Western National Parks Association (WNPA) will be holding its next board meeting at WNPA partner park Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, May 12-13.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our board to experience Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, as well WNPA’s two newest partner parks, Carlsbad Caverns National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park,” said James Cook, WNPA Executive Director. “I’m especially delighted at the outstanding sales generated at our two newest park stores. Their success helps WNPA support all of our 71 national park partners across the West.”
WNPA also announces the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors. The board is the governing body of the organization and serves as an ambassador for WNPA, articulating its message, mission, and accomplishments to the public.
Gerard Baker, a full-blood member of the Mandan-Hidatsa tribe, is the highest-ranking American Indian in National Park Service (NPS) history.
He was born and raised in North Dakota and grew up in a traditional Indian home on his father’s cattle ranch. Baker graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and sociology from Southern Oregon State University in 1979, and was awarded an honorary doctorate in public service from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in 2007.
Baker began working for the NPS in 1974 and served in several capacities until his retirement in 2010. He is a widely-recognized figure for American Indians, thanks in part to his work as a mediator between the NPS and tribal governments. He has appeared in two Ken Burns films, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea and Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery.
Los Angeles-based attorney Dennis Hernandez, whose legal career spans four decades, has experience ranging from intellectual property litigation and criminal prosecution to advising Senator Edward M. Kennedy on education, immigration, and youth labor issues. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, and sits on the Citizens Advisory Board of the California Highway Patrol.
“All of us at Western National Parks Association are thrilled with the addition of our two newest board members. Both gentlemen bring vast experience, skills, and knowledge to the organization,” said Cook. “WNPA is now affiliated with 71 national park units across 12 western states. With such a large scope of operations and a forward-thinking strategic vision, WNPA is fortunate to have a board of directors comprised of members from five western states, all with a wide range of backgrounds, perspectives, and areas of expertise. This helps ensure the organization is reflective of the communities we serve and hope to serve in the future.”
As a nonprofit education partner of the National Park Service, WNPA supports 71 park partners across the West, developing products, services, and programs that enrich the visitor experience.
Since 1938 WNPA has worked to connect new generations to parks in meaningful ways, all with one simple goal: create advocates who want to preserve and protect these special places for everyone, for all time.