Episode 36: Michael Kellett on Establishing Hundreds of New National Parks
Michael Kellett has been executive director of RESTORE: The North Woods, since co-founding the organization in 1992. In 1994, he developed the original proposal for a 3.2-million-acre Maine Woods National Park, which laid the groundwork for the 2016 designation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument by President Obama.
He has helped in efforts to safeguard the legacy of Henry David Thoreau, including Walden Woods and the Thoreau birthplace, and to restore the Eastern Wolf, Canada Lynx, and Atlantic Salmon to the Northeast.
Michael previously worked for The Wilderness Society, helping to pass Michigan and Maine national forest wilderness bills. He co-authored Massachusetts bill H.897, which would protect all state conservation lands, covering 11% of the state, as parks and reserves off-limits to logging and other industrial development. He has visited more than 250 National Park System areas across the country.
- How to increase the National Park System by 3x current size
- The appetite Americans have for new National Parks
- A new National Parks omnibus bill
- National Parks role in stitching together America’s part of the Nature Needs Half / Half Earth movement
- Visit and engage: Restore.org
- Sign the petition: “Statement of Support for Massachusetts House Bill 897“
- Visit: Save Massachusetts Forests
- New National Parks website (Under Construction)
- Room for More: There is no better time to put forward a bold vision of an expanded park system.
- New National Parks for the Next Century (National Parks Traveler)
- America’s newest National Park: White Sands National Park
Notes from Michael on the figures for proposed new national parks
The National Park System is 85,099,844.97 acres. RESTORE’
Our extended working list so far includes about 500 potential expansion areas covering about 300 million acres. And that does not include many other possibilities, including most major marine areas. So we are confident that we will end up with the potential to increase our park system by a factor of 10.
Currently, only about 210 million acres is preserved in national parks or wilderness areas — less than 9 percent of the U.S. land base. If we really intend to make any serious attempt to reach the goal of saving half the planet for biodiversity, we need to increase such protected areas to 1.2 billion acres of land in the U.S. Even to reach the bare minimum of 17 percent in the Aichi biodiversity target requires an addition of about 202 million acres, which is even larger than the RESTORE top 100 list of 182 million acres.
We need to dramatically increase protected areas in the U.S. Expanding our National Park System — as well as our Wilderness system. This could be done within the next several years and it would have a huge positive impact on climate, biodiversity, and our people.
Director of Digital Outreach (D.O.D.O.) for The Rewilding Institute
Host and Producer of the Rewilding Earth Podcast
Jack started Rewilding work as Executive Director of Sky Island Alliance in the mid-1990’s, organizing the Sky Island Wildlands Network design, ripping up illegal roads on forest service lands, installing wolf acclimatization pens on Ted Turner’s Ladder Ranch & conducting howling surveys to help make way for the final stage of the Lobo reintroduction program in the Southwest.
Through the years, Jack has worked with Dave Foreman and the Rewilding Gang to further Rewilding initiatives and education.