The National Parks face many challenges as it enters its next 100 years.
Jonathan Jarvis, director of the National Park Service, is in Yellowstone National Park to celebrate the centennial of the federal agency.
Jarvis worries a lack of public support could be the end of the institution. He says the future of the National Park Service rests with being relevant to an urban, ethnically diverse and technologically plugged-in population.
“While many things threaten the future of the National Park Service like climate change, apathy could be the worst,” he says.
He predicts if no one cares, this institution, as we know it will go away.
“And you’ve already seen chipping away within certain political fronts about turning the lands back and giving up on the federal land estate and using them for short-term economic gain,” says Jarvis.
He that’s why the agency is working with partners on the “Find Your Park” campaign. It’s a multi-platform attempt to reach out to Americans who have not been to the over 400 wild places and cultural and historical sites that make up the National Park System.
Jarvis and U-S Interior Secretary Sally Jewell are among the dignitaries speaking tonight at the Roosevelt Arch, the gateway to Yellowtone’s North entrance.
They hope the publicity surrounding the agency’s centennial will provide a public relations bounce that brings attention, support, and funding to the national park system.