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Park Planning Recognized During Great Outdoors Month

National Park News

During Great Outdoors Week this past June, the National Park Service received both Beacon and Legends awards from the American Recreation Coalition (ARC). 

The Beacon Award, which has been presented since 2005, recognizes outstanding efforts by federal agencies and partners in harnessing the power of technology to improve public recreation experiences and federal recreation program management. The Park Planning Program was chosen for its use of technology to enhance public engagement in park planning.  ARC selected six federal programs and efforts as recipients. The Secretary of the Interior was on hand at the opening reception for Great Outdoors Week on Monday, June 3rd, to congratulate the winners. 

NPS Park Planning was recognized for work on the Park Atlas, PEPC, and monthly Planners Chat:

  • Park Atlas: The public can now utilize a new tool called the Park Atlas.  The Atlas is a geospatial data tool supported by Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data which helps the public, and NPS staff, understand the interaction among visitors, wildlife and other resources.
  • Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC): The Planning Program also developed a web-based program called Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC).  PEPC allows the public to download planning documents to enhance participation in the planning process.  The Council on Environmental Quality selected PEPC as one of two pilot projects government-wide that best identify and employ innovative approaches to increase quality and efficiencies in public participation.
  • Planners Chat: NPS Planning has also developed a monthly conversation called a ‘Planners Chat’ which utilizes webinars, streaming video and ‘video chats.’  Topics have included Wilderness Management, Civic Engagement, Community Partnerships, Climate Change, Visitor Use Management, and Spatial Mapping.  Some 50 NPS staffers participate each month.  These conversations have broadened the knowledge base of all programs of the NPS and provide a much-needed collaborative tool that enhances staff capabilities and promotes cross-department collaboration.

Following the Beacon Award event, Director Jarvis joined ARC to celebrate the 2013 Legends Award recipients. NPS community planner Jerry Willis received the Legends award for collaborative partnership development supporting recreation access in New York City.  Six federal managers were recognized for their outstanding work to improve outdoor recreation experiences and opportunities for the American people.  Read more about the Legends award

For more details on Great Outdoors Month and the NPS awards, please visit


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