How Good Old American Marketing Saved the National Parks
By Rachel Hartigan Shea, National Geographic
When President Ulysses S. Grant signed the bill creating Yellowstone in 1872, he established the first national park anywhere in the world. But 40 years later, the parks that exemplified "America's best idea" were a mess.
“I am now trying to make an extensive study of the tremendous problems that have been coming before me,” admitted Stephen Mather, who was in charge of the parks as an assistant to the secretary of the Department of the Interior, at a meeting he called in March 1915 to address the parks’ troubles.
Although more than a dozen national parks had been designated by then, along with 30 national monuments, the areas functioned with little oversight. “They were orphans,” wrote Horace Albright, Mather’s assistant and key partner in the creation of the National Park Service. “They were split among three departments—War, Agriculture, and Interior. They were anybody’s business and therefore nobody’s business.”
Opportunists hungry for the parks’ natural resources took advantage. Poachers targeted the plentiful wildlife. Ranchers grazed sheep and cattle in mountain meadows. San Francisco boosters even convinced Congress to allow Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley to be flooded as a reservoir for the city’s residents.
Many of these problems weren’t new and national parks conferences had been held before, but the one in 1915, held on the Berkeley campus of the University of California, was different. “This meeting brought everybody together that had anything whatsoever to do with parks,” says Robert Sutton, chief historian of the National Park Service.
The solutions were different too. Mather, who had made his fortune marketing Borax soap to the masses, saw the American public as the parks’ savior.
To read the full article, click here.
February 2015 Newsletter
This newsletter is available as a PDF here
In this issue:
Marketing Parks and the Great Outdoors
Washington, D.C. – Leading travel, tourism and recreation leaders gathered at the U.S. Department of the Interior and used an unusual format to share and discuss information about how America’s parks and Great Outdoors can be marketed effectively internationally and to younger and more diverse population segments. The 90-minute session was moderated by National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis and included three data-rich presentations delivered TED-style followed by discussions with four expert responders.
The program – Marketing Parks and the Great Outdoors to All Americans and More International Visitors, Too! – was produced jointly by the National Park Hospitality Association and the National Parks Promotion Council. The session had a live audience of national leaders in recreation, conservation, historic preservation and tourism, and was livestreamed nationwide.
To read more, click here
U.S. Workforce Forfeits $52.4 Billion in Time Off Annually
U.S. Travel Association is leading a campaign to encourage Americans to take earned vacation time. The campaign is called "Travel Effect", and according to a recent study, the lack of vacation is costing the economy hundreds of billions of dollars. That study - conducted by Oxford Economics for the U.S. Travel Association - shows that American workers permanently lost a total of 169 million days of paid time off across the workforce in 2013. By giving those days up, workers are forfeiting $52.4 billion in benefits and costing the economy a whopping $284 billion.
Americans are taking less vacation than at in nearly the last four decades. In 2013, employees took an average of 16 vacation days as opposed to an average of 20.3 days in 2000. “If this trend continues, the vacations of our childhoods could be a thing of the past—completely unknown by the next generation. That would be a true loss for our families and our country,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.
To read the full press release, click here.
For more information on the campaign, visit traveleffect.com.
The campaign's YouTube videos are available here.
Thompson & Little Presents at NPHA Fall Meeting
One of NPHA's newest members - Thompson & Little Inc. - introdiced themselves to the concessioner community at NPHA's 2014 Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C. Andrew O'Quinn, Vice President of Thompson & Little, presented the food service and equipment design company, laying out Thompson & Little's impressive qualifications and expertise and showing how they can be effective partners with concessioners around the country.
To see a PDF version of Thompson & Little's presentation, click here.
For more information on Thompson & Little Inc., read the news release announcing their joining NPHA here.
NPHA Welcomes Three New Members as Preferred Vendors
The National Park Hospitality Association is very pleased to welcome Thompson & Little, Inc., Dowdle Folk Art and Old Hickory Furniture Company as the organization’s newest members. Each will be a Preferred Vendor, recognizing commitment to providing high levels of quality in goods and services and support for the association’s mission of offering park visitors great experiences in great places.
