To raise awareness of the National Park Service Centennial – and the Tourism Cares for Our National Parks volunteer series – Rea is inviting travel professionals to visit a park during their holiday, and post to social media with the hashtags #NPSSelfie, #TCVolunteers, and #FindYourPark.
"With more than 400 parks across the nation, there's bound to be one near you," said Rea. "We're excited to see how many parks will be represented."
Tourism Cares will award a complimentary registration to a parks series volunteer event to the most creative posting by August 25 – the 99th birthday of the National Park Service, Rea said, and suggested visiting www.findyourpark.com for inspiration.
Tourism Cares worked closely with the National Park Foundation to identify five national parks where travel industry volunteers will donate more than 10,000 hours to restore and protect the parks:
- Grand Canyon National Park (& Williams, AZ), November 1-3, 2015
- Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Atlanta, GA, February 5, 2016
- Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Minneapolis, MN, May 20, 2016
- Mount Rainier National Park, WA, September 16, 2016
- Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, NYC, November 4, 2016
"We are grateful that Tourism Cares shares our commitment to connecting people everywhere to national parks," said Stefanie Mathew, director of corporate partnerships at the National Park Foundation. "Together, we will encourage people to find their park, inspire each other by sharing their stories and selfies, and raise awareness about all that parks can be and all that they can offer."
As part of Find Your Park, the National Park Foundation is teaming up with partners on initiatives like Tourism Cares for Our National Parks to drive broad awareness, deepen engagement, and increase support for America's national parks and the work of the National Park Service.
Registration for the first event at Grand Canyon National Park is open, and registration for each additional program will open approximately six months before each event.
At each location, volunteer work will be prioritized by the National Park Service and other local partners to fulfill the most pressing needs. US national parks see almost 300 million visitors a year across the system, resulting in the constant need to maintain and preserve their natural, historic and cultural splendor.
Volunteers will travel from across the United States, Canada and in some cases the world, to give back to America's national parks. These projects have been spread across the country to increase impact and allow more travel and tourism industry professionals to become involved in their regions.
For more information about Tourism Cares' centennial programs, or to register, please visit www.tourismcares.org/nps-volunteer-program.