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As the population of the United States continues to improve, so do allied express issues inside our national parks. Previously three decades, park visitation has jumped a lot more than 83 percent; the vast majority of these additional visitors have traveled to and through the parks in privately owned vehicles. Roads and parking facilities which were once adequate are actually overwhelmed, especially during peak travel seasons.
The resulting congestion both degrades visitor experiences and imperils the natural and cultural resources the National Park Service (NPS) is focused on protecting. The result is further strain on an agency already stretched by small budgets and over-worked staff.
In 2001, in an endeavor to simply help the NPS find innovative methods to this dilemma, the National Park Foundation (NPF), the Ford Motor Company Fund, and Eno Transportation Foundation teamed up with the NPS to determine the National Park Transportation Scholars Program. Today this program continues beneath the guidance of the National Park Foundation, the National Park Service, the Federal Highway Administration, the Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks and Technical Assistance Center, and the Eno Transportation Foundation.
The Transportation Scholars Program provides parks with transportation professionals who assist in developing transportation systems to simply help parks reduce traffic, congestion, and pollution while improving park visitor experiences. The Scholars Program pairs transportation professionals and graduate students with NPS staff seeking expert assistance with projects involving transportation planning and analysis, public outreach, intergovernmental coordination, environmental impact assessment, and other transportation-related tasks. Assignments generally begin in early summer and last either six or twelve months.
The Transportation Scholars Program offers the Park Service with much-needed alliedexpress logistics expertise at a fraction of the expense of hiring consultants or bringing on full-time staff. The Parks derive significant advantages from having Transportation Scholars located on-site versus using off-site assistance, and Scholars benefit parks by serving as single points of contact on transportation matters for consultants, contractors, and local communities. Scholars also bring a brand new perspective to the Park Service, while removing valuable personal and professional experiences.