This past Tuesday the National Park Service publicly unveiled its Find Your Park campaign. The program is intended to encourage more Americans to discover their national parks. It also ties in with an initiative that President Barack Obama announced in February to offer every fourth-grader free admission to our national parks as a way to encourage more families to experience them.
The Find Your Park initiative part of a two-year celebration of the National Park Service's centennial anniversary in 2016. From the Motor Cities National Automotive Heritage Area to the Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Statue of Liberty, and Mt. Rushmore, the NPS includes more than 400 parks that preserve landscapes, history, and culture for future generations.
I had a chance to talk with Michael Liang of the National Park Service recently. He is one of five Centennial Ambassadors and a native of the Detroit area. Liang is currently a ranger at the Santa Monica National Recreation Area in Topanga, California.
Find Your Park, he pointed out, allows people a better chance to discover all that national parks have to offer. The newly launched website enables visitors to see videos and photos of parks across the country as well as a link to individual parks that they intend to visit.
I asked him what a greater interest in national parks would mean for state and local parks, such as Rouge Park here in the Warrendale neighborhood. “I'm a firm believer that a rising tide lifts all boats,” he said. “As people discover the wonders that exist in their national parks, that can only translate into a greater interest and usage of local parks at home.”
More on Michael Liang and the Find Your Park campaign is below. The closest national park to Detroit is the River Raisin National Battlefield Memorial in Monroe.