You’ve got to hand it to those visionary naturalists and
politicians who had the good sense to create the National Parks
system the first park being Yellowstone in 1872. They understood
that one of this nation’s greatest resources is its wild places,
and that those places need protection. Just take a look at today’s
headlines to see how right they were.
Fortunately, for us here in the West, many of the greatest
National Parks are in our own backyards. These are not just open
spaces, but they are icons that have come to symbolize what the
West stands for in the imagination of people all over the world.
Just ask someone from London, or Paris, or Tokyo, or New York City
for that matter, what the American West looks like, and the Grand
Canyon is likely the first image that comes to mind.
In this issue’s cover story, “Parks of the West” (page 12), we
offer agents a variety of commissionable tour and lodging options
in eight of the West’s top parks.
If you need more inspiration or even potential marketing
materials check out the Web site of the Coalition of National Park
Service Retirees (www.npsretirees.org). In an effort to promote the
country’s parks, these former NPS employees have published the
results of a survey of members’ favorite spots within the parks.
These are the places where retired employees go themselves when
they want to get away from it all.
Why would they offer up their secret spots?
“Too many people who come to the parks are what I call
windshield visitors who miss all the best views and sites,” said
Rob Arnberger, a former superintendent at both Grand Canyon and Big
Bend. “My advice is simple: Park your car, get out the boots, take
a hike and discover your own country.”
Get out there and discover your own country. That sounds like a
message to pass along to potential customers.