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Public Administration's Behind-the-Scenes Role in Summer Adventures

How the Academy's Work with Natural Resource Conservation Agencies Elevates Your Summer Escape

The best time of the year is finally here. As temperatures grow warmer and days get longer, you may find yourself spending more time outdoors, maybe going to the park to relax or hiking on your favorite trail. You might not realize it, but a large part of your summer plans are made possible through public administration. Your favorite parks, hiking trails, bodies of water, and even historical sites are at your disposal, thanks to government agencies like the U.S. National Park Service and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries!

The National Academy of Public Administration has been fortunate to work with some of these dedicated agencies to ensure the effective management and continued protection of government land so that future generations can continue to rely on these incredible sites to make their summers memorable!

The Academy has identified "Stewarding Natural Resources and Addressing Climate Change" as one of our 12 Grand Challenges in Public Administration, recognizing the critical role that public agencies and administrators play in sustaining the proper use of natural places across the country. It is increasingly important that we protect these parks and wildlife sanctuaries, giving the parks the care they deserve and ensuring they are here for future generations. Campaigns such as Leave It As You Found It/Leave It Better Than You Found It, work to encourage the public to not only respect these spaces but also to contribute in positive ways when given the opportunity.

The Academy has worked on many projects related to the serious public management challenges regarding natural resources and looks forward to continuing to do so. We have developed many reports that have examined various aspects of public resource management. These reports include short-, medium-, and long-term recommendations tailored to anticipate and respond to threats the parks might face in the coming future.

As you spend your time outdoors this summer enjoying the nation's natural resources, we encourage you to check out some of our recent reports to learn more about the government agencies and public administrators that make this possible.

Relevant Academy Reports

National Marine Sanctuaries Program – The First Fifty Years, and the Next Fifty Years

The Academy, in partnership with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, conducted a study in which we examined the history of the program and marine conservation within the US, identified the future direction of the program, and evaluated major opportunities and challenges that the program must respond to continue to manage and preserve marine sanctuaries across the country.

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National Park Service: Assessment of Design and Construction Program

The Academy carefully reviewed the National Park Service’s design and construction program which provides project management, quality assurance, compliance, permitting, and technical support services for projects consisting of new and existing facilities, historic structures, and infrastructure systems. We developed a final report with findings and recommendations aimed at promoting cost-efficiency, timeliness, and high-quality delivery of NPS construction projects.

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National Park Service: Land Acquisition

In this report, the Academy assessed two National Park Service programs connected to the management of public lands – the Land Resources Program and the American Battlefield Protection Program. The Land Resources Program is managed by the Land Resources Division and is responsible for acquiring land within the authorized boundary of a park unit for visitor use and preservation of resources. The ABPP, on the other hand, is a financial grant-making program that assists external parties wishing to acquire battlefield lands for preservation purposes. In our final report, we issued twenty-four recommendations to LRD leadership on the topics of policy, systems, human resources, communications, and appraisals.

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National Park Service Park Cultural Resource Program Comprehensive Assessment Update 

The NPS manages more than 420 individual units that contain a wealth of cultural resources ranging from historic structures to museum objects and archives. The Park Cultural Resource Programs represent the disciplines of archeology, cultural landscapes, historic and prehistoric structures, ethnography, park history, and museum management. The Academy assessed the current state and the desired state of the PCRP and developed findings and recommendations to support the program’s efforts to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the future. This project built off a previous Academy study for the PCRP published in October 2008, Saving Our History: A Review of National Park Cultural Resource, and assessed the progress made on recommendations and provided additional guidance to improve NPS stewardship of park cultural resources.

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Assessment of the National Park Service Museum Collections Storage Management

With more than 350 parks and 116 million items, the National Park Service has one of the largest museum collections in the world. The NPS contracted with the Academy to review its collection storage practices. The Academy assessed the current state of its storage of museum and archival collections and the NPS’s ability to achieve current and future objectives for budget and resource sustainability while simultaneously meeting curatorial standards for preservation, public access, historical documentation, and cultural sensitivity. The final report includes 16 recommendations to maintain and improve the current and future efficiency of collection storage and examines the National Park Service Facility Investment Strategy, the Park Museum Facility Management Plan, and the Park Museum Collection Storage Plan.

 Click Here to Learn More

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Curious about exploring public lands this summer?

Delve into our additional resources for expert tips on making the most of these natural treasures and creating unforgettable outdoor experiences.

Find Your Nearest National Park:

With hundreds of national parks across the country, there is always a new place to explore. Use this handy map to find the closest one to you or maybe to plan an adventure a few states away.

Marine Sanctuary VR Lessons:

Want to explore marine life and learn more about the ocean but can’t go to a marine sanctuary physically? Marine Sanctuary VR lessons are free and readily available for anyone to use!

National Park Events:

The Rangers or Volunteers at National Parks plan events ranging from art classes to guided hikes. Find all the events being offered at your National Parks here:

National Park Youth and Young Adult Programs:

Being able to explore and connect with nature is one of the best parts of being a kid. The National Parks service offers dozens of programs for youth and young adults, from virtual events to internships to girl and boy scout camps for everyone to take advantage of.

Hike Smart:

It is important for everyone to stay safe while out in nature, especially when it comes to wildlife and unexpected weather events. Make sure to check out this website to properly prepare and plan your hikes.

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