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Albright Training Center – Who We are

Our Mission

Continuing a tradition established in 1957, Horace M. Albright provides quality training to employees of the National Park Service. Albright Training Center hosts over 700 new NPS employees every year, introducing them to NPS history, culture and practices.

We are dedicated to fulfilling the vision of our namesake, Horace Albright in his wish to “not let the Service become just another executive government bureau; keep it youthful, vigorous, clean and strong.”

Our History

1963 dedication of Albright Training Center
1963 ribbon cutting at Albright Training Center Source: HOAL Historic Photo Collection.

The Early Years

In 1957, the center opened and began training in Yosemite National Park. Albright Training Center provided hands-on training in NPS operations, practices and policies both in and out of the classroom.

Hosting the Introduction to NPS Operations and Training Program, the early years saw a curriculum that reflected the jack-of-all-trades nature of the NPS. The 12 week program covered topics such as history, interpretation, safety, fire fighting and firearms.

The Mission 66 program launched in order to expand and modernize facilities across the NPS. As a part of this movement, Albright Training center relocated to its current facilities at Grand Canyon National Park in 1963.

From 1963 to 1979, the Grand Canyon campus offered classroom and residential facilities for the three month program. The program provided students and instructors opportunities to become immersed in a natural, western park setting, learning from and helping to solve complex issues affecting park management, visitors and resource protection.

1960's NPS Operations class photo on the rim of the Grand Canyon
1960’s Introduction to NPS Operations class photo Source: HOAL Historic Photo Collection

Changing with a Changing NPS

From 1979 to 2000, Albright Training Center hosted other new employee training programs. Starting with Ranger Skills and then Compass I and II, the courses had shorter residential periods.  However, the number of topics grew to cover more career fields to reflect the growing specialization within the NPS.

The NPS Fundamentals Program launched in 2000.  A combination of distance learning and two residential training sessions, Albright Training Center hosted a first a two week course at Albright Training Center while Stephen T. Mather Training Center in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia concluded the program with a one week residency.

In 2006, Albright Training Center underwent a major renovation. The center upgraded crumbling pipes and infrastructure, installed modern technological systems, built additional staff office space and re-configured student residences. The result was a safer, more technologically advanced training facility for future students.

In 2013, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of its opening, Albright Training Center was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a model or Mission 66 modern design.

Our Future

NPS Fundamentals continues to host residential training sessions at Albright throughout the year.  Hosting many other NPS, Federal, State and community programs, Albright Training Center gives both NPS and non-NPS students an opportunity to learn at a site rich in history, culture and natural resources.

Horace M. Albright

Horace Albright at his desk with black bears
Horace M. Albright 1922 Credit: NPS Historic Photo Collection

As one of the co-founders of the National Park Service and the second Director of the NPS, Horace M. Albright helped shape the NPS into the agency it is today. His lasting mark on NPS culture and practices can be best seen in the “creed” for the NPS he wrote for first NPS Director Stephen T. Mather in 1918.  Albright wrote of the need for national parks to remain unimpaired, set aside for the benefit of the all people and the national interest above private enterprise.

During his term as Yellowstone National Park Superintendent and Field Director for the NPS from 1919 to 1929, Albright created administrative practices and park structure that were copied by units throughout the NPS system. Under his directorship from 1929 to 1933, the National Park Service grew to include sites east of the Mississippi. This helped to turn the largely western agency into a truly national system and doubling the number of areas administered by the NPS. As a lover of history, Albright introduced historic preservation into the Service’s conservation ideals. Battlefields, war memorials and cemeteries, formerly under the aegis of the military, were placed under the care and stewardship of the NPS.

Even after leaving the National Park Service in 1933, Horace Albright remained a steadfast advocate for the NPS and conservation. In 1980, Albright was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor awarded in the United States.

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