“NPHA is excited to welcome these three new members,” said NPHA Vice Chairman and chair of NPHA’s Membership Committee Alex Klein. “We look forward to their contributions at our upcoming meeting this month and beyond as we work collectively to prepare for the next century of the National Park Service.”
To read more, click here
This newsletter is also available in PDF form here
In this issue:
National Park Service Releases Report on 2014 National Park Visitation to Date
The National Park Service has released its Current Year Monthly and Annual Summary Report for June 2014, and the numbers show visitation declining for the month of June and 2014 in general.
June totals were down 4.65%, from approximately 24.87 million visitors in 2013 – to approximately 23.7 million visitors in 2014. Yearly visitation to date is down 4.4%, from approximately 88.68 million visits in 2013 – to approximately 84.77 million visits in 2014.
The full report, including visitation breakdowns for each NPS unit can be seen in .pdf form here.
Visitor Spending in National Park Gateways Has Big Impact on Economy
National park visitors contributed $26.5 billion to the nation's economy and supported almost 240,000 jobs in 2013, according to a peer-reviewed report released today by National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.
"National parks are often the primary economic engines of many park gateway communities," Jarvis said. "While park rangers provide interpretation of the iconic natural, cultural and historic landscapes, nearby communities provide our visitors with services that support hundreds of thousands of mostly local jobs."
National park visitation for 2013 declined by 3.2 percent compared to 2012. The 16-day government shutdown last October accounted for most of the decline. National parks in the Northeast, closed for Hurricane Sandy-related repairs, were the other significant brake on visitation.
Visitor spending for 2013 was down by 1 percent. The number of jobs supported by visitor spending was off by 2.1 percent, and the overall effect on the U.S. economy was 1 percent lower than the previous year due to adjustments for inflation.
"The big picture of of national parks and their importance to the economy is clear," Jarvis said. "Every tax dollar invested in the National Park Service returns to $10 to the U.S. economy because of visitor spending in gateway communities near the 401 parks of the National Park System."
Jarvis said visitation so far this year indicates a rebound from 2013 and he expects a steady increase as excitement grows in advance of the 2016 centennial of the National Park Service.
President Obama established a Centennial Initiative for the anniversary, a multi-year effort to invest wisely in the park system’s most important assets, use parks to enhance informal learning, engage volunteers, provide training opportunities for youth, and enhance the National Park Service’s ability to leverage partnerships to accomplish its mission.
The full 2013 Visitor Spending Effects Report can be found here.
Information taken from an National Park Service Press Release
State of the Hispanic Consumer
An interesting, though not new report offers insight on Hispanic consumers. The report - released in Q2 of 2012 - notes a number of important findings:
- The Hispanic population is big business and is of growing economic importance;
- Hispanics appear less interested in being assimilated into dominant U.S. lifestyles. They appear very committed to sustaining key cultural values and practices; and
- Even when English-language competent, most Hispanics prefer advertising and similar messages which are in Spanish.
The full report can be viewed as a .pdf here.
Spring 2014 Newsletter
This Newsletter is also available in PDF format here.
In this issue:
● NPHA Holds Annual Meeting in D.C., March 16-19, 2014
● NPS Director Publicly Expresses Concern About “Waning Relevancy” of Parks
● NPHA Members in Intermountain Region Meet With NPS Leaders and The Coleman Company
● RentMyTent Featured at IPW, Subject of New NPS Guidance Document
● CMAB Meeting Held in Washington
● Centennial Update
● Congress Holds Hearing on FLREA – Federal Fee Legislation
● Concessioners Can Play a Role in Great Outdoors Month 2014
● NPHA Fall Meeting Planned for Shenandoah National Park, October 19-22
Grand Thoughts at the Grand Canyon
Nearly 150 leaders of the American national park community gathered at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Grand Canyon National Park for a five-day discussion of opportunities and concerns. The meeting, Grand Thoughts at the Grand Canyon, was organized by the National Park Hospitality Association in cooperation with Grand Canyon National Park. Participants included executives of companies operating in the national parks, providing overnight accommodations, meals and more to an estimated 100 million park visitors annually. Also participating were an outstanding group of National Park Service (NPS) leaders, including both Director Jon Jarvis and Deputy Director Peggy O’Dell, and the Presidents of both the National Park Foundation (NPF) and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). The meeting also attracted key leaders from the telecommunications and entertainment industries and national tourism leaders, including state tourism directors.
