History, Heroes and Hope Award

2016 Recipient: Jonathan B. Jarvis

Jonathan B. Jarvis
2016 History, Heroes and Hope Award Recipient


Inspired by his life's work and deep dedication to our mission of restoring, improving and preserving the National Mall, the Trust's Board of Directors chose to present the Award this year to Jonathan B. Jarvis, the 18th Director of the National Park Service.

From a seasonal interpreter in the year of our nation’s bicentennial to the head of an internationally known institution on the eve of its 100th birthday, Jon Jarvis has gained a thorough knowledge of these great American treasures, the national parks – including the National Mall and Memorial Parks. Jarvis’s 39-year career has taken him from ranger to resource management specialist to park biologist to superintendent of parks such as Craters of the Moon, North Cascades, Wrangell-St. Elias, and Mount Rainier. Before being confirmed as the 18th Director of the National Park Service on September 24, 2009, Jarvis served as regional director of the bureau’s Pacific West Region.

During his time with the National Park Service, Jarvis was responsible for overseeing more than 22,000 employees, a $3 billion budget, and more than 400 national parks that attract more than 280 million visitors every year who generate $30 billion in economic benefit across the nation.

The National Park Service brings the park idea to virtually every county in America. Grants from the Land and Water Conservation and Historic Preservation Fund help communities preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Since 1976, the Service’s tax credit program has leveraged more than $60 billion in private investment in historic preservation to help revitalize downtowns and neighborhoods across the country.

Jarvis has also reinvigorated the National Park Service’s role as an international advocate for protected areas and recognized world leader in cultural and natural resource management.

As the National Park Service’s centennial approaches, Jarvis has focused on several key areas that are critical for the future: enhancing stewardship of the places entrusted to the Service’s care; maximizing the educational potential of parks and programs; engaging new generations and audiences, and ensuring the welfare and fulfillment of National Park Service employees.

Jarvis speaks frequently about climate change, sustainability, the outdoors as a source of public health, and the parks as a unifying, inspirational force for the nation. His blueprint for the agency’s second century, A Call to Action, calls for innovative, ambitious, yet practical ways to fulfill the National Park Service’s promise to America in the 21st century.

Click here to view all recipients of the History, Heroes and Hope Award.