Connecting People to Parks
- Launch a constituency-building/public awareness campaign around the 2016 centennial that is relevant, tangible, has a singular message, offers an emotional experience, and motivates people to take action on behalf of parks. Design a campaign that is easily customized/serves as a platform for local and regional efforts .
- The next generation provides a new point of entry for parks; create their interest in being stewards by developing some apps that allow you to experience the parks before you get there.
- Build relationships between rangers and students to make the parks more welcoming. Have a Teacher-Ranger-Teacher in every school in the country.
- The parks are a FANTASTIC product, we need to better sell it based upon what people want to buy. More research needs to be done on why people come to the parks. Are they coming for fun? The sites aren’t necessarily set up for that. “Selling the experience” is about being with people you care about, in addition to being in a park.’
- Learn from successful communications campaigns, including Go RVing, which has succeeded in reaching nontraditional publics by focusing on values. For example, it now uses a theme of AWAY!—about an emotional as well as physical place. “Selling the experience” is about being with people you care about, in addition to being in a park.
- More than 80 percent of people live in cities. Most of these people aren’t near nature and don’t access nature regularly. Use urban parks as a gateway to the more remote parks. Cross promote and market to different audiences.
- Embrace the healthcare community to help get more people out into the parks, especially through existing avenues such as National Park Lands Day. The parks provide a respite—they ARE medicine. Sell that message.
- Relationships and People are key. Need to support grassroots organizations, partnerships, to foster connections.
- The parks continue to enjoy high approval ratings. What has made those core values stick? What has been done right over the years? Identify and build on that success.
- The Park Service must do a much better job of telling people what it is the Park Service does, instead of telling a park by park story.
- Leverage technology to better connect. See it as a means to engage people outside and with parks rather than a threat that disconnects.
- Develop a sitcom of dramatic series around the National Park Service. Make a movie that takes place IN a national park. Give it cache, broad visibility, and reach.
- Parks and park partners must do a better job of telling Americans what they can do and enjoy at national park sites.
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What Do You Think?
Help us shape an action plan for the national parks’ second century. Please let us know whether we captured the right actions from the summit discussions and whether any are missing. Also please indicate which actions are of the highest priority and which actions the group you represent is willing to take on as a priority.
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