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June 3, 2013

The Yellowstone Park Foundation Receives 2013 America's Best Idea Grant From the National Park Foundation

Bozeman, MT, June 3, 2013 — The Yellowstone Park Foundation (YPF), fundraising partner of Yellowstone National Park, has been awarded a 2013 America's Best Idea Grant. YPF is one of 34 friends groups and national parks to receive a grant this year from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks.

Inspired by the critically acclaimed Ken Burns' documentary, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," the America's Best Idea program funds park activities designed to connect diverse, underserved and under-engaged populations throughout the United States with the national parks in innovative and meaningful ways.

The Yellowstone Park Foundation will use the $15,000 grant to support Park Journeys, a program that brings underserved urban and rural youth to Yellowstone National Park for a five-day experience that inspires stewardship, leadership and academic potential.

Last year's pilot program brought 10 urban teens from Pittsburgh, PA to Yellowstone. This year the program is expanding, and three groups of teens from Cincinnati, OH, Pittsburgh, PA and Brockway, PA will visit Yellowstone. Park Journeys is a collaboration among the Yellowstone Park Foundation, the Yellowstone Association, and Manchester Bidwell Corporation's National Center for Arts and Technology (Pittsburgh), which has inspired affiliated Centers of learning, arts, and community development in Cincinnati, OH and Brockway, PA.

"We are so pleased that the America's Best Idea grant will allow Park Journeys to expand on last year's success, and give more youth the opportunity to experience Yellowstone, one of the world's finest outdoor classrooms, for the first time," said Karen Bates Kress, Yellowstone Park Foundation President.

"One of the great things about our national parks is that every American can relate to these treasured places if given the chance to experience them," said Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director of the National Park Service. "It's our mission to engage visitors from all backgrounds in the diverse stories that we tell in our national parks. Thanks to the support of the National Park Foundation, we can propel that outreach, and engage new audiences that would otherwise never have the opportunity to experience a national park."

"The America's Best Idea program gives people particularly youth incredible opportunities to connect to our national parks through unique and innovative ways," said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation. "From experiences that center on history, the environment and even adventure, we are able to capture the imagination of a new generation of park-goers in ways that benefit their lives and the future of the parks."

For a full listing of participating parks and program descriptions, please visit the National Park Foundation website at www.nationalparks.org. The National Park Foundation wishes to thank L. L. Bean, the Anschutz Family Foundation, and The Ahmanson Foundation for their generous support of the America's Best Idea program.

About the National Park Foundation:
The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, raises private funds that directly aid, support and enrich America's more than 400 national parks and their programs. Chartered by Congress as the nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, the National Park Foundation plays a critical role in conservation and preservation efforts, establishing national parks as powerful learning environments, and giving all audiences an equal and abundant opportunity to experience, enjoy and support America's treasured places. www.nationalparks.org.

About the Yellowstone Park Foundation (YPF):
The Yellowstone Park Foundation (YPF) has more than 16,000 individuals, corporations and foundations that donate to YPF each year, and has served as Yellowstone National Park's official fundraising partner since 1996. Its mission is to fund projects and programs that protect, preserve, and enhance the natural and cultural resources, and the visitor experience of the Park. YPF has raised more than $70 million, and funded more than 250 important projects and initiatives since its inception that include wildlife research, cutthroat trout restoration, trail maintenance, and youth education. For more information, please go to www.ypf.org.

About the Yellowstone Association (YA):
Since 1933, the Yellowstone Association (www.yellowstoneassociation.org) has served as Yellowstone National Park's official partner in education. Its mission is to connect people to Yellowstone National Park and our natural world. YA operates 12 educational Park Stores with gross sales of $4 million; the Yellowstone Association Institute which offers more than 600 in-depth courses each year; and a membership program with 35,000 members world-wide. Revenues from sales and memberships allow YA to make an annual cash donation to Yellowstone National Park for education and research.

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