The Public Lands Alliance Awards Members at their 2016 Partners for Public Lands Convention & Trade Show

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CONTACT: Amanda Keith, 301-946-9475, ext. 223,

Silver Spring, MD – The Public Lands Alliance, formerly known as the Association of Partners for Public Lands, presented fourteen Partnership Awards to twelve organizations, agencies, and corporate partners on Wednesday, March 9th at their annual convention and trade show.

The Partnership Awards Program celebrates the best in public lands partnerships, recognizing individuals, organizations, publications, products, programs and services that embody leading edge achievements in the preservation of public lands and the enrichment of visitors.

“The quality of this year’s nominations and submissions was outstanding,” said Public Lands Alliance Executive Director Dan Puskar. “They so clearly demonstrate the vitality and passion in today’s public lands partnerships and deserve recognition for being truly innovative, creative as well as collaborative.”

The Public Lands Alliance received submissions from across the nation and is pleased to announce the winners from the following categories:

Corporate Stewardship: The Corporate Stewardship Award recognizes a company that has demonstrated exceptional achievement to enhance the quality of the visitor experience in America’s public lands. This award is presented to a corporation that has made an impact through activities like product development, cause marketing and philanthropic support.

CELESTRON – A leading sport optics manufacturer and partner with the National Park Foundation (NPF), Celestron has created a line of official NPF licensed telescopes, sport optics and outdoor electronics in support of America’s national parks and has a longstanding track record of supporting nonprofits and their efforts to interest visitors about astronomy.

VAPUR – A leading designer, marketer and distributor of reusable, handheld, collapsible hydration products, Vapur has saved over 1,150,000 single use bottles from ending up in landfills. Their partnership with Bryce Canyon Natural History Association and other nonprofits has helped keep public land visitors hydrated while reducing landfill waste.

Public Lands Partners: The Public Lands Partner Award recognizes an exemplary partnership for its stunning achievements to protect and preserve our public lands and enhance the experiences of visitors and users. The award is presented in tandem to both the nonprofit and agency partners for their shared achievements.

FRIENDS OF NORTHWEST HATCHERIES AND LEAVENWORTH FISHERIES COMPLEX – for their Wenatchee River Salmon Festival which has educated the public about salmon for 25 years during a three day natural resource education event each year in central Washington.

ADVENTURERS AND SCIENTISTS FOR CONSERVATION AND UINTA-WASATCH-CACHE NATIONAL FOREST – for their partnership in training citizen scientists to study rare carnivores and collect data, deep in the High Uintas Wilderness in north-central Utah and southwestern Wyoming.

GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS ASSOCIATION AND GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK – for their partnership of more than 60 years, providing an unprecedented quantity and quality of visitor services and engaging with well over 2.5 million visitors annually in Tennessee and North Carolina.

FRIENDS OF THE CAMPBELL CREEK SCIENCE CENTER AND BLM CAMPBELL CREEK SCIENCE CENTER – for their educational programs, scholarships and transportation assistance to help children learn about archaeology, bear awareness, healthy waterways and other environmental issues in Anchorage, Alaska.

Innovative Product of the Year: The Innovative Product Award recognizes an interpretive product of any medium created in partnership by a nonprofit organization and a land management agency that embodies a path-breaking approach to achieve a public lands mission.

POTTERY INSPIRED BY ARTIFACTS OF THE ANCESTRAL PUEBLOANS OF THE COLORADO PLATEAU BY GRAND CANYON ASSOCIATION – In the words of our judges: “It is an excellent example of park partners working together to capture the history and culture of the park with replicas from actual artifacts that are not only beautiful but can be used today.”

Outstanding Public Engagement - Product or Display: The Outstanding Public Engagement Award recognizes exemplary products, displays, programs or services created in partnership by a nonprofit organization and a public land that advance meaningful and sustainable connections between individuals and America’s public lands.

MOJAVE MAX DESERT TORTOISE EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM BY RED ROCK CANYON INTERPRETIVE ASSOCIATION – In the words of our judges: “The multiple channels of bringing Mojave Max to life through online, social media, in-class presentations, mobile community uses - demonstrate an understanding that an effective campaign needs to not just find people where they are, but seek them out. Given the importance of the desert tortoise to Nevada and its habitats, it provides a key, engaging way to educate the public about the tortoise specifically and about desert habitats and environments generally.”

