Total Climate Ride Grants Since 2012: $213,221

Climate Riders and Hikers Supporting a Strong Voice for America’s Parks

America’s national parks are considered one of the greatest successes of our nation yet are underfunded and under extraordinary stress. While these incredible places protect and highlight our natural resources, they are also delicate ecosystems directly affected by climate change and threats from oil and gas exploration, mining, logging, air pollution, over-use, and crumbling infrastructure.

National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), one of Climate Ride’s more than 100 beneficiary organizations, is a leading advocate for the national park system. With nearly 1.4 million members and supporters, NPCA is an essential voice for America’s national parks, working to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for present and future generations. Based in Washington, DC, with offices all over the country, NPCA works tirelessly to defend them — whether on the ground, in the courtroom, or on Capitol Hill.

With 423 national park sites, including the 63 main national parks, the system is a treasure that millions of Americans and international tourists visit each year. The park system spans more than 84 million acres in 30 states, and extends into the territories, including parks in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam. Many of these protected areas have a history of places where folks have gathered for social justice and protest, like Lafayette Square and the gates to Yellowstone. And, while our national parks have a storied legacy of conservation, they also have a legacy of “not always being on the right side of justice” as NPCA recently put it in their Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Statement of Intentions.

A 2019 economic analysis of the national park system puts its value to Americans at more than $100 billion, despite a federal budget of only $2.5 billion. This disparity between the value our parks represent, and their actual funding has led to calls to change how the park system is financed and reveals how important advocacy organizations are to funding, protecting, maintaining, and preserving parks.

Direct grants from Climate Ride help keep organizations like NPCA nimble and quick to fight the constant threats to our parks. Climate Ride added NPCA as a beneficiary in 2012 and has granted more than $213,000 to date to support their mission. These annual grants have been made possible by the efforts of many of our riders, hikers, and runners who have chosen to support NPCA directly with their fundraising on Climate Ride events. Over the years, we have been fortunate enough to design many events in or near many of these national park sites including Glacier, Redwood, Death Valley, Zion, Bryce, Big Bend, Saguaro, Canyonlands, Rocky Mountain, Shenandoah, Olympic, and Acadia National Park, plus many of the smaller national monuments and park sites.

Team NPCA on Climate Ride

 

NPCA not only advocates for parks and creating new protected areas, but it works on protecting and connecting the ecosystems that surround our parks. A park is not an island but exists within and alongside a variety of communities and ecosystems. Some recent victories and accomplishments we can all celebrate include:

BELMONT-PAUL WOMEN’S EQUALITY NATIONAL MONUMENT, DC – NPCA partnered with the National Woman’s Party to successfully advocate for the 2016 creation of a national park site commemorating the history of women’s suffrage.

 

Many Glacier Valley in Glacier National Park

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MT – NPCA promoted the 2014 passage of the North Fork Watershed Protection Act, bipartisan legislation that safeguards the headwaters to Glacier and Flathead Lake and protects Waterton-Glacier, the world’s first international peace park.

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, AZ – Several years ago, NPCA played a key role in protecting the Grand Canyon from one of the worst threats in the park’s history, a massive development — including 2,100 housing units and 3 million square feet of commercial space — proposed near the South Rim.

Climate Ride’s partnership with NPCA extends beyond just grants and showcasing the parks. We strive to make a personal connection by inviting regional and local NPCA representatives to give Climate Ride participants an intimate look at the issues directly affecting the parks we visit. At the heart of NPCA are these tireless advocates who live and work in the places they protect. We are fortunate to have these experts join our events to share their stories. Here are some recent examples.

 

Michael Jamison, NPCA, and Caeli Quinn, Climate Ride, give a talk at Climate Hike in Glacier National Park

Michael Jamison – As program manager for NPCA’s Crown of the Continent Initiative, Michael Jamison visited our camp on the Glacier Ride and Hike and spoke with participants to deepen their appreciation of Glacier’s extraordinary landscapes. Author of How the West Was Warmed, he continues to expand his efforts to promote the narrative of the park and of the people who call it home. He’s also spearheaded work with the Blackfeet Nation to join together and defend nearby wildernesses in support of the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem.

Ernie Atencio – A cultural anthropologist with deep Indo-Hispano roots and NPCA’s Southwest Regional Director, Ernie Atencio spoke to our riders on the Utah-Escalante ride in 2020. Ernie fell in love with parks and wild places at a young age and has spent most of his career working in and for those places. Ernie spent many seasons as a national park ranger at Mesa Verde, both rims of the Grand Canyon, Bandelier National Monument, and taught for Yosemite Institute for several years.

 

Amanda Podmore, NPCA, educating Climate Riders about oil and gas leases in Bears Ears National Monument

Amanda Podmore – Amanda Podmore is a Southeast Utah Conservation Consultant for NPCA and visited our participants on the recent Bears Ears National Monument ride. Amanda is an environmental justice advocate in the West with experience in natural and cultural resource conservation, coalition work, and nonprofit capacity building. Her knowledge of mining and extraction practices is extensive and her passion to create equitable and inclusive solutions to conservation challenges was deeply inspiring for the riders.

As part of their commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, NPCA’s work in environmental justice was recently expanded in 2019 – their centennial year – to emphasize equitable access to national parks for those who have historically been excluded or felt unwelcome. They advocate for an expanded park system that represents the full range of stories of our collective American experience, especially those stories that help us face our nation’s history of using conservation to take land from indigenous peoples. NPCA is committed to authentic, long-term partnerships with communities and cultures that have deep relationships with places that are now national parks. They are committed to using their power and position to be steadfast allies on issues of justice and equity in our public lands.

One of the best examples of how they are using the heft of their organization for justice is in their recent backing of the proposed Badger Two-Medicine Protection Act. The act, which was created by the Blackfeet Nation, will permanently enshrine tribal access for cultural and traditional uses to a sacred landscape abutting Glacier National Park. It ensures tribal say in how the land is managed by the Forrest Service. It not only protects Blackfeet cultural rights but also maintains an essential portion of the Crown of the Continent ecosystem linking Glacier to other protected wildernesses. This and past partnerships between the NPCA and the Blackfeet Nation to protect the area from oil drilling are some of the best examples of how the NPCA can do its best work by using its advocacy power to back the people whose lands were taken to create our national parks.

At Climate Ride, we strongly believe that bringing all people to the parks to directly experience their natural splendor and magnificent open spaces strengthens our resolve to protect and expand these exceptional places for future generations. Through our continued grants to NPCA, we can help their program and policy experts, committed volunteers, staff lobbyists, community organizers, and communications specialists inform and inspire the public and influence decision-makers to ensure that our national parks are well protected.

For more information about how you can support NPCA or visit a national park by participating in a Climate Ride event, please visit www.climatride.org.

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