am pleased and proud to bring you news of a landmark court victory won by Earthjustice, with your support, after 13 years of legal struggle.
Nearly 50 million acres of America's richest natural resourceour National Forestsare now protected by a decree of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court has firmly, and unanimously, taken the side of you and me and the vast majority of citizens who love our forests just the way they are: thick with trees and wildlife, their waters running free and pure.
This ruling, which reinstates the Roadless Rule, is so powerfully constructed that we believe it can withstand further challenge.
We won despite an array of industry foes and an army of lobbyists who sought to unleash road pavers and clearcutters and mining engineers in some of our most pristine natural sanctuaries. You stood tall against this threat and wouldn't yield. And because you wouldn't quit, we stood taller.
Even during the darkest years of the Bush administration, emboldened by your faith in us, we took everything they dished outin court and in publicand gave it right back. It has been a tough, tough fight ... and more. Earthjustice Attorney Doug Honnold described it thusly: "This is really an amazing story, with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears."
And Doug should know. He is one of the key Earthjustice attorneysalong with Jim Angell, Kristen Boyles, Todd True, Tom Waldo and Tim Presowho spent years shedding those blood, sweat and tears.
What a victory they, and you, have wrought. Its reverberations are echoing across our great land, and we hope are echoing especially loud on Capitol Hill and in the White House. We trust that the Obama administration now will support and enforce the 2001 Roadless Rule as the law of the land. As for Congress, especially one as anti-environment as this one, it's hard to be trusting. And that's why, even as we celebrate this wonderful victory, we already are girding to defend it, just as we are defending the environment in so many other ways.
In the meantime, please accept our deepest gratitude for all you did to make this moment in history a happy one.
The State of Americas National Parks is the culmination of ten years of research on the condition of natural and cultural resources within Americas national parks. The data for this report were gleaned from the Centers research on 80 national parks. This research uncovered many examples of serious threats to park resources, including impacts from activities occurring on adjacent lands, concerns related to invasive non-native species, insufficient attention given to the stewardship of cultural resources, and a general lack of sufficient staff and funds to care for and interpret park resources. The Centers work also documented notable National Park Service successes in protecting park resources, such as restoration projects throughout the park system, collaboration with other land managers, and deployment of teams of trained specialists to address resource management issues shared among parks. With the release of this report, these key findingsas well as recommendations for how to address concernsare now presented in one place.
The State of Americas National Parks includes chapters on natural and cultural resource conditions, Park Service programs and processes that are successfully meeting the challenge of protecting resources, and the benefits of a landscape conservation approach for preserving natural and cultural resources in national parks and in the surrounding landscapes. A series of recommendations indicates ways to address problems the National Park Service faces as the agency strives to meet its responsibility to care for national park resources. The report urges the administration, Congress, and the Park Service to recognize threats to park resources and act on opportunities to defend the natural and cultural resources our national parks are designed to protect.
With the budget battle heating up in Washington, NPCA is working harder than ever to tell Congress how important our national parks are.
Your photos, videos and stories are helping NPCA show Congress in a more powerful way why Americas natural and cultural heritage cannot endure further funding cuts and should be protected for our children and our grandchildren.
Send us your stories, photos, and links to YouTube videos and help us show Congress why our national parks truly are Americas best idea.
TAKE ACTION! Our National Forests Are At Risk: Please Help Protect Them!
A rule that directs the overall management of our National Forests193 million acres of some of our most prized and important waters and wildlife habitats across the United Statesis not revised very often. The current rule has been in place for nearly 30 years, since 1982.
Recently, the Obama administration proposed a new rule to guide the 21st century management of our National Forests and the rivers and streams within them, which 124 million Americans depend on for clean drinking water. Unfortunately this proposed rule could leave our National Forests, the waters and wildlife in them, and the Americans who depend on them in peril.
Please take action now to tell the Obama Administration and the Forest Service to strengthen this rule so that it guarantees protections for our National Forests.
Protection of our National Forests is essential for the future of our nation. About half of the population of the entire western United States relies on National Forest watersheds for their drinking water, so the stakes are far too high for the Obama administration to propose a rule that doesn't set real standards to protect these waters.
Additionally, millions of Americans visit our National Forests each year to enjoy world-class hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and recreation activities. These forests are our national treasures, and they anchor incredibly valuable sport and commercial fisheries, as well as a thriving outdoor recreation and tourism economy in this country.
If the Obama administration fails to protect the waters and wildlife in our National Forests, it will be felt by the millions of Americans who hunt, fish, and camp on these lands, as well as our $730 billion-a-year outdoor recreation economy.
For more than 100 years, national parks have connected Americans with the great outdoors and our country's rich heritage. Perhaps this explains why most Americans think first of national parks when they hear the phrase "America's Great Outdoors."
President Obama announced the Americas Great Outdoors initiative in April 2010 to address the challenges, opportunities, and innovations surrounding modern-day land conservation and the importance of reconnecting Americans to the outdoors.
Americas Great Outdoors seeks to bring a more effective approach to land management, to encourage collaboration among government agencies and private citizens to protect our outdoor legacy, to fund programs that protect land, provide assistance to communities, and improve opportunities to get young people outdoors.
National parks provide some of the best means of connecting Americans, young and old, to America's Great Outdoors, and should have a prominent place in the Administration's initiative. And for good reason:
A recent study found that every federal dollar invested in national parks generates at least fourdollars of economic value to the public.
National parks support $13.3 billion of local private-sector economic activity and 267,000 private-sector jobs.
In 2009, national park visitation increased on average by nearly 4 percent, demonstrating the enhanced value of our national parks in difficult economic times.
Connecting Americans to healthy outdoor recreation;
Providing educational opportunities for young people; and
Promoting beyond-borders management of national parks and adjacent lands.
NPCA activists, members, and park supporters also told the Obama Administration that protecting and enhancing our national parks must be a central part of America's Great Outdoors. More than 11,000 NPCA members sent letters to President Obama asking him to make our national parks a centerpiece of the initiative. NPCAs 11 national park "ideas" received the support of more than 13,500 voters on the America's Great Outdoors IdeaJam website. These ideas have remained among the top favorites on the site over the past few months.
All of this activity is critically important because the administration is currently considering our input as they map out conservation policy for the next generation. The work we do now to make national parks a national priority will pay big dividends down the road and keep America's outdoors great for our children and grandchildren.