secretary of the Interior that provides advice to the Secretary of the Interior and to the Director of the National Park Service on matters relating to operation of the parks and management of the NPS. A primary purpose of the NPSAB is to provide independent perspectives on current issues and to identify long-range opportunities and possible solutions to System-wide challenges. Its 2001 report, Rethinking the National Parks for the 21st Century, recommended a 25-year vision for the NPS; today’s report builds on that work.

The report is available online at