The National Park Service’s 100-year anniversary isn’t until 2016, but it's celebrating early by getting a face-lift for its logo. It’s all part of a new campaign rolling out in the next two years called “Find Your Park,” meant to expose the national park system to millennials and multicultural communities.
“Looking at the continued relevancy of the parks, it was obvious we needed to bring awareness to a younger generation, to reintroduce the parks to those [who] have been enjoying them and to those who did not have an awareness of them,” said National Park Foundation president Neil Mulholland.
The National Park Foundation, the nonproft arm of the National Park Service, hired Grey New York to help with rebranding. Ken Dowling, a partner at the Grey Group, said that part of the challenge was introducing millennials and other new communities to the national parks without alienating loyal park-goers.
“I don’t think it’s been on the millennials' radar," Dowling said.
While the iconic arrowhead will still be prominently featured in the logo and is not going away, the revamped design will show the connection between the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation.
“The centennial is the perfect time to completely align our two organizations, and with partners throughout the parks community, introduce—or reintroduce—the national parks and the National Park Service’s work with communities to every American,” director of the National Park Service Jonathan Jarvis said via email.
The freshened-up logo will be featured in the upcoming Disneynature documentary Bears, set for release April 18. Disneynature will also make a donation through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to the National Park Foundation.
Besides the logo redesign, Jarvis will be holding a Reddit AMA. It will be the first time the National Park Service has participated with the online link-sharing community.
Both the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation will also launch special centennial-themed Web pages today in preparation for a massive digital platform push in 2015.
The national parks get almost 300 million visitors annually, but Mulholland said the majority of those visitors tend to be baby boomers. The organization realized that if it wants to stay relevant, it has to reach out to millennials in a language they understand: social media.
During the recent government shutdown, 7.88 million visitors were turned away from park gates. It brought attention to the system’s vulnerability.
But, Mulholland said, people were not aware that there was a National Park Foundation. He’s hoping that by connecting the two organizations, it will show the public there is a way to help out and donate.
“There was a heightened awareness about expectations from the federal government and their responsibilities,” Mulholland said. “The American people in the private sector are willing to provide support.”