For the complete news release, click here.
Strong Bipartisan Support For National Parks
Hart Research Associates and North Star Opinion Research conducted a national survey on behalf of The National Parks Conservation Association and National Park Hospitality Association to determine how likely voters feel regarding America's National Parks. The results of the survey show support for National Parks is not limited to one political ideology. Rather, National Parks enjoy bipartisian support. To read the survey findings click here.
2011 Annual Meeting Materials:
Special Report - Meeting Highlights (March Newsletter)
Centennial Steering Committee Update
Better Visitor Industry Services Initiative
Wounded Warrior Family Support program
CONPac Donation Form
Relevance Presentation by NPS for Concessioners
Cross Generational Hand Out - Barbara Lang
National Parks, Tribal Tourism and Indian Arts and Crafts Session Report
2010 National Park Visitation Pattern Shows Mixed Results
January 17, 2011 (Washington, D.C.) - The near-final NPS figures on park visits during 2010 show both positive and negative results. Visitation at many of the iconic parks increased over 2009. Yet the system overall, despite fee-free weekends, publicity generated by the rebroadcast of the Ken Burns' PBS special and the visit to Yosemite by Oprah and a jump in international visitors to the USA, showed a decline of about 2% in visitations (some 5.8 million fewer visits to a total of about 280 million) and a 2.7% drop in visitor hours. The report also showed a 1.5% drop in concessioner lodging use between 2009 and 2010.
On the plus side, visitation to many of the best-known national parks, most with significant concessioner services, rose in 2010. Key parks with increases include:
Yellowstone + 10.5%
Yosemite + 4.7%
Grand Teton + 4%
Grand Canyon + 1%
Glen Canyon + 8.4%
Acadia + 12.4%
Glacier + 9.6%
Among the most significant declines in units with concessioners were:
Blue Ridge Parkway - 9%
Golden Gate NRA - 7.6%
Gateway NRA - 4%
To see 2010 visitation numbers for all NPS units, click here.
April 2011 Health & Wellness Meeting set by National Park Service
January 12, 2011 (Washington, DC) - The National Park Service Health and Wellness Steering Committee, led by National Park Service Office of Public Health Director Charles Higgins, is now inviting an extraordinarily high-level group of business, government, academic and nonprofit executives to an April 5th - 6th session in San Francisco. Called Healthy Parks, Healthy People US 2011, the session is expected to lead to a new coalition of interests that seek to maximize use of parks and open spaces to improve the health of all Americans and reduce healthcare costs. NPS Director Jon Jarvis will chair the meeting and a number of concessions industry representatives will be invited. The NPS Health and Wellness Steering Committee has identified additional priority activities.To read more, click here.
National Park Fee-Free Days for 2011
January 4, 2011 (Washington, DC) - Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar today announced that the National Park Service will waive admission fees on 17 selected dates throughout 2011 and encouraged all Americans to make a New Year’s resolution to visit a national park this year.
“Many people have made resolutions to spend more quality time with loved ones and to get outdoors and unplug in 2011,” said Secretary Salazar. “There’s no better place than a national park to help keep those resolutions. Parks offer superb recreational opportunities, making them perfect places to enjoy our beautiful land, history and culture, and nurture a healthy lifestyle.”
Salazar noted that with 394 national parks throughout the country, most Americans live within a few hours of a park, making them places for easy and affordable vacations any time of the year.
“In these tough economic times, our fee-free days will give families many opportunities to enjoy our nation’s heritage and natural beauty in meaningful and affordable ways,” he said.
The 2011 fee-free dates will be the weekend of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (January 15-17), National Park Week (April 16-24), the first day of summer (June 21), National Public Lands Day (September 24), and the weekend of Veterans Day (November 11-13).
The first fee free days are centered on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
“Visitors can literally walk in Dr. King’s footsteps at national parks such as Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Georgia, Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail in Alabama, or the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis. “They are just a few of the dozens of national parks which trace the history of African Americans.”