Outstanding Public Engagement – Program or Service:

BAYVIEW COMMUNITY SHUTTLE AND COMMUNITY TRAILHEAD PROGRAM BY GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL PARKS CONSERVANCY – In the words of our judges: “Physical access to parks and open spaces is often the most challenging barrier to successfully getting new visitors out to them. Addressing this problem in these underserved communities is a critical step in cultivating greater awareness, support, and advocacy for public lands. Locating the trail head in one of the communities is an important signal and symbol of the relevance and accessibility of the parks as well as the "entitlement" that all communities have and should expect of their public lands. This is a fabulous program, connecting underserved, economically depressed areas of the bay area for first time national park visitors.”

ART IN THE PARKS PROGRAM BY GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL PARKS CONSERVANCY – In the words of our judges: “The diversity of art programs, projects, and installations under this program show a breadth of offerings that demonstrate a strong commitment between the public agency partner and nonprofit to really imagining and re-imagining parks for public use.”

ROSIE’S GIRLS SUMMER CAMP PROGRAM BY ROSIE THE RIVETER TRUST – In the words of our judges: “The program's focus on underserved girls targets an important population that needs to be cultivated to be the next generation of conservation and environmental stewards. Combining the use of the Bay Trail, access to the Historic Park, and applied, hands-on skills learning in the trade skills is a unique way to make relevant a park/historic story and opportunities for young people today.”

Publication of the Year

The Publication of the Year Award recognizes a book or other publication created in partnership by a nonprofit organization and a public land that embodies innovation in educating and interpreting public lands to its readers, and impacts a substantial audience.

Publication of the Year – with annual revenues less than $1.5 million

CAVE CREEK CANYON: REVEALING THE HEART OF ARIZONA’S CHIRICAHUA MOUNTAINS BY FRIENDS OF CAVE CREEK CANYON -- In the words of our judges: “The vision of the book to bring together local experts to "interpret the many aspects of the canyon" is executed with energy and inclusiveness. This was a "labor of love" by the many subject matter experts/residents and reflects questions asked by visitors to Coronado National Forest.”

Publication of the Year - with annual revenues higher than $1.5 million:

MANUAL FOR DRIVERS AND GUIDES: DESCRIPTIVE OF THE INDIAN WATCHTOWER AT DESERT VIEW AND ITS RELATION, ARCHITECTURALLY TO THE PREHISTORIC RUINS OF THE SOUTHWEST BY GRAND CANYON ASSOCIATION – In the words of our judges: “A fascinating example of interpretation, partnership, and park values, this publication revives the architect's explanation of the re-creation of the Indian watchtower at Desert View 85 years ago for park guides and visitors. As the park returns the site to how the architect envisioned it, and adds an artist demonstration series and other interpretive programming, this book has new significance as an authentic, informative foundation that is remarkably current.”

Partners Choice Award

For the first time in the history of this awards program, the public was invited to vote on the Partnership Awards submission they found most inspiring through online voting. The Partners Choice voting received more than 200 votes and several applicants engaged their members to participate in voting online.


Honorable Mentions

In addition, the Public Lands Alliance presented sixteen Honorable Mentions to extraordinary submissions in the Innovative Product of the Year, Outstanding Public Engagement, and Publication of the Year categories. Those receiving Honorable Mentions are as follows:

Innovative Product of the Year

  • See America National Parklands Collection Postcard Book by Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park Anniversary by Sequoia Parks Conservancy
  • Park Ranger Centennial Minifigure by Eastern National

Outstanding Public Engagement for Product or Display

  • The Park Grill Project by Great Smoky Mountains Association
  • @ Large Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz Retail Product Display by Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

Outstanding Public Engagement for Program or Service

  • Zion National Park Plein Air Art Invitational by Zion Natural History Association
  • Boys and Girls Clubs Programs by Great Smoky Mountains Association
  • Acadia National Park Centennial by Friends of Acadia
  • Arctic Youth Ambassador Program by Alaska Geographic

Publication of the Year – with annual revenues less than $1.5 million:

  • Dawn of the Dinosaurs: The Late Triassic in the American Southwest by Petrified Forest Museum Association
  • Seekers, Saints & Scoundrels by Friends of Red Rock Canyon
  • Towpath Guide to the C&O Canal by Harpers Ferry Historical Association

Publication of the Year – with annual revenues higher than $1.5 million:

  • America's National Parks - A Photographic Journey by Eastern National
  • Smokies Life Magazine by Great Smoky Mountains Association
  • Rocky Mountain National Park: Wilderness, Wildlife, Wonder by Rocky Mountain Conservancy
  • Asians and Pacific Islanders and the Civil War by Eastern National

About the Public Lands Alliance
Formerly known as the Association of Partners for Public Lands, the Public Lands Alliance works to build and elevate effective nonprofit organizations and exceptional public-nonprofit partnerships for the benefit of public lands and their users. For more information, visit