The people of America invented the national park with the birth of Yellowstone in 1872. Since then, our National Park System has grown to include many of our greatest natural and historic treasures. Today, our parks welcome more than 300 million visitors each year — equivalent to the entire population of the United States. Yet, we have barely expanded our park system since the 1990s and our existing parks are chronically underfunded. Conservationists have identified hundreds of additional areas that could meet national park criteria. Most of them are threatened by mounting development pressures. RESTORE is working to protect these special places before they are seriously damaged or ruined.
New National Parks Campaign
Grassroots groups across the country are calling for the designation of important places in their regions as national parks. RESTORE is using experience gained during a quarter century of national park advocacy to identify potential new parks, assist groups working on park campaigns, rally public support, and build a nationwide grassroots national parks coalition. The goal is the passage of legislation that designates dozens of new parks that benefit every corner of America.
Maine Woods National Park & Preserve
Henry David Thoreau called for a "national preserve" in the Maine Woods 150 years ago. Decades of logging have diminished the primeval wilderness, but the natural essence of this vast forested landscape remains largely intact. In 1994, RESTORE proposed a Maine Woods National Park & Preserve worthy of Thoreau's vision — a 3.2-million-acre wildland larger than Yellowstone and Yosemite combined. The designation of a key portion of the area as Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is an important step. However, many other parts of the proposed park still need protection.
White Mountain National PARK
The White Mountain National Forest is the largest tract of public land in New England and the largest tract of federal land in the Northeastern United States. The U.S. Forest Service, which manages the forest originally worked to heal the damage done by decades of unrestricted logging. In recent years, however, the agency has returned to the logging of the past and is opening the forest to other industrial development, such as the destructive Northern Pass electric power corridor. RESTORE is working with a growing group of citizens to redesignate the forest as White Mountain National Park, which would protect this spectacular forest from this kind of shortsighted exploitation.
Massachusetts National Parks
RESTORE is working with grassroots groups and individuals to explore the potential for new national parks in Massachusetts, including public lands in the Berkshires and the Quabbin reserve. These beautiful landscapes not only need stronger protection, but they would provide significant benefits to the local economy.