astern National, formerly known as Eastern National Park and Monument Association, is a 501(C) (3) not-for-profit “cooperating association,” that supports the National Park Service. Cooperating associations are recognized by Congress as a means to assist the educational and interpretive mission of the National Park Service. Cooperating associations provide various services, primarily by procuring, distributing and selling educational material in retail outlets located in national parks. Associations also provide an assortment of services including supplemental funding for land and artifact acquisitions, special events, educational and interpretive programs, and research grants.
Eastern National was founded by National Park Service rangers in 1947 at Gettysburg National Military Park. It was to be a cooperating association that would serve a network of individual parks that could not sustain their own cooperating association. Smaller parks do not generate sufficient resources to maintain an individual cooperating association. However, a network of parks sharing resources can maintain an association capable of supporting all of them. This ‘sharing’ principle is paramount and enables smaller parks to reap the same benefits as the larger, better-funded parks.
With only $147, Eastern National published its first title, Abraham Lincoln in His Own Work and That of His Contemporaries. It was developed and sold at Eastern National’s first agency, Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site.
Currently, Eastern National is the cooperating association for over 150 national parks, and is partners with many other public trusts including the U.S. Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and state and city park systems. Eastern National’s role has expanded over the years, becoming the largest cooperating association in the United States. Since its incorporation in 1948, Eastern National has donated over $100 million to the National Park Service, in the form of direct donations and grants.
Through the years, Eastern National funds have purchased such critical items as land, artifacts, media for park libraries, period costumes for living history demonstrations and reenactments, signage and exhibits, facility renovations and upgrades, interpretive tools and programs, staff training programs, and much more. Donations have also funded archeological, historical, and cultural research programs which have had a direct impact on the parks and their interpretive programs.
The primary partner of Eastern National is the
National Park Service under the
U.S. Department of the Interior. Additional partners include the
U.S. Forest Service (USDA),
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (U.S. Department of Commerce),
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and various state and local entities, such as the
State of North Carolina and the
City of Parkers Crossroads in Tennessee.
Eastern National works with other associations, friends’ groups, and concessioners in many different capacities. It has joint retail ventures with organizations like the
National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy. It has supported programs and initiatives of other organizations as a means of enhancing visitors’ experiences in national parks, like the
First Bloom program sponsored by the National Park Foundation.
View our membership brochure.
Natchez Trace Parkway sponsoring a Tri-State Art Contest
The Natchez Trace Parkway is sponsoring a Tri-State Art Contest for High School Students. Eastern National will be donating the prize money for the contest.
Click here for further information.