Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.
It is everywhere. Evident in the daily weather forecast, the stories and political discussions gracing the pages and the airways of the news and even in the whispers of parents as their children sleep. The need for and the critical importance of conserving land, water, energy and an increasing amount of vulnerable species is everywhere. This issue of Parks & Recreation speaks to this crucially significant and often controversial topic and how the field of parks and recreation not only can, but also will make a difference.
Slightly more than a year ago, NRPA launched its Parks for Monarchs campaign. This program has found support from park and recreation agencies throughout the country and on page 52, Rich Dolesh, NRPA’s vice president of conservation and parks, speaks to the progress of this initiative. Many park and recreation agencies are engaging in meaningful conservation efforts to save the monarch butterfly for future generations, taking information and resources available through Parks for Monarchs and making an impact on their communities.
There has been a lot of news, as well as controversy, from The Golden State during the past few months. In February, we witnessed President Barack Obama ordain three new national monuments in the California desert. Collectively, Sand to Sea, Castle Mountains and the Mojave Trails National Monuments contain more than 1.8 million acres of open space and untainted vistas, countless sensitive species and many cultural settings of historical significance. Conservation and park enthusiast, Paula Jacoby-Garrett, brings each of these natural wonders to life starting on page 48, in her piece, “Introducing California’s Newest National Monuments.”
The article, “California Coastal Access and Climate Justice for All,” starting on page 66, by civil rights attorney and conservation activist, Robert García, with Marce Gutiérrez-Graudinš and Amy Trainer, addresses the importance, the aftermath and the future of the California Coastal Commission. This piece explores the influence, greed and back-door politicking of big development. It speaks to the hunger of both those making “the deals” and those who wish to serve as guardians of our public lands.
In the face of expanding development, economic uncertainty and climate change, effective stewardship of our parks, open green spaces and waterways is more important than ever before. The individuals and agencies highlighted in this issue are taking President Roosevelt’s words to heart and transforming that passion into action. NRPA aims to help through its ongoing conservation initiatives — click here to learn how you can get involved.
Gina Mullins-Cohen is NRPA's Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Publishing and Editorial Director.