Help Make America’s Best Idea Even Better

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September 26: A Day of Service and Celebration in Your National Parks

Help Make America’s Best Idea Even BetterWASHINGTON, DC (September 2, 2009)  – Join the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation in making America’s Best Idea – the national parks – even better.   On September 26, National Public Lands Day, the national parks will host visitors and volunteers for a special day of service and celebration.   As part of the festivities, parks will offer a sneak preview of Ken Burns’s new documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea premiering on PBS September 27.  Additionally, entrance fees at all national parks will be waived for the day.

The American people have created 391 national parks and entrusted their care to the National Park Service.  With the help of volunteers and park partners, we are proud to preserve these places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year,” said Dan Wenk, Acting Director of the National Park Service.

“We hope everyone will come out and join us on September 26 to celebrate the parks and our shared commitment to make America’s Best Idea even better.” “This will be a memorable day for Americans everywhere to volunteer and participate in the vitality and preservation of our national parks, and to be one of the first to get a glimpse at this historic film,” said Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation, a core partner and funder of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.

“This day and Ken Burns’s film are powerful invitations to all Americans to reconnect to our national parks, to share their legacy, and to join us in helping fulfill their most critical needs.”

Some park events include:

National Mall and Memorial Parks (DC/MD/VA) – The 13 national parks of the National Capital Region will each host their own volunteer and special interpretive activities for the community throughout the day. Service projects will vary by site and include trail projects, river clean-ups and exotic plant removal. The service day will conclude with a celebration on the Ellipse from 5-8:30pm featuring fun activities, music, giveaways and a special preview screening of the The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.  The program will include remarks by Ken Burns and other special guests.

Minute Man National Historical Park (MA) – Minute Man will be celebrating its 50th anniversary as a national park on September 26.  Volunteers will staff the day-long celebration from 10am-4pm, and will host demonstrations of 18th-century activities including leatherworking, music, and agricultural. Recently rehabilitated structures along Battle Road will be open to the public – many for the first time.

Rocky Mountain National Park (CO) – Volunteers will build a new trail along the Continental Divide in the western side of the park. Throughout the day and across the park, a special sneak peak of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea will be viewed. Beginning at 6pm, Rocky Mountain PBS and will celebrate Ken Burns and his new documentary at Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder. Local musicians will play music from the film and a special preview screening will be offered.

Valley Forge National Historical Park (PA) – More than 200 volunteers will spend the day building trails, painting cannon, removing crayfish – an invasive species – from the river. The park will also host an environmental expo engaging people in green community activities and businesses.

A full listing of park events – updated daily – is online at

National Park Foundation supporters including long-time proud partner Unilever, as well as Merrell are helping to sponsor the national celebration as well as host complementary events in cities across the country.

About the National Park Foundation
The National Park Foundation is an independent charitable organization chartered by Congress in 1967 to strengthen the connection between the American people and their national parks.   As the official national non-profit partner of America’s National Parks, the Foundation raises private funds, makes strategic grants, creates innovative partnerships and increases public awareness about the need and opportunity for park philanthropy. In its 2008 fiscal year, the National Park Foundation distributed grants and program support of $27.3M. To learn more, visit