USPS and National Parks team up in a grand way

Friday - 4/23/2010, 10:30am EDT

David Barna, Chief of Public Affairs, NPS

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By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor
FederalNewsRadio.com

It's rare than the result of an interagency cooperative effort can be held in the palms of your hands. Yet that's exactly what has happened with an offering from the National Park Service and the U.S. Postal Service.

"The Grandest Things" is a 116-page, hardcover book that tells the story of national parks using photographs and postage stamps to illustrate important places, people, and events.

David Barna, Chief of Public Affairs at the National Park Service told Federal News Radio, the book was the brainchild of an employee of the Postal Service "who is very passionate about the National Parks" and brought the idea to NPS. Barna said the synergy of the idea was appealing, "and a great opportunity to showcase a variety of National Parks and how stamps have helped to mark important events in our history."

While many books feature only the most famous parks, says an NPS press release, "The Grandest Things introduces the reader to the diversity of the National Park System. Approximately 100 parks are either mentioned in the text or featured in photographs."

Barna said "it features not only the parks that you've heard of on a regular basis, but some of those less famous gems that people will want to discover."

Barna explained that the proceeds from the book will be divvied up according to where it's purchased.

The book will be for sale in a couple of hundred National Park bookstores across the country starting this summer and the proceeds from the sale of the book in the National Parks provides funding for education programs and materials in the parks. In other words, friends groups and partnership groups that operate the bookstores will turn those profits into the National Parks. The ones sold on the Postal Service website go to the Postal Service, and remember that this part of the Postal Service does not receive tax dollars for operating expenses: they rely on the sale of the book. So this is a win-win for the American public because the proceeds go back into the National Parks.

At $49.95, Barna said the book "sort of combines two of America's great passions: our love for beautiful and historic places and our enthusiasm for telling the nation's story through postage stamps."