“Several parks will also honor Dr. King by hosting volunteer projects for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on January 17,” added Jarvis. “It is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a day on, not a day off.”
Many national park concessions will also offer discounts on fee free days, saving visitors money on food, lodging, tours, and souvenirs. More information is available here.
For a preliminary list of special offers provided by park concessioners, click here.
National Park Service -
2010 Concessioner Environmental Achievement Award Winners
The National Park Service recently announced the recipients of its 2010 Environmental Achievement Awards honoring outstanding accomplishments in the preservation and protection of park resources. The award recipients have demonstrated exceptional achievements in the protection of ecosystems, alternative energy use, reduction of solid waste and petroleum use, design of sustainable buildings, and climate friendly innovations.
Click here for more details.
Leading Health Reporter for NY Times: Head Out for Daily Dose of Green Space
The New York Times Personal Health columnist Jane E. Brody on November 30th promotes the innovative Park Prescriptions program, features Dr. Daphne Miller -- a strong ally of ARC and a family physician affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco -- and even makes note of Great Outdoors Month! The article is a milestone for ARC and the many advocates for linking health and the great outdoors. The issue continues to build steam. Ms. Brody cites specific efforts showcased in the study we presented to the America's Great Outdoors session in Chicago and praises the nationwide movement to meaningfully connect healthcare to outdoor resources. She succinctly drives home the basic message very well: getting active outdoors cuts costs and boosts health and happiness. Now we all must help circulate that message. Please consider posting an update like this one to your Facebook, website, or other social media outlets with a connection to her column which reads, in part: "A consortium of physicians, health insurers, naturalists and government agencies have banded together to help more people of all ages and economic strata engage in health-enhancing physical activity in parks and other natural environments. This grass-roots movement has already reached the White House. This year President Obama started the America's Great Outdoors Initiative, proclaiming June 'Great Outdoors Month.' The initiative aims not just to counter sedentary lifestyles but also to reacquaint Americans with the farms, ranches, rivers, forests, national and local parks, fishing holes and beaches that provide opportunities for people 'to stay active and healthy.'" To read the full article, click here.
Concessionaires and Public Lands Partnership Symposium
November 16, 2010 (Washington, D.C.) - NPHA Counselor Derrick Crandall was a keynote speaker addressing outdoor trends and initiatives at the Concessionaires and Public Lands Partnership Symposium held November 16-17, 2010, co-organized by Ray Murray, Partnerships Program Chief of the Pacific West Region of the National Park Service. Other participating NPHA leaders include Bruce Fears, Pam Pitts, Terry MacRae and NPPC Interim Director John Poimiroo. Mr. Crandall also meet with the board of the California Parks Hospitality Association to share association news and explore collaboration opportunities with the California Parks Hospitality Association as well as meet with California State Parks Director Ruth Coleman, who is also chair of the National Association of State Park Directors. The meetings were held at the Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, California, a California State Parks unit. To view the PowerPoint, click here.
Oprah’s National Park Camping Trip Had Mixed Reviews
International celebrity Oprah Winfrey camped out in Yosemite National Park earlier this fall and subsequently aired two episodes on her television show about her first visit to any national park. NPHA’s hope was that Oprah’s shows would help encourage a more diverse group of visitors to national parks. Reaction has been mostly good, but there is concern that the impression left with many viewers might not have been as inviting as hoped. The National Parks Promotion Council’s new YouTube effort, NP Adventures, captured NPS Ranger Shelton Johnson’s explanation about his invitation to her to visit the park, saying, “No one of her stature within the African American community has ever spoken about a wilderness experience or a national park experience to national television.” Before Oprah’s two episodes aired, there were approximately 400 views of his YouTube interview. Ranger Johnson was in the audience for the shows and was introduced on air. Following the shows, views of the YouTube segment featuring him jumped to nearly 40,000. The new NP Adventures videos are aimed at youth under age 30. Total views for the NP Adventure series, which will include more than 100 short segments filmed this summer and fall, is approaching 200,000.
To view Oprah's shows, see http://www.oprah.com/oprah_show.html
See the NP Adventure videos: www.youtube.com/npadventure
Let us know what you think. Email your comment to firstname.lastname@example.org