Dear Friend of the National Parks,

Happy spring! I'm Michaela Pavlat, and I'm delighted to share with you the great work that the Mid-Atlantic team has been up to so far this year. We have been busy advocating for national parks and finally getting back out in the field with you all.

Here are some updates from around the Mid-Atlantic Region: 

So far in 2022, we've had some faces join our team. In January, Samantha Nygaard joined NPCA as our new West Virginia Program Manager, where she will be advocating for the Mountain State’s national parks and waters. Growing up in a military family, Sam lived in the Pacific Northwest, Florida and Japan. These experiences shaped her passion for community service and appreciation for the outdoors. Beyond her work at NPCA, Sam serves as the Community Engagement Chair on the board of Generation Charleston and remains active in her local community through volunteering.

I myself joined the team in March, and am beyond excited to support all of the Mid-Atlantic team's incredible work. I am originally from Upper Peninsula of Michigan and am a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Before joining NPCA, I was an educator at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. My work is to ensure diversity in our engagement and everyday work, and am grateful to join an organization that values justice, diversity and inclusion to carry out essential environmental protection.

We're getting back into the field. In January, a brave group of volunteers kicked off our first service project in below freezing temperatures at Manassas National Battlefield. For more than a year, Manassas National Battlefield and Prince William Forest Park have been threatened by a proposed data center industrial park. We recently commissioned an independent water quality assessment to review negative impacts to the park and the region’s drinking water.

Where do West Virginia voters stand on national parks? In February, we commissioned polling to answer this question, and the data revealed that across party lines, West Virginians overwhelmingly support policies to protect and strengthen national parks. This new data shows that despite political differences, our parks and outdoor spaces have the power to bring us together.

Concerned about the view. In March, Sharon Davis, our Delaware River Program Manager, wrote an op-ed for "The Morning Call" expressing concerns about potential viewshed and water quality impacts from a proposed development near Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail that would potentially impact some of the most scenic views from the park.

ICYMI: Shenandoah, Beyond Old Rag: If your reservation to hike Old Rag didn't come through, or you're looking to avoid overcrowded hiking trails at Shenandoah National Park, Mid-Atlantic Field Representative Kyle Hart, has you covered. On NPCA's blog, Kyle shares five of his personal favorite trails to avoid the crowds this spring and summer. Happy hiking!

Uniting with veterans to protect parks. NPCA recently launched a new Veterans Council, composed of a small group of veteran leaders from across the country. The council will provide advice and perspective to NPCA’s overall veteran strategy, and work directly on specific campaigns or issues affecting national parks that are important to them or align with their expertise or experience.

Meet us in the national parks. We are so excited to invite you back to the parks for upcoming NPCA or partner events. I invite you to learn more about the Mid-Atlantic parks on our webpage, attend an upcoming NPCA event or take action to protect parks.

Thank you for being an advocate for your national parks!





Michaela Pavlat
Outreach & Engagement Sr. Coordinator, Mid-Atlantic 

Photos, from top: Samantha Nygaard, West Virginia Program Manager and Michaela Pavlat, Outreach & Engagement Sr. Coordinator © NPCA; Volunteers building a fence at Manassas National Battlefield © NPCA; Panorama of New River at Grand View in the New River Gorge National Park at sunrise © Steveheap | Dreamstime.com; The view from Hawksbill Summit © Jon Bilous | Dreamstime.com.