Director emphasizes partnerships in parks
By Cory Hatch
November 17, 2006
Recently appointed National Park Service Director Mary Bomar emphasized partnerships in preparing parks for their 2016 centennial during a speech Thursday in Casper.
In preparing for the Centennial Challenge, Bomar said, “In his directive, President Bush made it clear that the challenge is not to be a typical Washington budget exercise but a partnership with all Americans who cherish our parks.”
“We will soon invite suggestions across the nation, including yours,” she said. “While government must do its part, we can’t rely on government for an initiative as big as the Centennial Challenge. It’s going to take funds, but it is also going to require energy, enthusiasm and a willingness to work in partnership.”
Bomar spoke at a Wyoming Heritage Foundation meeting that focused on tourism in the state.
As for statistics that show park attendance holding steady during the last several years while the population of the United States continues to grow, Bomar said, “There are many factors that can influence these fluctuating numbers — and you are acutely aware of those factors, from gas prices to world events to shifting patterns in American travel preferences. We need to reverse this trend.”
Bomar said her goals as the Park Service director include re-engaging the public with national parks, increasing the capacity of the national park system, and developing a new generation of leaders for the Park Service.
“However, always the number one goal in my mind is the mission of the National Park Service — ‘to preserve for future generations,’ as well as to connect every American to the parks and ensure financial sustainability and protection of park resources,” she said.
In a telephone interview after the speech, Bomar said she plans to come back to Wyoming to work on some of the issues facing Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. “There’s no shortage of issues here in Wyoming,” she said.
When asked if the partnerships she mentioned in her speech included private businesses, Bomar said, “I believe in shared leadership, so they learn about us and learn about what their needs are.”
The Park Service is “crafting a blueprint” to deal with some of the complex issues facing parks today, she said.