Communities Shaping Special Places


America is filled with iconic locations deeply rooted in the culture and history of our nation and with the natural resources that are the foundation of our past, present, future prosperity. Through the power of place, we're connected to not only the physical location but also to the heritage and the community surrounding it. We're reminded that they are irreplaceable.

We're inspired to share and protect these special places in our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes for our children and grandchildren. Special places are inherently grounded in and shaped by communities; and, in turn, our relationship to these places shapes who we are, our values, and our decisions. In these times of change, these special places give context, realism, and a window through which messages and solutions become understandable and empowering for citizens that feel directly connected to their environment and their future.


The Honorable Dan Benishek, M.D., U.S. House of Representatives, MI-1; NMS Caucus Co-Chair

The Honorable Lois Capps, U.S. House of Representatives, CA-24; NMS Caucus Co-Chair


Mark Schaefer, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Conservation and Management, NOAA


William J. Douros, West Coast Regional Director, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

Lynne Zeitlin Hale, Managing Director for Oceans, The Nature Conservancy

Dan Laffoley, Marine Vice Chair, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas

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