Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to our FAQ page! Here you will find answers to common questions about our organization, and how we support America’s national parks.
What’s the difference between America’s National Parks™ and "America’s national parks"?
Great question! America’s national parks are the more than 400 natural, cultural, and historical sites that are administered by the National Park Service. More than 330 million visitors enjoy these parks each year – many of them logging their travels in their Passport To Your National Parks® book.
America’s National Parks™ is a retail and related-services brand of Eastern National, providing quality educational experiences to national park visitors at nearly 170 of these parks, primarily through our park stores, interpretive services, and custom publications.
What’s a cooperating association?
A cooperating association (or “association”) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit partner that supports interpretive programs and activities at government land management agencies. These government agencies can be managed on the federal, state, or local level – in other words, cooperating associations help connect people to public lands. Eastern National, the parent company of America’s National Parks®, is a cooperating association that mainly works with the National Park Service, but also has partnerships with the US Forest Service, Tennessee State Parks, and other similar entities.
Associations like ours focus on connecting people to parks by developing educational products and publications, operating park stores, procuring land and historical artifacts, and supporting parks’ missions through donations and grants. Our America’s National Parks® stores and custom publications are the main ways that we generate funds to support the nation’s treasures.
Documents called “cooperating agreements” guide cooperating association activities and are reviewed and renewed on a regular basis. As the largest multi-region cooperating association, our cooperating agreement is signed by the Director of the National Park Service.
What do you mean when you talk about “interpretation” and “interpretive programs”?
When you hear the word “interpretation,” do you think about translating from one language to another? Think of national park interpretation as “translating” the natural, cultural, and historical significance of people, places, and things to help connect visitors to parks.
John Muir, sometimes referred to as the Father of the National Parks, used the word “interpretation” in this sense as early as 1896 during his time in Yosemite: “I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.”
Here are some common interpretive activities that America’s National Parks™ supports:
- Lectures by authors and experts
- Visitor center videos and orientation films
- Living history demonstrations
- Field trips and educational outings for kids
- Interactive and hands-on activities
- Celebrations of local heritage
How else can I support national parks?
We’re glad you asked! Besides shopping in America’s National Parks™ stores, check out these other great ways to enjoy and support our national parks:
- Join a friends group! Outer Banks Forever is a great example of how friends groups work with their parks to meet unique local needs.
- Become a VIP! Volunteers In Parks are dedicated to making great places better. Gather your friends and find an event or volunteer opportunity near you.
- Visit and participate! Check out your local park’s programs and events. When you join in park activities, you’re showing that you value our public lands and all they have to offer.
- Make a donation! Click here to make a tax deductible contribution to support educational experiences, preservation, and more at national parks through the America’s National Parks™ online store.