Washington, D.C. - National leaders of the parks community including Tom Kiernan, President of the National Parks Conservation Association, and Diane Shober, Brand USA Director and Wyoming Tourism Director, will be joined by innovators in communications and technology including Corey Jaskolski, National Geographic Fellow, and Brent Young, Founder of Studio 78, as keynoters and major presenters at Grand Thoughts at the Grand Canyon, a week-long exchange of ideas designed to help America's park idea flourish in the 21st Century. The program is being coordinated by the National Park Hospitality Association in cooperation with Grand Canyon National Park.
Participants in Grand Thoughts will include a broad representation of the businesses serving park visitors with lodging, food, transportation and retail needs. Concessioners operating in US national parks operate under contracts with the National Park Service and employ an estimated 25,000 workers in parks, mostly in direct visitor-contact positions. The National Park Service receives in excess of $100 million annually in franchise fees from concessioners, who also play a major role in maintenance and operations of historic structures in national parks. In addition, concessioners assist parks by adopting healthy foods, green operations and other best practices.
Grand Thoughts is a continuation of "big picture" thinking about America's national parks and the American park idea which commenced in January 2012 at the first America's Summit on National Parks. Both efforts focus on 2016 - the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Park Service. The October 16-22 meeting will draw more than 200 park community leaders to the Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim. The operator of the Lodge will earmark 30% of all accommodations receipts for a new NPS Centennial Account to be held by the National Park Foundation and used for anniversary-related programs and projects.
Presenters will challenge participants with TED-like sessions focused on inspiring and spreading big ideas followed by break-outs designed to encourage broad park community responses and actions. Among those committed to offer presentations are:
Brent Young, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Studio 78, a leading developer of theme park and feature film technologies; Tom Kiernan, President of the National Parks Conservation Association, the nation's leading public advocacy organization for national parks; Dave Alberga, President and CEO of Active Network, www.recreation.gov
operator and a major developer of technological solutions to leisure activity operations;
1225 New York Avenue, NW Suite 450 Washington, DC 20005 202-682-9530
Grand Thoughts at the Grand Canyon Add One, September 5, 2012
Corey Jaskolski, President of Hydro Technologies and a National Geographic Innovation Fellow; John Johnson, Executive Director for Communications at Verizon Wireless; Mary Jane Ferguson, President of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association; Diane Shober, Brand USA Board Member and Wyoming Director of Tourism; Scott Stevenson, Vice President of Westrec Marinas and operator of the Chicago Parks District lakeshore properties; Chris Belland, President of Historic Tours of America and its new Boston Tea Party Museum; and A panel of youth assembled by the Student Conservation Association, the Corps Network and Southwest Conservation Corps.
Among the National Park Service officials expected to play a key role in the discussions at Grand Thoughts are Associate Directors Lena McDowall and Julia Washburn, Regional Director John Wessels and Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent David Uberauga. The Grand Canyon Association will also be featured. Among the topics to be covered are: the NPS A Call to Action Strategy; National Park Guest Donation Programs; Healthy Parks Healthy People; Dark Skies; A NPS Centennial Communications Campaign; and Expanded Funding Strategies for National Parks and National Park Programs.
Additional presenters will be announced shortly.
For more information on and registration forms for Grand Thoughts at the Grand Canyon, go to www.parkpartners.org/2012-Overview-for-Allies-and-Friends.html
The National Park Hospitality Association (NPHA) is the national trade association of the businesses that provide lodging, food services, gifts and souvenirs, equipment rentals, transportation and other visitor services in the National Park System. Concessioners have served park visitors since the 1870's. NPHA members have a combined workforce of nearly 25,000 persons - mostly front-line, visitor-contact jobs - and provide in excess of $1.1 billion in goods and services to visitors annually. NPHA members operate in more than 100 park units and generate more than $100 million annually for the National Park Service budget. Guest Donation Programs operated by concessioners have provided millions of dollars for park projects and programs. www.parkpartners.org