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Quick, Where is the Nearest National Park?

bout tour maria burks

(left) Governors Island. (right) Maria Burks, Commissioner, National Parks of New York Harbor

When you think of National Parks, it’s unlikely that New York Harbor is the first thing that pops into your head but several of the nation’s most significant parks are located in our maritime backyard. Think Liberty Island, Ellis Island, Governors Island National Monument, Gateway National Recreation Area and more. Come along on the MAS boat tour on July 28 in the knowledgeable company of Maria Burks, Commissioner of the National Parks of New York Harbor, to look and learn about the key role the National Parks play in our local economy, the ways their carbon footprint is being reduced and the sociological and cultural challenges to their long term sustainability.

Maria Burks came to New York six years ago as the latest step in a long career at NPS, one that has taken her from Alcatraz Island to Cape Cod National Seashore. The critical challenge facing all of the National Parks, says Commissioner Burks, is building a new constituency. The rich diversity of today’s society is not reflected in park visitation. In response, NPS is now reaching out beyond traditional white, middle-class park goers. Adding to that challenge is the fact that many of today’s young adults grew up without unsupervised time out of doors. Their recreation tends to center on technology, not on the unmediated pleasures of parks. An ongoing effort is underway to engage young people technologically through podcasts and social networking while also exposing them to first-hand (and first-class) park experiences.

Join us for your own first-hand experience in the Upper Bay of New York Harbor. This year’s theme is sustainability. Host: Vin Cipolla, president, MAS. Additional featured speakers: Eric Goldstein, director of New York Environment, NRDC , and Leslie Koch, president, Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation.

19th Annual MAS Summer Boat Tour
Toward a Sustainable Upper Bay: National Parks & Urban Waterfronts
Wednesday, July 28, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Pier 83, 42nd St. & 12th Ave.