Visitors check out the sneak peak for WNPA's new Gateway to Nature in Los Angeles.

Visitors check out the sneak peak for WNPA’s new Gateway to Nature in Los Angeles.

Forest Rangers, Smokey Bear, and an amazing young person!

Forest Rangers, Smokey Bear, and an amazing young person!

On Saturday, August 27, thousands of people turned out to celebrate the City of Los Angeles’ birthday in El Pueblo.

That same day, WNPA offered a sneak preview into its Gateway to Nature visitor center.

Celebrating LA's 235th birthday in El Pueblo!

Celebrating LA’s 235th birthday in El Pueblore visitor center which will open Fall, 2016.


Thanks to our partners, the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, El Pueblo Historical Monument, and the City of Los Angeles for making our sneak preview a huge success!

A banner in Gateway to Nature!

A banner in Gateway to Nature!



A view of WNPA's new Gateway to Nature in Los Angeles.

A view of WNPA’s new Gateway to Nature in Los Angeles.




Gateway to Nature – Press Release

Los Angeles, California – August 18, 2016 – In conjunction with Los Angeles’s 235th birthday celebration and the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service (August 25), Western National Parks Association (WNPA) and its partners invite Angelenos to a sneak preview of Gateway to Nature: Western National Parks Center, Los Angeles at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument on August 27, 2016.

The Gateway is designed to engage youth and diverse local communities with nature; to embrace America’s legacy of parks, forests, and other public lands; and to create advocates for these special places. The Gateway will also be a consolidated resource for international visitors, offering planning tools to explore parks, forests, and public lands across the American West.

The Gateway will feature educational and interpretive materials, including unique items for sale. All purchases support parks and public lands and Gateway to Nature’s operations.

Scheduled to open in fall, 2016, Gateway to Nature

El Pueblo, the historic birthplace of Los Angeles, was chosen as the site for Gateway to Nature to engage the large urban population of the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Located across the street from Union Station, the center of the city’s public transportation network, El Pueblo and its famous Olvera Street attracts about 2 million visitors a year, including thousands of K-12 youth.

After a ceremonial walk from Union Station to El Pueblo and the civic program, birthday cake will be served in the future home of Gateway to Nature.

The sneak preview is a family-friendly event. Activities will include:

  • Park rangers from nearby national parks engaging youth in interactive nature programs and organizing Junior Ranger programs.
  • Forest Service employees talking with visitors about the legacy of public lands and promoting the importance of forested lands and urban forests for public health and well-being.
  • Los Angeles’ City Plants Program will provide free trees for residents of the City of Los Angeles to take home and plant on their private property. Bring a driver’s license or an LA DWP bill to prove residency within the City. Trees must be planted in the ground at that address.
  • National Park Service’s “LA Ranger La Troca” will engage visitors to share their park stories through journal entries, drawings, LA Troca’s ‘People of LA’ initiative, and other activities. La Troca is a truck staffed by rangers from Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area to reach the next generation of park visitors.
  • Presentations on urban wildlife, safety, camping, and hiking.
  • Smokey Bear will on hand to interact with children.

Where:            Gateway to Nature: Western National Parks Center, Los Angeles
Hellman/Quon Bldg.
130 Paseo de La Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Schedule:         9:45 am – Ceremonial walk from Union Station to El Pueblo
of events         10 am – Welcome program at gazebo
(partial)           10:40 am – Gateway to Nature in Hellman/Quon Bldg. for cake
11 am – 2pm – Gateway to Nature sneak preview and program

For a complete list of 235th birthday events at El Pueblo, visit

WNPA and Core Partner information:

Western National Parks Association
Western National Parks Association (WNPA) helps make the national park experience possible for everyone. As a nonprofit education partner of the National Park Service, WNPA supports 71 parks across the West, developing products, services, and programs that enrich the visitor experience. Since 1938, WNPA has worked to connect new generations to parks in meaningful ways, all with one simple goal: to create advocates who want to preserve and protect these special places for everyone, for all time. More information about WNPA can be found at For additional info: Jo Alenson,, (520) 789-7324.

National Park Service
The National Park Service (NPS) preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the NPS for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The NPS cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.

El Pueblo Historical Monument
El Pueblo Historical Monument is proud to be a partner and LA home to the new Gateway to Nature Center.  We are excited this project will educate and bring information about the National Parks and US Forests to over 2 million people and 400,000 students that visit us each year.

U.S. Forest Service
The U.S. Forest Service is a multi-faceted agency that manages and protects 154 national forests and 20 grasslands in 44 states and Puerto Rico. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.  The Forest Service has the world’s largest forestry research organization.  We augment our work through partnerships with public and private agencies that help us plant trees, improve trails, educate the public, and improve conditions in wildland/urban interfaces.