Statement | Washington, DC | January 6, 2017

New National Park Service Report Gets Scientific, Historic Preservation Stamp of Approval

Statement by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Today, the National Park Service (NPS) published their first-ever Cultural Resources Climate Change Strategy, which aims to help cultural resource managers and scientists plan for, act on and communicate about the growing threat of climate change to national parks.

Cultural heritage sites such as historic buildings, archaeological treasures and indigenous sacred sites are at risk throughout the country. Included on that list are iconic places like Yellowstone National Park, San Francisco’s Embarcadero Historic District and the National Mall in Washington D.C. According to NPS, the effects of climate change—such as increased temperatures, wildfires, flooding, and extreme weather events—are “fundamentally the greatest threat to the integrity of our national parks” and something they anticipate will have an impact on cultural resources in every park.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP), organizations that work extensively on this issue, offer their take on this comprehensive and innovative plan.

Below is a statement by Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO at NTHP.

“At a time when more and more of our nation’s irreplaceable, historic resources are experiencing the impacts of climate change, we applaud the National Park Service for their leadership in preparing the Cultural Resources Climate Change Strategy. This report provides timely and essential guidance to both NPS managers and historic preservation partners to anticipate, plan for and respond to the effects of a changing climate on our shared cultural heritage.”

Below is a statement by Adam Markham, deputy director of the Climate and Energy Program at UCS.

“One innovation the National Park Service brings to the table with this report is a strategy to use the latest climate research in all national parks to communicate climate risks to the public through storytelling. Combined with climate change literacy training for park managers and rangers, this could greatly improve people’s understanding of the scale of the problem.

“With more than 300 million visitors annually, national parks are the perfect venue to bring the best available climate science directly to the American people in a way that connects a seemingly abstract threat to real stories in places they know and care deeply about. This proposed strategy could be a catalyst to help break down the political inertia and climate denial that’s preventing our elected leaders in Washington D.C. from taking effective action on climate change.”

Click here to view a more detailed blog by Markham on this NPS report.

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The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. Joining with citizens across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe and sustainable future. For more information, go to www.ucsusa.org.

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.
SavingPlaces.org | @savingplaces

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