Agency Releases Plan To Restore, Maintain Ocean Resources In The National Park System

On Dec. 1, the National Park Service (NPS) announced the release of a comprehensive plan by the agency for restoring and maintaining ocean resources in the National Park System.

The Ocean Park Stewardship Action Plan was drafted with input from the NPS national leadership council, park superintendents and various partners. The plan will focus the organizational and scientific capacity of the NPS on conserving marine, estuarine and Great Lakes resources, in collaboration with state and federal agencies and park stakeholders.

"I am excited to announce the establishment of the Ocean Park Stewardship Action Plan," said Mary Bomar, NPS director. "This comprehensive program represents our commitment to restore and maintain productive fisheries, habitats and wildlife in the ocean parks, and ensure the recreational opportunities they afford to hundreds of communities and millions of visitors. I am pleased that the Ocean Park Plan highlights collaborations with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and private partners, including our recent agreement for a seamless network of ocean parks, wildlife refuges, marine sanctuaries and estuarine reserves."

The National Park System contains more than 5,100 miles of beaches, coral reefs, kelp forests, wetlands, historic shipwrecks and forts, and other areas of the coastal zone that attract over 75 million visitors every year. In 74 parks, spanning 25 coastal states and U.S. territories, people come to camp, fish, snorkel, scuba dive, boat, and watch wildlife. These parks also generate over $2.5 billion in economic benefits to local communities.

To read and learn more about the Ocean Park Stewardship Strategy and coastal and oceanic parks in the National Park System, visit the "Above and Below the Waves: Coastal and Oceanic Treasures in the National Park System" Web site at http://www.nps.gov/pub_aff/oceans/conserve.htm.

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