BAR HARBOR — More than 150 people from around the country will gather here October 17-19 for the fall meeting of the National Park Friends Alliance. The meeting will be attended by members of friends groups, conservation organizations, and philanthropic groups, as well as by National Park Service personnel.
Acting National Park Service Director Mike Reynolds is slated to attend. He oversees an agency that cares for more than 400 parks. The National Park Service, with an annual budget of nearly $3 billion, has more than 22,000 employees.
The theme for the meeting is Partnerships for Parks in the 21st Century. Friends of Acadia (FOA) and Acadia National Park are the lead local partners in planning this year’s event. “We are proud to be able to join with our brother and sister organizations, and NPS staff, to discuss and share new ways to better protect the resources and vitality of our nation’s national parks,” said FOA President and CEO David MacDonald. MacDonald is a member of the Friends Alliance Steering Committee. Other committee members hail from park such as Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Hawaii Volcanoes, Glacier, and the Virgin Islands.
“Every park is different but in many ways we are all facing the same challenges,” he said. “By learning from, and working with, other groups and park managers we all can become better stewards of these national treasures.”
The Friends Alliance will hold plenary and breakout sessions at the Regency Hotel on Eden Street. Along with seminars on various aspects of park and organizational management, and updates on National Park Service initiatives, attendees will also be able to enjoy field trips and tours of Acadia, including the Schoodic area. A dinner is scheduled for the Jordan Pond House. There also will be opportunities for participants to join in Acadia volunteer programs working on the park’s historic carriage roads.
Major sponsorship support for this year’s Friends Alliance meeting has been provided by the National Park Foundation, Friends of Acadia, Acadia National Park, L.L. Bean, Dawnland – The Jordan Pond House, Lili Pew of The Knowles Company, The Compass Group, Eastern National, Schoodic Institute, and Bar Harbor Banking & Trust.
The Friends Alliance is an informal union of Friends Groups executives and park officials. The Alliance shares information among its participants, learns and helps to clarify NPS policies, advances partnership and philanthropic ideas, and discusses relationship-building strategy between Friends Groups and the National Park Service. The Friends Alliance is led by an elected steering committee and participation is open to all national park friends groups. The National Park Foundation provides technical and financial support to the Friends Alliance.
Friends of Acadia preserves, protects, and promotes stewardship of the outstanding natural beauty, ecological vitality, and distinctive cultural resources of Acadia National Park and surrounding communities for the inspiration and enjoyment of current and future generations.