On June 8, AHF Program Director Alexandra Levy and Program Manager Nathaniel Weisenberg attended a National Park Service Centennial Reception hosted by the National Parks Second Century Action Coalition.
Theresa Pierno, President of the National Parks Conservation Association, opened the reception. Speakers included many members of Congress, such as Senators Maria Cantwell of Washington and Rob Portman of Ohio, Representative Tom McClintock of California, and Representative Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts. They spoke about the importance of preserving and maintaining our national parks, and how Congress will work to support the “second century” of the National Park system. Attendees included representatives of the Department of Interior, the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Public Lands Alliance, and other Congressional offices.
In September 2009, the National Parks Second Century Commission, co-chaired by former Senators Howard Baker, Jr., and Bennett Johnston, Jr., strongly urged Congress to expand the role of the national parks to represent the diversity of our heritage. The Commission recommended that the National Park Service engage diverse audiences, provide lifelong, place-based learning, strengthen its collaboration with partners, and use new technologies and media.
These aims will be essential to interpreting the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. We enjoyed the opportunity to engage with other organizations dedicated to strengthening America's national parks, and look forward to helping make the Manhattan Project National Historical Park a prototype for 21st-century parks.